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A liberal tragedy

By cutting itself off from its Christian roots, liberalism has become shrill and dogmatic

By Edward Skidelsky   January 2002

Liberalism is facing a crisis. This judgment may seem extreme, given the current confidence of liberal rhetoric. Back in 1988, many liberals felt inhibited from condemning the fatwa against Salman Rushdie for fear of displaying “cultural imperialism.” Who has felt any such inhibition in relation to the Taleban? Commentators openly condemn Islam as “anti-progressive.” Such sentiments would have been unprintable 15 years ago. A new consensus has emerged, uniting the bellicosity of the right and the political correctness of the left. It is embodied in Tony Blair.

Yet the recent upsurge of confidence hides a deeper anxiety. We proclaim to…

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