It is often put to me that this is my inevitable trajectory. The leftist naivety of my earlier years will ultimately give way to hardened, real-world rightwingery, so the story goes.
To remain rooted in a movement and the struggles and campaigns of people fighting for social justice is probably the best insurance policy.
The point really is that as one ages one gains, hopefully at least, some wisdom. And thus realise that the double freedom ticket, the free marketry and the social liberalism, is the method of achieving whatever social justice is possible.
This does not preclude interventions in the economy, or in the wider societal arrangements. It does not mean praising capitalism: nowt wrong with as many cooperatives as anyone wants to take part in. Doesn’t mean that government cannot or should not finance health care or education, does not imply the abolition of the welfare state: although it might mean changes in the method of delivery. It just means that to the maximum possible people should be allowed to be consenting adults and do as consenting adults wish to do.
Note that this is entirely different from conservatism. Hitchens, who you were talking with, has gone from wishing to impose one vision of society, the Trot one, to imposing a different one, the conservative one. Drug takers should not be allowed to take drugs, for example. He’s just an authoritarian who has changed what he thinks are the right impositions the populace should suffer under.
The true liberal is able to make the connection between the right of an adult to fellate whichever other adult consents to supplying the piece to be fellated with the right of an adult to buy an apple from whoever consents to supply one.
The double freedom ticket.