The Future of Liberalism

Alan Wolfe, Author . Knopf $25.95 (335p) ISBN 978-0-307-26677-4

With one eye toward the Enlightenment and another toward contemporary politics, Wolfe (Does American Democracy Still Work? ) mounts a passionate defense of why liberalism—broadly defined—continues to be relevant and essential in this thorough, scholarly text. The author refers to liberalism both in its classical and modern sense, emphasizing its commitment, from its emergence to the present, to the two goals of liberty and equality. Despite the title, the book takes a primarily historical approach, surveying a multitude of liberal thinkers from John Locke to John Rawls—drawing especially heavily on the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill—applying their theories to both historical and contemporary political issues. The author uses the frame of liberalism to examine terrorism, globalization and the politics of religion. Wolfe ruminates on conservatism's hand in the Hurricane Katrina debacle and, in his musings on globalization, focuses on how liberalism prescribes a philosophical commitment to global welfare rather than parochial concerns or national protectionism. More a work of political theory than a policy text, this book will strongly appeal to readers interested in the tradition of Western liberal thought. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 10/13/2008
Release date: 02/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-307-27136-5
Paperback - 335 pages - 978-0-307-38625-0
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