Why Liberalism Failed

I'll be reviewing Patrick Deneen's book with that title for The American Conservative.

Of course, by "liberalism," Deneen does not mean the term in the way the American press uses it, to describe Democrats. He is using the standard meaning from political theory, in terms of which both major American parties (and most minor parties) are thoroughly liberal.

What I wish to note here is that the title of Deneen's book is correct: liberalism has already failed. We do not need to predict its failure: its collapse is visible all around us, to anyone not blinded by wishful thinking. And it had to fail, since at its core it is based on a false anthropology, making it a fundamentally anti-human view.


  1. This is interesting, Gene. Of course we can wait for your review, but in the meantime, can you clarify? Are you saying that the common practice among Misesians to distinguish between "classical liberalism" and "Phil Donahue liberalism" is mistaken? Sort of like the Mensheviks vs. Bolsheviks?

    1. Well, they are different *strains* of liberalism, so they are different, but they are different strains of *liberalism*, so they are similar.

      By the way, this is a common place notion and political theory. Even pro liberal political theorist would see both the Democrats and Republicans as liberal parties. In the European sense (which most political theorists would use) the US has never had a conservative party.


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