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Frank Straus Meyer
1909 - 1972

Frank Straus Meyer was a key figure in the theoretical development of American conservative thought in the post-World War II era. After over a decade of membership in the Communist party, at the close of World War II Meyer broke with communism and devoted the balance of his life to conservativism. A senior editor of National Review, his principal works are The Molding of Communists (1961), In Defense of Freedom: A Conservative Credo (1962), and The Conservative Mainstream (1969).

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In Defense of Freedom & Related Essays
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The essential requisite for a good society is such a division of power that no single center will be able to enforce beliefs upon men by force, or to inhibit and destroy other beliefs by force. This principle can be reduced to a simpler maxim: The state must be limited to its proper function of preserving order. But this will only be possible when the person is considered as the central moral entity, and society as but a set of relations between persons, not as an organism morally superior to persons. For if society be given a moral status superior to persons, then it follows both implicitly and logically that society has the right to create an arm to enforce its moral rights. That arm can only be the unlimited Leviathan state.

1962 - from In Defense of Freedom
Unless men are free to be vicious they cannot be virtuous.

1962 - from In Defense of Freedom
Truth withers when freedom dies, however righteous the authority that kills it; and free individualism uninformed by moral value rots at its core and soon brings about conditions that pave the way for surrender to tyranny.