Some elements of liberalism are inherent to American democracy, but the compound, the peculiar combination that is contemporary liberalism, is not. Compounded of the philosophy of history, Social Darwinism, the living constitution, leadership, the cult of the State, the rule of administrative experts, entitlements and group rights, and moral creativity, modern liberalism is something new and distinctive, despite the presence in it, too, of certain American constants like the love of equality and democratic individualism. Under the pressure of ideas and events, that compound could come apart. Liberals' confidence in being on the right, the winning side of history could crumble, perhaps has already begun to crumble. Trust in government, which really means in the State, is at all-time lows. A majority of Americans opposes a new entitlement program—in part because they want to keep the old programs unimpaired, but also because the economic and moral sustainability of the whole welfare state grows more and more doubtful. The goodwill and even the presumptive expertise of many government experts command less and less respect. Obama's speeches no longer send the old thrill up the leg, and his leadership, whether for one or two terms, may yet help to discredit the respectability of following the Leader.We all were surprised with the seemingly, surprising collapse of communism and the Soviet Union when in fact it was crumbling from within. Maybe the same is true with liberalism. We shall see.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Is liberalism facing a crisis?
Here's an interesting article on the crisis of liberalism by Charles Kesler of the Claremont Institute.