The Meaning of Liberalism: East and West

The Meaning of Liberalism: East and West

The Meaning of Liberalism: East and West

The Meaning of Liberalism: East and West

Synopsis

"This volume provides a new perspective on the continuing debate about how liberalism should be defined and what it means in countries with an established parliamentary system, particularly in the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe. Contributors come from both sides of the former Iron Curtain and they highlight the richness and diversity of liberalism and discuss different perceptions of liberal thinking in the East and West in the postmodern world." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

When the Swiss journalist Herbert Liithy stated, commenting on contemporary French society, that “France's clock shows another time”, his words were found to be very apt. However, what is true about cultural differences between individual nations must be even more true about those between entire regions, especially if these differences are rooted in distinct political and social traditions of long standing. the West and the East—or, more precisely, Western Europe and East Central Europe—constitute a prominent case in point. Their 'asynchronous clocks' have already caused more than one misunderstanding in modern history— that is, they have created situations in which representatives of the same socio-philosophical persuasion or school in each of the two regions have found themselves talking past each other. It happened, for example, in the memorable year of 1968, between what then passed for the 'New Left' east and west of the Iron Curtain. It would seem that similar communication difficulties have arisen again, after the collapse of the communist experiment, between the spokesmen of the liberal current of thought in the West and their counterparts in the East. Although both claim to be liberals, their agendas and the order of priority in which they perceive the major social, political, and economic problems appear to be quite distinct. the volume which we have the pleasure of presenting to the reader has been put together in order to introduce and to analyze this peculiar phenomenon.

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