Notes on “Why Liberalism Failed”

Frontispiece for Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan” (1651), which Deneen cites as one of the founding texts of liberalism.

Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed was one of the most widely discussed political books last year. In a crowded field of authors addressing the future of liberalism, Deneen stood out like a lightning-rod for his withering, full-frontal attack on the core principles and assumptions of liberal philosophy. And yet, when I recently went back and read the many reviews of Why Liberalism Failed, I came out feeling slightly…