John Gray has become one of our liveliest and most influential political philosophers. This current volume is a sequel to his Liberalisms: Essays in Political Philosophy. The earlier book ended on a sceptical note, both in respect of what a post-liberal political philosophy might look like, and with respect to the claims of political philosophy itself.
John Gray's new book gives post-liberal theory a more definite content. It does so by considering particular thinkers in the history of political thought, by criticizing the conventional wisdom, liberal and socialist, of the Western academic class, and most directly by specifying what remains of value in liberalism. The upshot of this line of thought is that we need not regret the failure of foundationalist liberalism, since we have all we need in the historic inheritance of the institutions of civil society. It is to the practice of liberty that these institutions encompass, rather than to empty liberal theory, that we should repair.
'There is gold on almost every page and in fact a unifying golden thread runs right through the lot ... [Gray] bids Eastern Europeans to read de Tocqueville, Benjamin Constant and the Great Scots, not Rawls, Dworkin and other decadent successors. I advise them to read Gray.' - Colin Welch, The Times