Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Against Illiberalism on Both the Right and the Left

John Halpin at The Liberal Patriot has an excellent review of Francis Fukuyama's new book, Liberalism and Its Discontents. Read the review and you might consider the book as well!
"Fukuyama’s new book, Liberalism and Its Discontents, offers an eloquent and eminently sensible defense of liberal freedom and pluralism that should be read and debated by leaders and activists across the ideological spectrum. This clearly written and concisely argued book highlights Fukuyama’s lifelong examination of the political theories and systems that shape human history—and in turn get shaped by its developments.
Classical liberalism in Fukuyama’s definition represents a “big tent that encompasses a range of political views that nonetheless agree on the foundational importance of equal individual rights, law, and freedom.” Liberalism in this formulation is not what we typically think of as center-left, Democratic Party politics in the United States or libertarianism on the right. It is a system of thought and institutions dating back to the 17th century designed to solve the problems of governing a diversity of people without force and constant war....
Unfortunately, as Fukuyama correctly argues, classical liberalism is under sustained attack from both the populist right and the identity-based left.
Right-wing leaders in countries like Russia, Hungary, Poland, Brazil, and Turkey, and even in America with Donald Trump, actively seek to demolish liberal institutions, eliminate checks on power, advance outright lies and conspiracies, and take over previously independent bodies to maintain their hold on power often in corrupt ways. In turn, illiberal left-wing movements in America and Europe seek to override constitutional neutrality and individual rights by promoting group-based discrimination to ameliorate real and perceived injustices while simultaneously patrolling political speech and dissent deemed as deviations from progressive orthodoxy.
Although threats from the populist right may be more pronounced and immediate, threats from the identity-based left also contribute to cultural divisions that undermine the cohesion and consensus necessary for pragmatic, incremental steps to improve liberal societies."
Francis Fukuyama’s calm evisceration of illiberalism on the left and rig


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