Political Consequences of the Protestant Reformation, Part III

Modern liberalism’s origins trace not just to Protestant doctrine but also to pragmatic compromise between religious factions.

Appeared in: Volume 10, Number 4 | Published on: November 6, 2017
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  • Anthony

    “Modern liberalism’s origins trace not just to Protestant doctrine but also to pragmatic compromise between religious factions – a hint that “compromise” (not concession) may not leave all satisfied but it may facilitate societal comity long-term.

    “Liberalism is a political doctrine that begins with the premise that individuals are born with natural rights, which include the right to life, private property, and individual autonomy with regard to religion, speech, and other aspects of personal choice. Governments in this view are legitimate only to the extent that they protect those rights; there is no collective good or divine right of rulership that overrides these rights.” (Francis Fukuyama)

    Part III further assists in appreciating Reformation’s long-term impact on Western principles of Leviathan’s construction – political consequences embedded in the releasing of faith (individually).

  • hecate9

    “There was no real liberal tradition in Muslim history…” no …”notion of individuals as rights-bearers untouchable by the state.” This may turn out to be a true statement but the flow of history in Islam seems remarkable for some eddies and whirlpools that suggest, if not exact analogues of Hobbes and Locke, at least currents of thought that were often seen as threatening to theocracies and that the Sunni and Shia States tried hard, at various times to block, divert, and vitiate. From the Mu’tazalites of the 9-10C to Ibn Rushd to more modern thinkers such as Tahtawi, Mohammed Abduh, not to mention the long, vast and variegated history of Sufi thought and practice, Islam may not have been (and may not be) an monolithic and anti-liberal as many in the west suspect.
    While I don’t disagree with FF’s main thesis, a more nuanced view of Islamic history-that considers the victims of Salafist tendencies- might be interesting.

  • Jeff77450

    Mr. Fukuyama, I have enjoyed reading this series which has given me much “food for thought.” Many thanks.

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