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Liberalism: The Life of an Idea

Saturday 29 March 2014

1 Hour


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Political observer and journalist Edmund Fawcett looks at the ideals, successes and failures of liberalism over the last 200 years of American and European history. Fawcett takes a broad definition of liberalism and discusses thinkers from Constant and Mill to Hayek, Berlin and Rawls, and 20th-century politicians including Franklin D Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Willy Brandt, Hoover, Reagan, and Kohl.  He suggests there are many currents of liberalism but they all converge around shared commitments: resistance to power, faith in social progress, respect for people’s chosen enterprises and beliefs, and acceptance that interests and faiths will always conflict.

Fawcett served as chief correspondent of the Economist in Washington, Paris and Berlin and as the publication’s European and literary editor.