The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics

Mark Lilla


The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics

The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics

  • Title: The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics
  • Author: Mark Lilla
  • ISBN: 9780062697431
  • Page: 478
  • Format: Hardcover

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From one of the country s most admired political thinkers, an urgent wake up call to American liberals to turn from the divisive politics of identity and develop a vision of our future that can persuade all citizens that they share a common destiny In The Once and Future Liberal, Mark Lilla offers an impassioned, tough minded, and stinging look at the failure of AmericanFrom one of the country s most admired political thinkers, an urgent wake up call to American liberals to turn from the divisive politics of identity and develop a vision of our future that can persuade all citizens that they share a common destiny.In The Once and Future Liberal, Mark Lilla offers an impassioned, tough minded, and stinging look at the failure of American liberalism over the past two generations Although there have been Democrats in the White House, and some notable policy achievements, for nearly 40 years the vision that Ronald Reagan offered small government, lower taxes, and self reliant individualism has remained the country s dominant political ideology And the Democratic Party has offered no convincing competing vision in response.Instead, as Lilla argues, American liberalism fell under the spell of identity politics, with disastrous consequences Driven originally by a sincere desire to protect the most vulnerable Americans, the left has now unwittingly balkanized the electorate, encouraged self absorption rather than solidarity, and invested its energies in social movements rather than in party politics With dire consequences Lilla goes on to show how the left s identity focused individualism insidiously conspired with the amoral economic individualism of the Reaganite right to shape an electorate with little sense of a shared future and near contempt for the idea of the common good In the contest for the American imagination, liberals have abdicated.Now they have an opportunity to reset The left is motivated, and the Republican Party, led by an unpredictable demagogue, is in ideological disarray To seize this opportunity, Lilla insists, liberals must concentrate their efforts on recapturing our institutions by winning elections The time for hectoring is over It is time to reach out and start persuading people from every walk of life and in every region of the country that liberals will stand up for them We must appeal to but also help to rebuild a sense of common feeling among Americans, and a sense of duty to each other.A fiercely argued, no nonsense book, enlivened by Lilla s acerbic wit and erudition, The Once and Future Liberal is essential reading for our momentous times.


Recent Comments "The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics"

A slim incendiary volume that expands upon Lilla's infamous November 2016 NYTimes op-ed, "The End of Identity Liberalism." It may be impossible to read this book neutrally -- and, as a liberal historian deeply disenchanted with the American Left, Lilla certainly writes with the all fervor of a Calvinist preacher trying to save the damned. And it is easy to critique Lilla's glibly summarized history of the past 80 years of American politics. Still, this book is a fascinating read with some critic [...]

THE ONCE AND FUTURE LIBERAL is a short polemic written for a politically liberal audience with the goal of reinvigorating the electoral prospects of the Democratic Party in the United States. ONCE AND FUTURE was written in response to Hillary Clinton's surprising loss last November. It is most decidedly not a book directed to a conservative audience. Yet, many of the reviews that one finds in GoodReads are from conservatives. Perhaps, even most of the reviews come from conservatives. This caused [...]

Mark Lilla has been a bad, bad boy. He has dared to point out the feet of clay upon which stand King Liberal, and he, like Cassandra, will not be thanked. Still, this short book is an excellent political analysis, and it points the way, if only loosely, to a wholly new order of things, thus starting to answer my perennial question, “What is next?”Lilla’s project is to rescue modern liberalism from the dead-end sewer of identity politics. His purpose in doing so is, in part, simple intellec [...]

My tepid rating has as much to do with my own weariness as with anything Lilla writes. At the most general level – and there's not much specific in this short book – I agree with Lilla's argument.What's extraordinary – and appalling – about the past four decades of our history is that our politics have been dominated by two ideologies that encourage and even celebrate the unmaking of citizens. On the right, an ideology that questions the existence of a common good and denies our obligati [...]

Wow! Between this and "Fragile by Design - The Political Origins of Banking Crises & Scarce Design," by Charles W. Calomiris and Stephen H. Haber, it is hard to offer any defense of the performance of Baby Boomer progressives.What Lilla misses, in evaluating the rise of Trump, is the unwillingness of Baby Boomers, across the political spectrum, to share. He does capture what John Rawls was getting at with his Concept of an Overlapping Consensus.Trump is the apotheosis of Baby Boomer rule. Ou [...]

Fact: There are currently 34 Republican state Governors.Fact: There are currently 32 states in which Republicans control both houses of Congress (there's also weird ol' Nebraska, which has only one house of Congress Republicans control that one, too, of course).Fact: There are Republican majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.Fact: There is a Republican president in office. He's fucking insaneFact: There is a definite rightward slant to the U.S. Supreme Court, and to the nati [...]

