Loading Events

This is an in-person event at King’s College London. Obtain your complimentary tickets here

About the workshop:

The crisis of liberal democracy and the question what we should do to save it would have been hardly conceivable three decades ago, when the Berlin Wall was falling, and we hailed the end of totalitarianism and the triumph of liberal democracy around the entire world. Alas, the mood is very different today: around the world liberal democracy is in crisis. The agents and causes of democratic decline are many. They range from antiliberal populist movements of the far-right which damage democracies internally through their dismissive attitude toward core civil and political rights, to radical movements on the far Left whose push for radical reforms and endorsement of the controversial cancel culture erode the belief in the legitimacy of key liberal norms and values such as free speech and equality under the law. Both sides thereby weaken the cause of liberal democracy around the world.

The paper that will be presented is based on a book manuscript in progress on liberal democracy that Prof. Craiutu is co-writing with Dan Cole and Michael McGinnis at Indiana University, and which explores the reasons for which liberalism is under attack and revisits the diversity and eclecticism of the liberal family, with emphasis on the relationship between liberalism and political moderation. He shows that the doom industry has a long history and discusses the conceptual fluidity of liberalism and its implications for students of liberalism. He argues that by acknowledging the polysemantic nature of liberalism we can better answer its critics. After examining a few tropes in the anti-liberal literature, the paper concludes with a few practical recommendations for defending liberal democracy by drawing on the ideas of Karl Popper and the Bloomington School created by Elinor and Vincent Ostrom.


Bush House South East Wing, Room 1.05, King’s College London. Map here.

About the Speaker:

Aurelian Craiutu is Professor of Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington. He has published and edited several books on French political thought, including Le Centre introuvable: la pensée politique des doctrinaires français sous la Restauration (Éditions Plon, 2006), Tocqueville on America after 1840 (Cambridge University Press, 2009; with Jeremy Jennings), A Virtue for Courageous Minds: Moderation in French Political Thought, 1748-1830 (Princeton, 2012), and Faces of Moderation: The Art of Balance in an Age of Extremes (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017). His forthcoming book, Why Not Moderation? Letters to Young Radicals will be published by Cambridge University Press in September 2023.