This is a great moment in world history. From Berlin to Moscow, the news is full of the restless striving of a renascent liberalism. For the first time in a long time, all of Europe resonates with the great liberal themes of freedom and equality under law. Great movements bring great dangers: a mobilized liberalism must compete with resurgent nationalisms, obscurantisms, theocracies. But the new demagogues seem less formidable than Hitler or Lenin or even Mussolini. Though we are in for lots of disappointments, I open my New York Times with something that feels like genuine hope. Will Johannesburg or Havana or Peking successfully manage the formidable challenges of liberal transformation? Maybe the answer will be "no," but this is the first time since 18481 when liberals could seriously ask the question.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Ackerman, Bruce, "Liberating Abstraction" (1992). Faculty Scholarship Series. 136.