Why Liberalism Failed

Daniel McCarthy in The National Interest:

Today, liberalism appears to be dying in much the same way that Soviet Communism did a generation ago. It is collapsing on its periphery, shedding its colonies and facing a crisis of faith at home. History has gone into reverse in the realm of the old Warsaw Pact, first with Russia, now Hungary, Poland and the former East Germany rejecting liberalism—just as they did Marxism three decades ago. The exotic American orchid of liberal democracy, having taken root in such unlikely climes as postwar Germany and Japan, has failed to flower where the Iron Curtain once cast its shadow.

The story is the same elsewhere: a new sort of decolonization is taking place from the Eastern Mediterranean to South Asia. States that until recently aspired to Western-style modernity on their own terms now find little need for the secular models of liberalism or socialism. They have taken up instead the old cause of faith and nation.

Bitter rivals though they may have been, liberalism and Communism sprang from a common nineteenth-century vision of human destiny: of a future that was secularizing, scientific, materially prosperous, progressive, universal and inevitable. This, for all its variations, was the vision of Vladimir Lenin and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, David Ben-Gurion and Jawaharlal Nehru, Woodrow Wilson and the architects of the European Union. The decline of liberalism is not a surprise twist to history, seen in this light. It is only a continuation of what destroyed the Soviet order—a long awakening from the utopian reverie of scientific truth wedded to power.

More here.  [Thanks to Omar Ali.]