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Liberalism At The Crossroads

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Chapter Summary

All presidential elections in America are treated as if the nation is at a crossroads, and even if the election eventually confirms that no election makes much of a difference in the short run, there are nevertheless long-term changes in culture and politics, and in that sense an election often represent resistance or confirmation of these changes. A very interesting discussion of the whole historical process in America is The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln. The earlier America feared a strong central government, but not a strong local government, and certainly not strong families. The original meaning of liberalism meant tolerance and reasoning together in order to eventually work together for the common good. Liberalism has become a tolerance not for self-directed civil society, nor for the independence of individuals and communities, but a tolerance for bureaucratic intrusions for good and for ill.

Keywords: American democracy; liberalism

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