A reader of the site wants to base his politics on individual liberty. He believes that the political goods favoured by conservatives will "emanate naturally" from the people if there is individual liberty and a small state.
Lawrence Auster replies that individual liberty was based on other, previously existing goods which need to be openly recognised and defended. Furthermore, the term freedom has taken on a distinct meaning, unhelpful to conservatives, in modern liberal societies.
The last point is an important one which I put this way in a post titled, In defence of what matters:
The effort to disentangle conservatism from right-liberalism also means exercising care when adopting "individual liberty" as a slogan.
Liberalism has been dominant for some time now, so when liberty is spoken of it is commonly understood in terms of liberal politics. This can mean that liberty is thought of, in right-liberal terms, as the freedom of an abstracted individual against the state or against any kind of collective. It can mean too that "liberty" is understood in more general liberal terms as a freedom from what matters: as a "liberation" from significant aspects of our own selves which aren't self-authored.
A conservative politics can't be based on liberty understood in these terms. If we are to be free, it must be as complete, non-abstracted men living as social beings within given communities.
Lawrence Auster puts the distinction between traditionalism and a liberal view of individual freedom succinctly as follows:
the key defining thing of traditionalism is the recognition of a natural, social, and spiritual order by which we are formed; we don't entirely create ourselves through our own will and choices, much of what we are, for example our sex, is not chosen by us, but comes from beyond us. Yet liberals today believe that people have the right to choose literally everything about themselves, even their sex.
Summarising Lawrence Auster's post like this is a bit disjointed, so I do encourage readers to follow the exchange at VFR.