Thursday, September 1, 2011

Liberalism: A Counter-History

By Tom Whittaker 
Thursday, 01 September 2011

A new study of liberalism as an ideology reveals the lie behind its claim to be the bearer of universal freedoms. Losurdo’s argument is especially relevant in view of the recent wave of rebellion against authoritarian regimes, argues Tom Whittaker. 

Domenico Losurdo ends his Liberalism: A Counter-History suggesting that only through bidding farewell to the habitual hagiography of the subject can there be serious consideration of the contribution to intellectual and political thought made by liberalism. Hagiography Losurdo’s book certainly is not.

He opens with the question ‘what is liberalism?’, asking whether we should consider a figure such as John C. Calhoun, champion of the slave-holding south of the USA, as a liberal.

Most people would certainly consider slavery to be the absolute antithesis of liberty and the rights of man. However, for a prominent nineteenth-century liberal, such as Lord Acton, there was no doubt that Calhoun was a liberal. Indeed, he was a ‘champion of the cause of the struggle against absolutism’ and of the ‘defence of minority rights against the abuse of an overbearing majority’

Read more HERE.

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