Posted 20 hours ago

How to Be a Liberal: The Story of Freedom and the Fight for its Survival

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A global, cosmopolitan state would have to be brutally repressive of (almost) everyone’s national identity or ethnic loyalty. A tour de force ; a mighty trumpet blast for the forces of liberalism and enlightenment in the face of a global tide of ignorance and populism. Do the damaging excesses of laissez faire liberalism such as austerity still count as representations of liberalism, when the direct and deliberate harm they inflict is so intrinsic ?

In some ways they are more pervasive and insidious than nationalism and present a powerful threat to Liberal ideas.Just as liberal socialists reject the idea of vanguard dictatorship, so liberal believers reject any use of coercion in religious matters. This theme, that of individual rights versus the general ‘will of the people’, underpins much of the book.

His view that John Stuart Mill's work on liberty should be regarded as a join effort with Harriet Taylor is a refreshing (and I’m sure accurate) reassessment of their contribution - throughout the book he rightly refers to them jointly. Prospect magazine said: 'A journalist who has come to prominence on Twitter as a staunch critic of Brexit, Dunt has delved into heavy academic theory and interpreted it in an accessible manner for the ordinary reader. The power of the mob, public opinion, Rousseau’s will of the people if we remember led to the tyranny of the French Revolution.Drawing on his years of experience as a journalist and political commentator, Dunt argues that liberalism is not just a set of abstract principles, but a practical guide to living a good and meaningful life. Yet to claim that liberalism is the strongest defence against political extremism requires some serious historical editing.

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