The End of Liberalism: Ideology, Policy, and the Crisis of Public Authority

The End of Liberalism: Ideology, Policy, and the Crisis of Public Authority

The End of Liberalism: Ideology, Policy, and the Crisis of Public Authority

The End of Liberalism: Ideology, Policy, and the Crisis of Public Authority

Excerpt

The End of Liberalism is a deliberately ambiguous title intended to convey at least two purposes. First, it is an inquiry into the actual character of contemporary liberalism, its tenets, its origins, and the state and policies it is responsible for. That is to say, it is an analysis of the end or ends of the liberal state in the 1960's. I have for this purpose tried to write a textbook, in which the reader will find enough data and exposition through which to make analyses and draw conclusions for himself.

Second, the book is a polemic. It is a textbook with a point of view, a strong point of view. As a polemic, its principal target is the modem liberal state itself, its outmoded ideology, and its self-defeating policies. But the polemic is addressed, too, to academic political science and its fellow disciplines of history, sociology, and economics. The tie between the modern liberal state and political science parallels the older tie between the capitalist system and laissez-faire economics. Like classical economics, contemporary political theory is good theory elevated into bad ideology through repetition of its hypotheses as though they were inviolable principles. And, like criticisms of laissez-faire economics, criticisms of political science theory often make difficult reading. But there is a need to break the thirty-year moratorium on consideration of first premises that has characterized modem political science. Controversy must be opened on questions of theory and ideology, not merely on questions of methodology and practice.

Almost exactly thirty years ago the contemporary liberal state was founded on the basis of two overwhelming national elections and a series of Supreme Court decisions that seemed to validate new constitutional principles. But in United States history there have always been two dimensions to the problem . . .

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