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We like to say that every idea, every thought, every emotion—no matter how novel—has already been conveyed by someone, somewhere; such is the nature of the “universality” of the human experience. Even our most contemporary problems have their early traces in books from previous centuries, as people who were witnessing their changing world recorded their thoughts to warn about what…

It is not possible to separate globalization from liberalism. Without the political foundation that liberalism provides, a project of such scale would have been unfathomable. But just as the originally noble intentions with regards to the social, political, and economic stances of liberalism have wrinkled over the years, we can say that globalization’s social, political, and economic facets have similarly…

Inventing the Individual:  The Origins of Western Liberalism. Larry Siedentop. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014.
 
Liberalism is rightly considered to be an ideology based primarily on individual freedom.  Hobbes and Locke, as philosophical proponents of natural rights, were among the first to argue that government exists primarily for the protection of individual rights. The fear of violent death compels man to…

Eric Voegelin published his essay “The Oxford Political Philosophers” in 1953, a time of prosperity in Britain, which had gradually recovered from the ravages of the Second World War.[1]  Even the tense atmosphere of the Cold War was relaxing for the moment, as the hot war in Korea was ending with an armistice, albeit one that fell short of an…

In 1911, L. T. Hobhouse published his brief Liberalism meant for his home audience in Great Britain but it eventually came to be considered a classic treatment of the emergent “social liberalism” of the 20th century.  It remains a lucid, accessible, and generally persuasive statement of evolving liberal principles and thinking, despite the passage of over a century.  Hobhouse clearly…

Scholarly efforts to situate Philip Roth’s fiction within a political or historical framework can prove arduous and difficult. Indeed, his writing is so rich in literary innovation and places such emphasis on the independent functioning of the authorial imagination that any attempt to anchor Roth’s work within a broader context should demand great care and elaborate persuasion. This caveat has…

Conserving America? Essays on Present Discontents. Patrick J. Deneen. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press, 2016.
 
The current political polarization in the country today can be characterized as the Political Left calling for cultural liberation in the form of identity and sexual politics and the Political Right demanding the economic liberation of the free market. Whereas the Left believes that government,…

When we speak of democracy today, we really mean liberal democracy, a product of the Enlightenment and the philosophy of liberalism. The success of the modern sciences of seventeenth-century Europe accounted for a spirit of political optimism in the eighteenth century in the hope that unaided reason would discover and implement the right political order. Enlightenment thinkers believed that humans…

John P. Safranek, The Myth of Liberalism. Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2015.
 
Can a regime function in the absence of a conception of justice? This is contemporary liberalism’s apparent aspiration. Amidst the undeniable fact of ethnic, racial, religious, and ideological diversity – add to this now the menu of choices of sexuality opened up by medical technology and…

The task of sketching the history of liberalism, although modest, is for methodological reasons difficult.1 For we stand before the question of whether there is even such a thing as liberalism as a clearly definable subject and whether this subject, should it not be clearly definable, can have a history.
We touch here upon a general methodological problem. Arnold Toynbee, for…