Discussion of political doctrines such as Liberalism, Conservatism and Socialism is an exceedingly hazardous enterprise. There are no clear criteria by which their identity can be determined, and this unavoidably leads to their caricature. F. A. Hayek, for example, presents an extremely odd picture of Conservatism when he asserts, among other things, that the Conservative is ‘essentially opportunist and lacks principles’, is not much interested in limiting the powers of government, ‘does not really believe in the power of argument’, and rejects well-substantiated new knowledge simply because he dislikes some of the consequences which seem t6 follow from it. 1 David Spitz goes even further. 2 He conveniently defines the liberal as a man whose ‘basic value is the value of free inquiry, his basic attitude the skeptical or at least the inquiring mind …’ As he defines him, the liberal rejects all claims to absolute truths and always keeps an open mind, accepting only the results of rational inquiry. He thinks that Conservatives and Socialists do not share this attitude, and therefore dismisses them both as ‘fanatical men’, who ‘claim possession of the truth … (and) are both impervious to the results of scientific inquiry, to the tests of reason’. 3 Spitz’s equation of the Liberal with the rational man and his dismissal of all non-liberals as bigoted fanatics is not peculiar to him; it is to be found in many a liberal writer.