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Monsieur Butterfly

The only alternative to social democracy is social democracy

By David Lipsey   April 1996

Once upon a time the mark of a great political philosopher was consistency. He would discover his great idea (liberty for Mill, the social contract for Rousseau, the class war for Marx). There followed a lifetime of elucidation and refinement.

That was before post-modernism. Today consistency no longer counts. Indeed, if you look at the fashionable British political thinkers, what is most striking is how often they have changed their minds.

It is a moot point why this is so. Is it the fact of change itself? A philosophy of politics and society may fit reality when its progenitor is…

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