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Festival of Ideas

Can Liberalism Survive? Francis Fukuyama

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Francis Fukuyama, author of Identity and The Origins of Political Order, examines the challenges that liberalism faces in today’s world and serves up a powerful and penetrating case for the defence.

Liberalism – the comparatively mild-mannered sibling to the more ardent camps of nationalism and socialism – has never been so divisive as today. From Putin’s populism, the Trump administration and autocratic rulers in democracies the world over, it has both thrived and failed under identity politics, authoritarianism, social media and a weakened free press.

Since its inception following the post-Reformation wars, liberalism has come under attack from conservatives and progressives alike, and today is dismissed by many as an ‘obsolete doctrine’. Fukuyama sets out the cases for and against its classical premises: observing the rule of law, independence of judges, means over ends, and, most of all, tolerance.

In conversation with Bristol Ideas director Andrew Kelly.

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