Episode 11

Patrick J. Deneen


February 22nd, 2018

25 mins 23 secs

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Special Guest

About this Episode

Patrick J. Deneen holds a B.A. in English literature and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Rutgers University. He worked at the US Information Agency as a speechwriter and special advisor, was an Assistant Professor of Government at Princeton and an Associate Professor at Georgetown, and joined the Political Science faculty of Notre Dame in 2012. He is the author and editor of several books including The Odyssey of Political Theory (2000, winner of the APSA's Best First Book Award), Redeeming Democracy in America (2011), and his most recent book, Why Liberalism Failed, a new release from Yale University Press. His teaching and writing interests focus on the history of political thought, American political thought, religion and politics, and literature and politics. In the Spring 2018 semester, Patrick is serving as the Interim Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture while Carter Snead is on his own writing sabbatical.

Episode Links

  • Why Liberalism Failed — Of the three dominant ideologies of the twentieth century—fascism, communism, and liberalism—only the last remains. This has created a peculiar situation in which liberalism’s proponents tend to forget that it is an ideology and not the natural end-state of human political evolution. As Patrick Deneen argues in this provocative book, liberalism is built on a foundation of contradictions: it trumpets equal rights while fostering incomparable material inequality; its legitimacy rests on consent, yet it discourages civic commitments in favor of privatism; and in its pursuit of individual autonomy, it has given rise to the most far-reaching, comprehensive state system in human history. Here, Deneen offers an astringent warning that the centripetal forces now at work on our political culture are not superficial flaws but inherent features of a system whose success is generating its own failure.
  • Patrick J. Deneen at Notre Dame — Patrick's faculty webpage at ND's Political Science department page.
  • Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture — The homepage of the CEC.
  • Theme Music: "I dunno" by Grapes — I dunno by grapes (c) copyright 2008 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: J Lang, Morusque