In our own lifetime, we've used to living in a liberal democratic state, where the rule of law, personal morals, prudence and the like are held in high regard. At the same time it's well known from cognitive psychology that such a life-long status quo is bound to serve as a cognitive frame and an anchor against which we reflect our lives. Policy proposals included.
Hence we're used to thinking about taxes as just a minor nuisance, compared to the void that would be left if the nation state couldn't finance itself. Quite a number of regulations seem quite normal to us, and not particularly bad, since they were always there, and we got used to them. A little bit more in either department doesn't seem like such a bad deal to us.
But what if we lifted the anchor, and instead set it at the utmost of regulation and taxation? Suppose we were living in a society where every last bit of human gesture was regulated, and every last penny of our income was forfeit, to be distributed as the state seems fit. Would we then think the same about all of the less restrictive policies we're accustomed to as we did before?
I think not.
Suddenly we'd see that yes, if I made a euro in free exchange with my fellow man, it'd be quite wrong to punish our mutual fortune -- effectively stopping it from happening beforehand because of the lack of a profit motive -- by forfeiting the bilateral gains of the interaction. Suddenly the idea that I should perhaps be able to voice my opposition to the state -- or in fact any ideology, opinioin, or soul at all -- freely would carry a whole lot more weight.
Starting from our current viewpoint, framing, and cognitive anchoring, we'd quite likely be able to tolerate a whole lot of intervention. But at the same time, starting from total interventionism, we'd quite likely be willing to go right down to zero intervention.
So, to sum it up, my point is that thinking about liberty starting from our current reasonably wide liberty is bound to make us value it less than would be the case if we started from a relative lack of it. I also think this constitutes a neat rationale for why liberty is not valued as high as it used to be, in the era when my liberal/libertarian ideology developed, and why the most fervent proponents of my idealogy tend to be detractors from the opposite side. It also sheds some light on the relative unstability of political ideologies -- different starting points might well lead to countervailing shifts in popular opinion, and they also might overshoot to the degree of cyclical revolution, at worst.