The Liberalism of Refuge

Issue Date April 2024
Volume 35
Issue 2
Page Numbers 136–151
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Frustrated by persisting inequality, oppression, and corruption in liberal societies, and disillusioned with liberalism’s failures, many are stepping away. Yet liberal societies are still admirable because they offer refuge from the very people they empower. They require rulers to accept limitations on their power and provide escape hatches from the worst parts of political life. Offers of refuge may be found in opposition political parties, independent institutions, reasonably autonomous local communities, powerful civil society organizations, and the market economy. There is a nobility in offering refuge, in the safety and opportunity it presents for building something new.

About the Author

Bryan Garsten is professor of political science and humanities at Yale University. He is author of Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment (2006) and editor of Rousseau, the Age of Enlightenment, and Their Legacies (2012).

View all work by Bryan Garsten

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