Publication Date: November 16, 2006
Most critiques of liberalism overlook its deepest moral and religious problem -- the denial of radical evil. The fact is that liberalism is sanguine about human nature and its capacity not just for virtue, but perfectibility. Utopians throughout history consistently have denied evil as part of the universal human condition. In the last century, for example, idealists of the 1930s downplayed the global threat of Nazism and Fascism. Their failure to face international terrorism realistically invited the danger onto their own shores. That notorious decade of appeasement grew from the soil of a political-religious world view, the ideology of utopianism.
So, too, today: Contemporary utopians soft-pedal the clear and present danger of Islamic radicalism. The ghosts of appeasement, which now animate many political and religious leaders, present a profound challenge to the health and even survival of American democracy. Overcoming this challenge involves a recovery of Christian realism about the tragedy of human nature and the problem of evil in a post-9/11 world. In this lecture Mr. Joseph Loconte offers a historically informed critique of liberalism through the lens of Christian realism, with some applications for U.S. foreign policy today.
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