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The Once and Future Liberal

After Identity Politics


About the Book

Impassioned and timely, this superbly written polemic by Mark Lilla based on his viral New York Times article argues that focusing on identity has failed the democratic party and offers a road map for a new kind of politics.

"This book is a polemic. It is written by a centrist American liberal stunned and outraged by the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. And it has been written out of anger."

The election of Trump marks the end of an era, argues LIlla, a respected Columbia professor and public intellectual. The political worldview defined by Ronald Reagan that has dominated the American political landscape for nearly four decades is over. On the right, conservatives must now grapple with the fact that a rhetoric of individual initiative and minimal government has given way to thoughtless populist demagoguery. On the left, liberals must reckon with an equally hard truth: Identity Politics has failed.

Driven by a sincere desire to protect the most vulnerable Americans, liberals have promoted a misguided rhetoric that has balkanized the electorate, encouraged individuals to look inward, and failed to offer a persuasive narrative championing government’s crucial role in creating a better society. Embracing noble defeat over messy compromise, many liberals have forgotten how real political change is achieved—a stance that has allowed them to become marginalized in every realm of government, from Washington, DC, to the state and local level.

Though devastating, the 2016 election also offers liberals an opportunity to create a new, forward-thinking political narrative—one that reasserts the importance of solidarity, equal protection of the law, and communal purpose, while engaging in the difficult work of building a government to help every American. Blistering and challenging, The Once and Future Liberal is a roadmap and manifesto for twenty-first century liberal politics that can profoundly reshape our national conversation—and transform the left into a formidable, united force for positive change.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062697431
  • ISBN 10: 0062697439
  • Imprint: Harper
  • On Sale: 08/15/2017
  • Pages: 144
  • List Price: 31.00 CAD
  • BISAC1: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Conservatism & Liberalism
  • BISAC2: HISTORY / United States / 21st Century
  • BISAC3: HISTORY / United States / 20th Century

The Once and Future Liberal by Mark Lilla

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