I imagine this book will be mocked by many. However, Lilla's call for our politics to think and feel through the lens of "citizenship" could be an amelioration for our discourse. Doubt enters when we ask from where will this mood originate.I am not sure Lilla's argument will win his party over. But everyone should at least consider his arguments. We all need to start living outside of our own heads. And despite how hard it can be, those who seek to be politically active must learn to play the ga [...]

He is a liberal who understands the "we" as a national entity for core necessity within successful political movements. Having incredible insight and also applications for this "we" surety in the American past, he STILL does not role model its core connotation. Regardless all liberals or progressives should read this book because it bottom line delineated how/ why you can't impress and convince what you hold in disdain.It's not any easy read despite the length.There are many quotes that are wort [...]

If Al Gore had not already taken the title, Mark Lilla could have easily called his book 'An Inconvenient Truth.' 'The Once and Future Liberal' is a damning indictment of modern liberalism's infatuation with identity politics and its compulsion to segment and hyphenate Americans.Lilla, himself a liberal and academic, shows how liberalism has veered so far off track and the far-reaching consequences this has had on American politics. The author lays out simple remedies for a return to relevance a [...]

An immensely important and challenging work.Mark Lilla expands upon the argument he first presented last November in his New York Times Op-Ed, "The End of Identity Liberalism." He argues that by focusing narcissistically upon identity politics (gay rights, BLM, women's rights, etc) to the exclusion of what binds us together as Americans, liberals created a vacuum which conservatives have deftly exploited by claiming they alone speak for the people. Lilla, whose earlier work "The Shipwrecked Mind [...]

The general message was well-worth hearing although some of the points regarding the Roosevelt/Reagan dispositions were difficult to understand. I still gave it a four as I felt the points the author was trying to make were well worth listening to. As an individual who identifies as 'liberal'(more or less in the classical sense) who leans center-left, it's been a disappointing experience to see those on the left 'double-down' on identity politics. Engagement of diverse viewpoints has automatical [...]

A bracing repudiation by a centrist liberal of the identity politics that have engulfed the political left. Mark Lilla argues that activist liberalism's obsession with identity (women, black, LGBTQ, etc) has handicapped and hindered the Democrats' ability to offer a broad-range vision of the common good for Americans. Lilla uses religious vocabulary, speaking of the "Roosevelt Dispensation" that stretched from the 1930s-1960s and that focused on New Deal initiatives that bound Americans together [...]

This short, cogent, and at times provocative examination of several issues in leftist identity politics is the sort of thing that should have been circulated decades ago. Being more of an Independent I can't totally understand how much of this discussion could be surprising or revolutionary for someone of a leftist disposition but if it effects some much needed change is how their discourse and campaigns are run then I'm all for it. I don't want my review to seem longer than the work itself (jus [...]

I really care about America's political future and have been more cautious at some knee-jerk protesting and #resistance in the face of a Trump presidency. Lilla's book offers wonderful context and historical analysis for the current state of the GOP and DNC that, as a young twenty something, I did not completely realize (although there are probably better books out there for that purpose). As a proud gay man, I feel the importance of identity politics but also worry about forces that differentia [...]

Lilla is right about the problem--the left does not have a coherent ideology to appeal to a broad swath of people. Moreover, the progressive/labor voice has been dormant and needs to be reactivated. But he's wrong in his analysis of causation. The problem was not caused by university professors and students. It started well before that-the powell memo changed university structures. The left has been in defensive mode since the late 60s. Identity politics is pretty new and I don't think he makes [...]

This is the worst response to the post-Trump crisis of the Democratic Party I have seen so far. The core issue with Lilla’s book is that he has a muddled and inconsistent understanding of relationship between individualism and Liberalism. This, for an author who is an intellectual historian and is a self-proclaimed Liberal, is extremely embarrassing.Lilla critiques at length the individualism of Reagan’s politics, claiming that it destroyed the concept of ‘citizenship’, which entailed bo [...]

Book review of The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, by Mark Lilla (2017)Certainly a work of polemics, the book is a "manifesto for the (re-)discovery of a manifesto". Mark Lilla makes an argument about a need to ceaselessly niggle and annoy the so-called New Left (which has been around for perhaps 50 years or the span of three generations) to return to a kind of "Roosevelt dispensation" and leave behind the "Reagan dispensation" (obviously in an American context, in the time of [...]

One can easily get on board with Lilla’s idea that Americans should support each other’s basic rights — whether for the “positive” reason of our shared American identity or for the “negative” reason that our more specific identities should not matter — but, as I see it, there is no reason why this vision should be limited to the Democratic Party. The Republican Party also needs to embrace it and get real about what it implies for the policies they endorse and the rhetoric they us [...]

