Current review queue

Pearce: British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Deneen: The American Conservative
Chao-Reiss: Computing Reviews


  1. I like the title, "Why Liberalism Failed".

    Is there a prior book named "Did Liberalism Fail" that was written before?

    1. The evidence of the failure is the stunning successes of fascism and socialism wherever they have been tried. North Korea for example, which has a sterling record on reducing wasteful consumption of all kinds: energy, minerals, food.

    2. So, Ken, you think if ideology A and B failed, that means ideology C must have succeeded?

      By the way, Deneen explicitly addresses fascism and communism, and how they failed first and more spectacularly than liberalism is (right this moment) failing.

      They are all bound to fail, since all ideologies are dream worlds, and we can't live in a dream world.

    3. The book has a very nice description.

      "As Patrick Deneen argues in this provocative book, 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."

      Thomas Fleming of Chronicles once neatly said that libertarians have not noticed that as free market and pro-business ideas have become more and more accepted, the state has grown larger and larger. In the name of creating openness for business, we have created the largest and most expansive state ever seen.

    4. And it has a positive review from... Cornel West!? I am looking forward to the read.

    5. 'Failure' is not the word that springs to my mind for hugely extending life spans, vastly increasing wealth, and fostering unprecedented peace. YMMV.

      I don't think we generally judge success or failure against ideals. In 1920, which treatment was successful against syphilis, mercury, prayer, or salvarsan? My choice is salvarsan. Did it cure without side effects? no. Did it make you younger? No. So measured against an ideal maybe it was a failure.

    6. The "unprecedented peace" has been thoroughly debunked Ken.

      And mightn't we have said, circa late 1941, the 'failure' is not the word that springs to mind for a system that has united the German people, conquered half of Europe, etc. etc.

      Liberalism is not a failure "judged against an ideal": it is a failure on its very own terms. It has produced a first world of wealthy, long-lived, *miserable* people!

    7. And, by the way, it's not like Deneen or I are unaware that people are wealthy and living longer!

      Liberalism: like a meth addict on the verge of burning out who points to how active he has been for the past year and just how slim he is getting to prove that nothing is wrong!

    8. Is present progressive a past tense now?

  2. I like how you kept a fourth book's cover hidden. Mysterious!


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