Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Retreat of Western Liberalism (Edward Luce)

Edward Luce’s The Retreat of Western Liberalism is a short but very comprehensive take on the current state of affairs in Europe and the United States.  Luce touches on the economic, social, and political causes of the rise of nationalism and its battle with an increasingly interconnected world, staking the argument that classical liberal values such as freedom and liberty are at risk.

This is a book that can be read cover to cover in a few hours -- a dedicated afternoon or at most two should be able to knock it out -- but it is one that is definitely worth reading if you are interested in the root causes of the current world situation and can afford to leave your ideological herd for a spell. Luce casts blame at all sides and at a number of events over the past decades to show the slippery slope and how that descent has steepened.

The author spends ninety percent of the book arguing the causes and ten percent touching on solutions, a bit of a disappointment given how strong the first three parts of the book were. Luce admitted that he was not in the predictions game regarding our future.  However, the book’s closing felt incomplete without some additional red meat content that he felt would address the issues that plague America beyond mere mentioning of a few basic talking points.  Despite this, The Retreat of Western Liberalism is worth reading and will provide moments that make everyone in the room think (and perhaps even get annoyed) as their worldview is challenged.