I don’t know how I missed this the previous times I read Nozick, but John Holbo—in a terrific paper on liberalism, conservatism, and ideal theory, which is due to appear in a forthcoming volume of Nomos—points me to this revealing line from Nozick’s preface to Anarchy, State, and Utopia. This is how Nozick characterizes his libertarian comrades:
Many of the people who take a similar position [as Nozick’s] are…filled, paradoxically, with resentment at other freer ways of being.
From his lips to your ears.
Or, as I wrote in The Reactionary Mind:
Neither is conservatism a makeshift fusion of capitalists, Christians, and warriors, for that fusion is impelled by a more elemental force—the opposition to the liberation of men and women from the fetters of their superiors, particularly in the private sphere. Such a view might seem miles away from the libertarian defense of the free market, with its celebration of the atomistic and autonomous individual. But it is not.
Though it is often claimed that the left stands for equality while the right stands for freedom, this notion misstates the actual disagreement between right and left. Historically, the conservative has favored liberty for the higher orders and constraint for the lower orders. What the conservative sees and dislikes in equality, in other words, is not a threat to freedom but its extension. For in that extension, he sees a loss of his own freedom.