Post-Liberalism : The Death of a Dream book cover
1st Edition

The Death of a Dream

ISBN 9781412864053
Published November 30, 2016 by Routledge
372 Pages

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Book Description

Liberalism is dying—despite its superficial appearance of vigour. Most of its adherents still believe it is the wave of the future, but they are clinging to a sinking dream. So says Melvyn L. Fein, who argues that almost none of liberalism's countless promises have come true. Under its auspices, poverty was not eliminated, crime did not diminish, the family was not strengthened, education was not improved, and universal peace has not been established. These failures are not accidental; they flow directly from liberal contradictions. In Post-Liberalism, Fein demonstrates why this is the case. Fein contends that an "inverse force rule" dictates that small communities are united by strong forces, such as personal relationships and face-to-face hierarchies, while large-scale societies are integrated by weak forces, such as technology and social roles. As we become a more complex techno-commercial society, the weak forces become more dominant. This necessitates greater decentralization, in direct opposition to the centralization that liberals celebrate. Paradoxically, this suggests that liberalism, as an ideology, is regressive rather than progressive. If so, it must fail.

Liberals assume that someday, under their tutelage, these trends will be reversed, but this contradicts human nature and history's lessons. According to Fein, we as a species are incapable of eliminating hierarchy or of loving all other humans with equal intensity. As Emile Durkheim argued, humans cannot live in harmony without appropriate forms of social cohesion.

Table of Contents


The Origins of the Dream

Broken Promises

Liberal Contradictions

Ties that Bind

Back to the Future

The Professionalized Ideal


Dreams of Salvation


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