The Economist Magazine 10th September 2021 Something has gone very wrong with Western liberalism. At its he art classical liberalism believes human progress is brought about by debate and reform. The best w ay to na vigate disruptive change in a divided world is through a universal commitment to individual dignity , open mark ets and limited government. Yet a resurgent China sneers at liber alism for being selfish, decadent and unstable. At home, populists on the right and left rage at liberalism for its supposed elitism and privilege. Over the past 250 years classical liberalism has helped bring about unpar alleled progress . It will not v anish in a puff of smoke. But it is undergoing a severe test, just as it did a century ago when the canc ers of B olshevism and fascism began to e at away at liberal Europe from within. It is time for liber als to understand what they are up against and to fight back.
Nowhere is the fight fiercer than in America, where this week the Supreme Court chose not to strike down a draconian and bizarre antiabortion law (see U nited States section). The most dangerous threat in liberalism’s spiritual home comes from the Trumpian right. Populists denigrate liberal edifices such as science and the rule of law as façades for a plot by the deep state against the people. They subordinate facts and re ason to tribal emotion. The enduring falsehood that the presidential election in 2020 was stolen points to where such impulses lead. If people cannot settle their differences using debate and trusted institutions, they resort to force.
The attack from the left is harder to gr asp, partly because in America “liberal” has come to include an illiberal left. We describe this week how a new style of politics has rec ently spread from elite university departments . As young graduates have taken jobs in the upmarket media and in politics , business and education, they have brought with them a horror of feeling “unsafe” and an agenda obsessed with a narrow vision of obtaining justic e for oppressed identity groups. They have also brought along tactics to enforce ideological purity, by noplatforming their enemies and cancelling allies who have transgressed—with echoes of the confessional state that dominated Europe before classical liberalism took root at the end of the 18th century (see Briefing). The Economist Magazine 10th September 2021DOWNLOAD NOW