Has liberalism failed because it has succeeded?
Of the three dominant ideologies of the twentieth century—fascism, communism, and liberalism—only the last remains. This has created a peculiar situation in which liberalism’s proponents tend to forget that it is an ideology and not the natural end-state of human political evolution. 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. Here, Deneen offers an astringent warning that the centripetal forces now at work on our political culture are not superficial flaws but inherent features of a system whose success is generating its own failure.
About the Author:
Patrick J. Deneen holds a B.A. in English literature and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Rutgers University. From 1995-1997 he was Speechwriter and Special Advisor to the Director of the United States Information Agency. From 1997-2005 he was Assistant Professor of Government at Princeton University. From 2005-2012 he was Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, before joining the faculty of Notre Dame in Fall 2012. He is the author and editor of several books and numerous articles and reviews and has delivered invited lectures around the country and several foreign nations.
Deneen was awarded the A.P.S.A.’s Leo Strauss Award for Best Dissertation in Political Theory in 1995, and an honorable mention for the A.P.S.A.’s Best First Book Award in 2000. He has been awarded research fellowships from Princeton University and the Earhart Foundation.
His teaching and writing interests focus on the history of political thought, American political thought, religion and politics, and literature and politics.
Published books include:
- Why Liberalism Failed (Yale University Press, 2018)
- Conserving America? Thoughts on Present Discontents (St. Augustine Press, 2016)
- Democratic Faith (Princeton University Press, 2005)
- The Odyssey of Political Theory (Rowman and Littlefield, 2000)
- Democracy’s Literature (ed.), (Rowman and Littlefield, 2005)
- The Democratic Soul (ed.), (University Press of Kentucky, 2011)
- Redeeming Democracy in America (ed.), (University Press of Kansas, 2011)
He is currently working on several book projects, including:
- Beyond Democratic Despotism: Reimagining Tocqueville for a World After Democracy
- The End of Education: The Liberal Arts as the Art of Being Free
- Liberalism and Conservatism: A Primer
Co-sponsored by The Institute for Human Ecology