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Of the three dominant ideologies of the 20th century - fascism, communism, and liberalism - only the last remains. This has created a peculiar situation in which liberalism's proponents tend to forget that it is an ideology and not the natural end-state of human political evolution. As Patrick Deneen argues in this provocative book, liberalism is built on a foundation of contradictions: It trumpets equal rights while fostering incomparable material inequality; its legitimacy rests on consent, yet it discourages civic commitments in favor of privatism; and in its pursuit of individual autonomy, it has given rise to the most far-reaching, comprehensive state system in human history.
Here, Deneen offers an astringent warning that the centripetal forces now at work on our political culture are not superficial flaws but inherent features of a system whose success is generating its own failure.
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By Amazon Customer on 08-13-18
Smart man w/ a grim view, but insufficient support
The author has an interesting and surprising claim, and withsome merit. I gained many new interesting insights and appreciate the book for that. However Deneen lumps classic liberalism together with modern progressive liberalism and declares them both failures. He also lumps conservatism and libertarianism in with classic liberalism. He gives some examples for progressive liberalism but really only one for classic liberalism in which he declares free market ideas to be a failure. He specifically points to the 2008 mortgage crisis and financial meltdown as a market failure, but many economists think that was substantially due to government meddling (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). The narration was also flat, almost monotone. I hung onto the book for most of the chapters, hoping Deneen would support his case with facts and examples. His ideas are intriguing and flow against most modern streams of thought. But I gave up on the audible book just short of his conclusion. It was too much work to listen for too little gain. Still. I'm glad I encountered Mr. Deneen. But I wouldn't recommend the book to a friend.