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Liberalism vs. Populism
The Good Liberal

Yascha Mounk’s new defense of liberalism offers a perceptive diagnosis of its decline, but not much in the way of a cure.

Published on: March 6, 2018
Shadi Hamid is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, author of Islamic Exceptionalism, and co-editor of the new book Rethinking Political Islam.
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  • D4x

    America’s best example to the world was once the peaceful transfer of power. January 20, 2017: The Inauguration of the Forty-Fifth President of the United States, Donald J.Trump, and his family, with the 44th POTUS applauding the peaceful transfer of power, in support of the Constitution of the United States of America.. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4a641ac3073aff1c5eaedec9e1a2eaa1b57f21f3e58f8a733610c311d1783f75.jpg
    The American Interest Feature Photos continue to be Guilty of Visual Assault.

  • QET

    His goal is for the liberal state to live up to its stated ideals through a shared commitment to fairness and equal protections under the law. –Mounk according to Hamid

    The classical liberal tradition. . .prioritized non-negotiable personal freedoms and individual autonomy –Hamid, this article

    liberalism. . .the political order that privileges non-negotiable rights, personal freedoms, and individual autonomy –Hamid in The Atlantic

    Three different statements of what liberalism is, entails or requires. This manner of treatment of the concept is a modern poena cullei, leaving the concept to the same fate as the Roman parricide: sewn up in a sack with a cock, a monkey, a dog and a snake and thrown into the Tiber.

  • Otis

    Probably the last two self-perpetuating old boy/girl networks left in the U.S. are the government bureaucracy and academia. They are obsessed with racial/gender/national-origin/sexual-preference diversity while determined to ensure that there is as little diversity in thinking as possible. The goal of the state is to grow, and the goal of the university is to police ideological orthodoxy, and woe to us benighted hillbillies who think otherwise.

  • Tom Scharf

    It’s hard to get past a thought that the definition of democracy to most of these people is “my side winning”.

    Since when was “liberalism” for open borders and celebration of gays, transsexuals, and Muslim culture? Just ten years ago these alleged liberals were all comfortably on the other side of these issues. Apparently they weren’t for Democracy then…

    They blindly marched toward these issues and never bothered to turn around and see if anyone was following. It is this assumption that they are leaders and others will blindly follow that makes them self destructive. To top all this, they feel no need to convince others of their positions and instead immediately resort to labeling the opposition as some sort of moral outcasts. Lazy and arrogant. When is the last time you heard anyone for “liberalism” put forth an argument on why free trade and open borders is a good thing? The self elected intellectual elites instead just call the opposition xenophobic and off they go to their dinner party to celebrate an intellectual monoculture that they call diversity!

  • Anthony

    Almost everyone who writes about the challenges to democracy sooner or later encounters Yascha Mounk, as inferred in essay. Here’s a few recent pieces: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/04/shock-system-liberal-democracy-populism https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/03/yascha-mounk-democracy/554786/

  • ვეფხისტყაოსანი

    Not everyone agrees that the “deep state” is inevitable. Consult, for instance, Philip Hamburger’s “Is Administrative Law Unlawful?” (Hamburger is a professor at Columbia University, and so not so easily dismissed by liberals.) The alternative is for decisions about housing, environmental matters, highways, and such to be made by those most affected by the effects of those decisions, rather than by closed-minded, ideology-bound, unaccountable, overweeningly arrogant — albeit very well credentialed — idiots in Washington.

    No job in America is as safe and as well-paid as those in the Federal government. No, not even hedge-fund managers — they have been known to go broke and/or wind up in jail. The only fate in store for Federal bureaucrats is an extremely generous pension.

    One recent example is the Parkland massacre, which was enabled — if not caused — by an Obama-era directive to stop arresting student criminals who were also members of Federally protected classes (Black, Hispanic, poor, LBGTXQWRF, etc.). The shooter — being such a member — was left unbothered by the authorities despite dozens of warnings. And the local government and school board were rewarded by the Federal government for this dereliction with yet more of our money. This — not some Trump-as-Hitler fantasy — is the worst-case future for America.

    In short, liberalism is dying because it cannot survive the behavior and beliefs of liberals.

    Alas, the same is true of the other side ….

  • Gary Hemminger

    this article is one of my all time top 10 in TAI. Very well written, spot on, and insightful. I would like to see more from this gentleman and will be reading some of his books. Great job Shadi. I wish everyone would read this article. Awesome. The last paragraph shows the guy actually has insight into himself. Very rare, very rare indeed.

  • Interesting piece. Might have given more attention to the other big issue: the notion that free mobility of capital as well as labor is a good idea in a world characterized by vast continental disparities of income and wealth. Good for whom, is the question? Obviously not good for the majority of workers in the West, but yes good for those who own capital, including human capital, which means the upper- and upper-middle classes who are at the heart of the neo-liberal establishment.

    I would like to point out that a wage-price equalization tax on goods made in low-wage countries overseas would still leave in place all the other incentives for trade that Ricardo talked about: those arising from climate, geography, natural resources, specialization, and even the peculiar skills, like nimble fingers, that certain populations enjoy.

    In other words trade, like immigration, is a big time policy issue that the majority is perfectly able to understand and make responsible decisions about. Let’s not pretend this is some acane topic only the elites understand.

  • Boritz

    Translation: Wish the deep-state-regulatory-state which at its core is sound could go on its merry way without all this messy opposition which at its core is corrupt.
    Thanks for the acknowledgement, though, that the communication style of the upper-crust was impolite.

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