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Liberalism—the life of an idea: a conversation with Edmund Fawcett

By Jonathan Derbyshire  

Edmund Fawcett

In his new book Liberalism: The Life of an Idea, the writer and journalist Edmund Fawcett makes the rather startling claim that “liberty is the wrong place to begin” when telling the story of liberalism. This will no doubt strike some readers as eccentric, especially if they’re political philosophers working self-consciously in the “liberal” tradition and are used to deriving conclusions about the legitimate activity of the state from a set of assumptions about liberty, consent and individual rights. But Fawcett’s book is not a…

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