Interviewer: Socialism and liberalism are presented as opposites, at least in Switzerland and just before elections. I think this antithesis has become historical, to put it guardedly.
Barth: Yes, at election time and when party leaders speak. So there are in fact no longer any genuine or clear alternatives. No great and basic ideas seem to be in conflict any more. I am always at a loss as to which party to vote for, if any. *
Interviewer: Would you say that being liberal has nothing or not very much to do with political liberalism but that it is more a human attitude which cuts across all parties?
Barth: Yes, I could accept that if we are to use the term. But I do not set much store by the word. If it is to be used at all I would prefer that it be used, as in our discussion, for basic style, a human posture. What is called and calls itself liberal today, as here in Basel, could just as well...Interviewer: ...be called conservative?
Barth: I am glad you said it and not I. We know whom we have in mind and
what paper, don't we? ...But let them go their way in peace.
* Emphasis mine
Truly, there is nothing new under the sun.