Liberalism's Discontents - Oklahoma Center for the Humanities
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Liberalism’s Discontents

Join us February 8 at 7pm at 101 Archer!

OCH will host acclaimed scholar and political scientist, Patrick Deneen. TU’s Jennifer Frey, Dean of the Honors College, will join Deneen to discuss the history and limits of liberalism as a political philosophy.

Liberalism includes both the American left and right in Deneen’s view. In his book, Deneen argues that liberalism is built on contradictions: it promotes equal rights while fostering incomparable material inequality; its legitimacy rests on consent, yet it discourages civic commitments in favor of privatism; and in its pursuit of individual autonomy, it has given rise to the most far-reaching, comprehensive state system in human history. The work offers an astringent 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.

Building on Why Liberalism Failed, Deneen’s most recent book, Regime Change: Toward a Postliberal Future (2023) proposes a bold plan for replacing the liberal elite and the ideology that created and empowered them. He suggests grass-roots populist efforts to destroy the ruling class altogether are naive, and he calls for the strategic formation of a new elite devoted to a “pre-postmodern conservatism” and aligned with the interest of the “many.”

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