Patrick Deneen – Why Liberalism Failed

Despite it being conducted by a renowned cuck, there’s a worthwhile email interview with Patrick Deneen, professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, whose new book Why Liberalism Failed was published today. Deneen’s diagnosis of the crisis of modernity, whole not wholly original, is nonetheless eloquently put, even if one may disagree with Deneen’s recommended path forward. From one interesting passage of the interview:

… I think it’s very possible for liberalism to be in crisis without a “realistic alternative.” The book opens with a quote from Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror that describes how the breakdown in belief in the legitimacy of medieval claims about of chivalry and noblesse oblige – increasingly contradicted by the shortcomings in their practice – led to the abandonment of faith in that system. There was no “realistic alternative” in the wings ready to replace feudalism. Rather, a long period of instability and trial-and- error was the consequence of the loss of confidence in a once-stable system.

…[T]here are pockets of growing interest in various alternative forms, including attraction among some to Putinesque rejection of liberal internationalism and progressivism, something I see among some of my students (admittedly, a decided minority). The election of Donald Trump is a more populist expression of this yearning, obviously, and the intensity of the reaction of Left against “Russian meddling” is an indication not only of the panic over Trump, but more deeply, a deeper insecurity over the prospects for liberalism in the world given the growing sense of an alternative on the world stage, visible in Russia, Poland and Hungary…

… [N]one of these alternatives is appropriate nor should be attractive to Americans. My more parochial question is, can there be an “alternative” for a nation that has, by and large, only been liberal? Are there non-liberal currents within the American tradition that can be built upon, and if so, what would new iterations and combinations of those existing building-blocks look like? I believe that we have such soil that has lain fallow, and I hope in my next book to explore what such an “alternative tradition” in America might look like.

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