Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-x5gtn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-24T15:48:35.509Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

4 - Liberalism after the good times: the “end of history” in historical perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 February 2010

R. Bruce Douglass
Affiliation:
Georgetown University, Washington DC
David Hollenbach
Affiliation:
Boston College, Massachusetts
Get access

Summary

What we may in fact be witnessing is not just the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the endpoint of mankind's ideological evolution and the emergence of Western liberal democracy as the final form of government.

Francis Fukuyama

In culture, as well as politics, liberalism is now up against the wall.

Daniel Bell

This is an essay about the future of liberalism in the light of its past. It is designed to recall some of what liberals have been through in the recent past in order to make sense of where they are now headed. And in particular it is intended to bring to light the complexity – and uncertainty – of the fate that awaits them.

This is not something, needless to say, which can be taken for granted. For now that events are turning out well for them, there is a predictable tendency on the part of liberals (as well as many others) to assume that their present success has a simple, straightforward meaning. Hence the talk we are hearing of their having “won” the great ideological competition of our time and even of “history” having come to an end in the process – all of which gives the impression that it is obvious what has taken place and where it leads. But it is not. And the more one knows of the actual history of the events in question, I would submit, the more evident it is that this is the case.

Type
Chapter
Information
Catholicism and Liberalism
Contributions to American Public Policy
, pp. 100 - 124
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1994

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×