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Patrick J. Deneen, Why Liberalism Failed, Lecture

February 13 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

The Department of Political Science and James Madison College at Michigan State University present a lecture titled Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick J. Deneen.  Professor Deneen is the David A. Potenziani Memorial Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame.

Professor Deneen’s  lecture is titled Why Liberalism Failed.  Of the three dominant ideologies of the twentieth century–fascism, communism, and liberalism–only the last remains.  This has created a peculiar situation in which liberalism’s proponents tend to forget that it is an ideology and not the natural end-state of human political evolution.

Professor Deneen argues that liberalism is built on a foundation of contradictions: it trumpets equal rights while fostering incomparable material inequality; its legitimacy rests on consent, yet it discourages civic commitments in favor of privatism; and its pursuit of individual autonomy, it has given rise to the most far-reaching, comprehensive state system in human history.

Deneen offers an stringent warning that the centripetal forces now at work on our political culture are not superficial flaws but inherent features of a system whose success is generating its own failure.

“I don’t agree with most of the author’s conclusions, but the book offers cogent insights into the loss of meaning and community that many in the West feel, issues that liberal democracies ignore at their own peril.” President Barack Obama




February 13
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm


Dustin Sebell


Club Spartan, Case Hall