Saving Liberalism, with Timothy Garton Ash

This week, we speak to Prof. Timothy Garton Ash about the state of Liberalism - its past failings, the threats it faces from Left and Right today, and whether it can be rebuilt for the 21st Century.

S2 E4: Saving Liberalism

“We need to borrow from both the Left and the Right to achieve a renewal of liberalism…”

As a journalist and political commentator, Timothy Garton Ash took a front row seat watching Eastern Europe open up in the 1990s - the heyday of Liberal expansionism around the world.

Today, faced with populist authoritarians and illiberal democrats at home, and the rise of China’s new model of modernity abroad, Liberalism is on the back foot - we’re experiencing an “anti-Liberal counter-revolution”.

Timothy argues liberalism is to blame for its troubles - over-exporting free-market ideas, and under investing in culture, community and politics in a world of massive, destabilising change. He argues for a “conservative-socialist-Liberalism” - a civic patriotism focused on the common good deeply embedded in national communities.

On the back of his recent manifesto for Liberalism’s renewal in Prospect Magazine, listen to Timothy and Turi discuss:

  • Whether Liberalism can survive in the 21st Century
  • Whether Joe Biden’s America can still hope to lead the “free world”
  • The demise of liberal ideas in the student body
  • Equality of Esteem alongside economic security
  • Levelling Up (Dahrendorf’s idea of the ‘Common Floor’) vs Levelling Down
  • Civic Virtue
  • Patriotism vs Nationalism

“The nation is just too important, and too strong in its emotional appeal, to be left to the nationalists”

Read the Full Transcript

Timothy Garton Ash

Timothy Garton Ash is the author of ten books of political writing or ‘history of the present’ which have charted the transformation of Europe over the last half century. He is Professor of European Studies in the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 10:55 UTC