JYT on Deneen’s “Why Liberalism Failed”

From Jennifer Szalai’s critical review in the NYT of Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed:

In an otherwise illuminating section on the development of capitalism, Deneen refers to the great economic historian Karl Polanyi, who showed how the state had to take a strong hand in the creation of ostensibly free markets: “As Polanyi pithily says of this transformation, ‘Laissez-faire was planned.’” But Polanyi drew different conclusions from his own observations. An ardent social democrat who fled his beloved Red Vienna when the fascists took over, Polanyi went into exile four times, eventually landing in Canada. This cosmopolitan intellectual, born into a Hungarian-Jewish family, would most likely have been highly suspicious of Deneen’s extreme disdain for what he calls “lives of deracinated vagabondage” and his sentimentalization of communal norms enforced by “people of good will.”

Translation: Karl Polanyi, dear NYT readers (i.e., fellow Jews) was a ‘good’ guy because he was both a Marxist and a diasporic Jew, and with this moral weight would have naturally disagreed with Deneen’s thesis.

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