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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Oct-18 > Liberalism’s wake

Liberalism’s wake

To sustain a properly functioning society we need more than just social freedoms and the free market, argues Will Self
Is freedom strictly for the birds?
© MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Why Liberalism Failed

by Patrick J Deneen (Yale University Press, £14.99

Liberalism: The Life of an Idea

by Edmund Fawcett (Princeton University Press, £17.99)

The Lost History of Liberalism: from Ancient Rome to the Twenty-First Century

by Helena Rosenblatt (Princeton University Press, £27.95)

Not a day goes by without further frontline despatches from the war between our established liberal ideology and the strange new realities that body-forth from the future. Taking today—the one on which I sat down to write this article—as representative, I found in my morning bulletins a report about how the US Constitution’s vaunted separation of powers—personified by Special Counsel, Robert Mueller—was leading inexorably to the indictment, and hence removal, of “rogue” President Donald Trump. Then there was an item about the minister for women, whose public musings about the rise in the numbers of young people applying for gender-reassignment therapies were being taken as prima facie evidence that she doubted the authenticity of trans people’s claims to be gender dysphoric.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s October issue: Rafael Behr argues that politics has been poisoned by Twitter—the platform often drives the political news agenda, encourages people to descend deeper and deeper into echo chambers and sees MPs and their families regularly abused. Meanwhile, former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger explains how Oxford picks its students and says that more needs to be done for the colleges to be more inclusive. Also, Jasmin Mujanovic outlines how Bosnia’s elections this month could tip the country back into conflict. Elsewhere in the issue: Alex Dean highlights the alarming decline in the number of students studying a foreign language at GCSE and beyond. Will Self reviews a series of new books about liberalism, arguing that “we need more than just social freedoms and the free market.” Aimee Cliff charts the story of the dying dream that London would be a 24-hour city.