Liberalism is leading to a crisis of our humanityby Jon Cruddas / December 14, 2016 / Leave a comment
The Politics of Virtue: Post-Liberalism and the Human Future, by John Milbank and Adrian Pabs (RLI, £24.95)
How to understand Brexit and Trump? A good place to start is the victory of the “two liberalisms” of the last 50 years—the 1960s advances in social liberalism, which have since been complemented by the economic liberalism of the free market.
Both of these liberalisms have their intellectual origins in a philosophy of justice built on the extension of personal freedoms. Yet under the guise of liberty we have witnessed an unparalleled concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few and are consequently seeing authoritarian populism rampaging across western market economies. At the same time, a liberal social contract, insofar as there is one, offers diminishing returns and no discernible notion of the common good.
For writers John Milbank and Adrian Pabst, in The Politics of Virtue: Post-Liberalism and the Human Future, the twin revolutions have helped forge a society both more isolated and individualised, yet also lashed to a financial architecture that crowds out human creativity. Liberalism is now eroding capitalism and creating a politics of extremes and creeping authoritarianism. It is leading to a crisis of our humanity as our lives, relationships, families, culture and planet are relentlessly commodified.
This book is at once profoundly disturbing yet also compelling, and full of exciting ideas about how to moralise the market and reclaim democracy. It stands as a signature contribution in the emerging debates around post-liberalism and provides real hope as we apparently slide into a post-truth world.