The Myth of Liberalism

The Myth of Liberalism

by John Safranek


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The Myth of Liberalism by John Safranek

Individual freedom looms large in political and ethical thought. Nevertheless, the theoretical foundations underlying modern liberalism continue to be contested by proponents and opponents alike. The Myth of Liberalism offers a unique contribution to this debate by following through on the often underdeveloped suggestion that liberal principles are untenable because they are self-contradictory. By analyzing and ultimately refuting each of the proposed underpinnings of liberalism-liberty, equality, rights, privacy, autonomy, or dignity-Safranek concludes that contemporary liberalism is a myth: it is not a coherent political philosophy as much as a collection of causes masked by emotionally potent political rhetoric. While finding inherent flaws in liberal justifications for personal liberty, including rights to same-sex marriage, abortion, and assisted suicide, Safranek reveals the consequences of the contemporary liberal disdain for morality as a basis for law and constitutional rights. To correct for these shortcomings of the modem liberal notions of freedom, which are grounded in the passions, The Myth of Liberalism proposes an alternative way of safeguarding the human desire for liberty: a cogent retrieval of a pre-modern intellectual tradition that esteems reason and virtue.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813227931
Publisher: Catholic University of America Press
Publication date: 10/06/2015
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

1 The Modern Philosophers and Freedom 1

2 Autonomy 25

3 Equality and Freedom 43

4 Rights and Freedom 77

5 The Contradiction of Liberalism 103

6 Liberalism and Utilitarianism 141

7 Liberalism and Some Logical Considerations 162

8 A Classical Understanding of Freedom 191

9 Recapitulations - Modern 210

10 The Premodern Alternative 237

Bibliography 259

Index 267

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