By Paul E. Gottfried
Publish yr note: First released January 1st 1999
In this trenchant problem to social engineering, Paul Gottfried analyzes a patricide: the slaying of nineteenth-century liberalism by way of the managerial nation. many of us, in fact, notice that liberalism now not connotes dispensed powers and bourgeois ethical criteria, the necessity to defend civil society from an encroaching kingdom, or the virtues of lively self-government. Many additionally comprehend that today's "liberals" have a long way assorted targets from these in their predecessors, aiming as they do mostly to wrestle prejudice, to supply social companies and welfare merits, and to guard expressive and "lifestyle" freedoms. Paul Gottfried does greater than study those old evidence, notwithstanding. He builds on them to teach why it concerns that the managerial nation has changed conventional liberalism: the recent regimes of social engineers, he keeps, are elitists, and their rule is consensual in basic terms within the experience that it really is unopposed by means of any common geared up opposition.
Throughout the western international, more and more uprooted populations unthinkingly settle for centralized controls in trade for numerous entitlements. of their scary passivity, Gottfried locates the predicament for traditionalist and populist adversaries of the welfare country. How can rivals of administrative elites express the general public that those that offer, in spite of the fact that ineptly, for his or her fabric wishes are the enemies of democratic self-rule and of self sufficient selection making in kinfolk existence? If we don't get up, Gottfried warns, the political debate may well quickly be over, regardless of sporadic and ideologically stressed populist rumblings in either Europe and the U.S..
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Extra info for After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State
As in other ways, Mill was paradigmatic here. Like other English progressives, including John Bright, Richard Cobden, and James Mill, John Stuart Mill had supported what became the British policy of international free trade. Like his father he believed this policy would benefit English workers while promoting goodwill among peoples. But Mill was also a militant interventionist who believed in the need to propagate what he took to be universal progress. He grew indignant in 1862 when the British government of Lord Palmerston failed to side actively with the American Union.
Such social planning may be good or bad, depending on one’s judgment, but those liberals who devise and carry it out are not innocent souls. They are not the heirs to those legalistic Germans of the 1930s who allowed Hitler to seize power because his party had obtained a parliamentary plurality. They reinterpret constitutions to suit their ends. Nor are they Lowi’s tolerant pluralists waiting for cultural and economic interests to flow together under recognized legal norms. Even less do they struggle to uphold academic freedom and the right of (non-minority) groups to private association.
56 Trilling went so far as to locate the evidence of that culture within a particular imagination and within a temperament that he claimed to find in the national literature. A second attempt to find liberal continuity is to equate it with characteristically modern assumptions about society and the nature of reality. These assumptions are thought to be particularly persuasive in our time, as alternative ones have lost their hold on the popular imagination. The liberal worldview is alleged to be contractual, individualistic, and secularist.