The retreat of Western Liberalism


This is an excellent book summarising the the intertwined global forces which are threatening democracy and liberalism, indeed pitching them against one another.

It is said the book can be read in three hours, it took me longer. Mr Luce clearly has a strong grip on the growing literature addressing,  globalisation; populism; automation; the shift to the East ; climate change and more. His erudition, however, never gets in the way of clear concise exposition and commentary.

His analysis always sets maters in a historical context taking due account of the transitory nature of much that seems permenant as lived. Implicit in this is a challenge to all of us to recognise the scale and reality of the threats which exist and to do something about them. History is not inevitable it is created, although not necessarily consciously.

His arguments are often challenging but always thoughtful. He is particularly good around the contentious opposition, or as I suspect he sees it, interplay between class and identity. He is clear however that if the Democrats ever want to govern effectively again they need to develop policies which address the concerns of the “basket of deplorables”. Of course the contentious bit is defying what you think their concerns are.

If you want to read one book that will provide you with an underground map of contemporary social, political and economic issues this is it. It reduces the complexity by focusing on the key issues, illustrating what connects and divides them.

It may take you longer than three hours to read but whatever it does you will think it worthwhile.

The retreat of Western Liberalism. E Luce. Abacus 2018.

 

 

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