Lilla argues that the Democratic Party went down a blind alley after Ronald Reagan's victory in 1980. American liberals enjoyed about 40 years of success following a political vision articulated by Franklin Roosevelt. The idea of America presented by FDR and his successors, such as Kennedy and Johnson, was one of all American citizens working together to overcome adversity. This vision perfectly suited the Great Depression and World War II, and complemented the Civil Rights Movement. That vision [...]

This book is great and mercifully short. Basically, Lilla argues that identity politics is "Reaganism for lefties" because it encourages atomization and instils a disregard for traditional politics. That is, identity politics fractures the left-wing solidarity that's needed to win elections. And, as Lilla states, only by winning elections can progressives hope to maintain the gains of the past 50 years while striving for new ones. Lilla is a man who despises Donald Trump (he explicitly says that [...]

Lilla's thesis is that rather than developing a "fresh political vision of the country's shared destinyberals threw themselves into the movement politics ofracial, gender and sexual identitylosing a sense of what we share as citizens and what binds us as a nation." The "increasingly narrow and exclusionary self-definitionturns young people back onto themselves, rather thanoutward toward the wider world." Add to this the thought police and political correctness and we have "a new, and very reveal [...]

A very good, tiny book that is really just a long essay. It does a good job at describing the loss of a sense of civic duty and collective interest that took place on the right under Reagan, and does a good job at describing how identity politics on the left is making coordinated political action quite difficult and puts the left at a significant disadvantage against the right. The right is extremely guilty of identity politics, but it's only one identity, while the left has a diversity.The book [...]

Lilla’s goal in writing the book is a revival of civic imagination and liberal politics. Insofar as he urges the importance of citizenship and a focus on the common good over personal identity he does just fine. Unfortunately his lack of historical or statistical evidence makes the work unconvincing. Lilla’s goal is not to address the mind but the sentiments, but who says he could not have appealed to both? This, coupled with his usual Achilles’ heel of thinking that historicizing an idea [...]

Extended essay on political motivation in the current climate. Makes a pragmatic case about where the Democratic Party is failing (specifically, not developing a cohesive positive politics, only a reactionary resistance). Describes the last few decades / political movements as having led liberals to relying on the wrong set of tools --- over reliance on the courts over legislative victories, prioritizing the presidency over local and congressional elections, and using identity politics to be mor [...]

The first 2/3 of this book are an absolutely brilliant explanation/summary of the democratic party since FDR. Lilla is on point with his thesis that democrats haven't had a cohesive message for America since Reagan and that they need to lay down "identity politics" to attract more voters under the democratic tent. He highlights the disturbing social trend of self-obsession and the "me" culture. As a conservative I will give him credit that the push for individual responsibility seen with Reagan [...]

I read this book looking for more qualification and articulation of an earlier NYT article Lilla presented. He makes bland assumptions about the ways university education works, presumably based on his experiences as a Humanities professor at Columbia, where the Humanities do not suffer the same crises they suffer in poor universities where many of the disaffected and marginalized folks, especially in terms of class and income, go to school. His political genealogies are thinly drawn and weak, a [...]

An hour into this on audio (or well into the first chapter), I'm finding this a merely polemical work, full of commonplaces as accessible on Facebook as here. Documentation and demonstration of the kinds of assertions about the state of liberalism are really required for this argument to have any force, in my opinion. I compare this to a book like Audacity by Jonathan Chait, which struck me as very well sourced as well as polemically argued, and this book falls far short -- especially when consi [...]

Identity politics? Interesting term but right points. The fragmentation of society to independent Identities looking not for each other or a greater cause but about "Me", has its own drawbacks. Liberals, Marxists dressed as postmodernists could lead as well again to Tyranny, so conservatives might have something to say and we should listen.

I don’t disagree with a lot of what he's saying, but I do feel preached at (even though he argues that Americans don’t like being preached at) and condescended to, while also feeling that I’m not really quite the audience for this somehow. It’s like I’m being scolded for something I didn’t do. Ultimately I guess I can say I agree with some of this and don’t like the tone of nearly all of it.

An inspiring cri de cœur from a true liberal and, dare I say it, a true American—a call to unite, not divide; a call for liberals like Lilla to find a vision that will unite Americans into a body politic rather than divide them into competing identities. I believe I may just read this one again right away.In Lilla's book I find some hope that people far across the political aisle from me may again conclude that we will have to find a way to live together in the same country.


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    Published :2018-09-04T19:17:01+00:00