Has Liberalism Failed?

Matthew Rose

Matthew Rose

Director & Senior Fellow, Berkeley Institute

Has Liberalism Failed?

Of the three dominant ideologies of the twentieth century—fascism, communism, and liberalism—only the last remains. This has created a peculiar situation in which liberalism’s proponents, on both the left and right, sometimes forget that it is an ideology and not the natural end-state of human political evolution. In his new book, Why Liberalism Failed, Patrick Deneen argues that liberalism is built on a foundation of contradictions: it trumpets equal rights while fostering incomparable material inequality; its legitimacy rests on consent, yet it discourages civic commitments in favor of privatism; and in its pursuit of individual autonomy, it has given rise to the most far-reaching, comprehensive state system in human history. In this reading group, we will examine Deneen’s argument that political liberalism is a system whose success is generating its own failure. We will also look at critical reviews of the book from a variety of perspectives. For copies of the short weekly readings, please contact director@binst.org.

Dates: Wednesday evenings on 5.30, 6.6, 6.13, 6.20.
Time: 6:00-7:15 PM
Location: 2134 Allston Way

Reading schedule:

5/30: Chapter One: “Unsustainable Liberalism”
6/6: Chapter Two: “Uniting Individualism and Statism”
6/13: Chapter Three: “Liberalism as Anticulture”
6/20: TBD

To receive the short readings, please contact director@binst.org

**This seminar is free and open to all Cal, St. Mary’s, and GTU students.**