You can read this article as an inroduction to Isaiah Berlin, one of he great liberals of the twentieth century(which he called the worst in human history) The article directs you to Berlin's seminal essay "Two Concepts of Liberty" The two concepts of liberty that the title refers to are 1 Negative Liberty:The common sense idea of liberty as doing whatever you like or 2 Positive liberty, that is, liberty as a state that you achieve through transformation to a higher state of existence. According to a benign interpretation of these, negative liberty emphasizes freedom of choice as in "a woman's right to choose." Positive liberty implies a new, higher state of achievment, such as when I am trained to be a pianist.
As is evident the proponent of positive liberty supports authoritarianism and paternalism. We are brought to freedom by piano instructors or tennis coaches. In the twentieth century totalitarian governments claimed they were bringing freedom to the masses This was the usage of "freedom" that Berlin questioned
The article gives us some indication of how complicated this issue is. Anatole France famously claimed that in a capitalist society the poor and the rich have the freedom to sleep under a bridge. Fraser, the author of this piece, makes the shrewd point that after communism fell the societies that escaped the delusion of positive freedom have become disillusioned with negative freedom as the sole achievment of a good society
I never met Sir Isaiah but I was once in a small restaurant with so few tables that one could hear all the conversations taking place. On this occasion one could only hear Sir Isaiah.
Does his essay still carry the same authority