From the 'End of History' to the 'End of Liberalism'?

A Re-evaluation of the Merits of Liberal Democracies in Contemporary Global Political Philosophy

  • Peter Wedekind Institute of Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University
Keywords: Classical Liberalism, Collectivism, Democracies, Individualism, Liberty-limitations, Neoliberalism, System-flaws

Abstract

A variety of pathologies within contemporary Western political regimes question the preference for liberal democracies: they can be contradictory, have produced significant economic inequalities, corroded social fabric, and lack a claim to exceptionalism. This judgment leads critics to conclude that not only the implementation but also the very foundation of liberal principles is flawed. In opposition to Francis Fukuyama’s initial (and now revised) claim from 1989, some argue that liberalism, rather than history, has come to its end. This essay argues that there are still merits to liberal democracies that are worth preserving. Utilising arguments from classical and neoliberal traditions it is possible to claim that individualism still serves as a bulwark against the subjugation of individuals and the arbitrary divisions based on ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality. Liberal principles continue to offer an antidote to the strengthening of authoritarian tendencies, nationalistic sentiments, xenophobia and non-democratic regimes in general.

Author Biography

Peter Wedekind, Institute of Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University

Peter Wedekind is a PhD-student at the Institute of Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. He received his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Master of Education (M.Ed.) in “Philosophy” and “Economics/Politics” as well as his Master of Arts (M.A.) in “Practical Philosophy of Economics and the Environment” at Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany. He worked as a scientific/research assistant at the Kiel Science Outreach Campus (Leibniz-Institute) as well as at the chair for Philosophy and Ethics of the Environment at Kiel University. His research focuses on modern and classical liberalism, coercive paternalism, marketization and anti-liberal trends together with the exploration of merits as well as pathologies in contemporary western political frameworks. His dissertation is titled “Justifications and Limits of State Coercion in Liberal Democracies”.

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Published
2020-06-29
How to Cite
Wedekind, P. (2020). From the ’End of History’ to the ’End of Liberalism’? A Re-evaluation of the Merits of Liberal Democracies in Contemporary Global Political Philosophy. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science, 45, 59-74. https://doi.org/10.22151/politikon.45.3
Section
Review essays