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Globalization's Challenge to Liberalism

Mar 3 2009 12:00 am

Globalization’s Challenge to Liberalism

Demos and the World Policy Institute invite you to a lunch discussion with author and WPI Distinguished Senior Fellow Alan Wolfe. David Callahan, International Program Director and Senior Fellow at Demos, will moderate.
 
In his new book, The Future of Liberalism (Knopf, Feb. 2009), Alan Wolfe mines the bedrock of the liberal tradition, explaining how Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, John Dewey, and other celebrated minds helped shape liberalism’s central philosophy. The liberal tradition influences and illuminates contemporary debates on immigration, trade, nationalism, terrorism, executive power, religious freedom, and free speech. But liberal approaches to these issues vary widely and have changed over the course of history. Wolfe also examines those who have challenged liberalism since its inception, from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to modern conservatives and religious fundamentalists. Drawing on both the inspiration and insights of seminal works such as John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government, Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments, Kant’s essay “What is Enlightenment?,” and Mill’s On Liberty and The Subjection of Women, Wolfe ambitiously sets out to define what it truly means to be a liberal in the context of globalization. He analyzes and applauds liberalism’s capacious conception of human nature, belief that people outweigh ideology, passion for social justice, faith in reason and intellectual openness, and respect for individualism. But Wolfe also makes it clear that before liberalism can be successfully applied to today’s problems, it needs to be recovered, understood, and embraced—not just by Americans but by all modern people—as the most beneficial way to live in our complex modern world.
 
When:
Tuesday, March 3
12 - 2pm
Lunch will be served beginning at noon.  The discussion will begin at 12:30.
 
Where:
Demos
220 Fifth Avenue (between 26th and 27th streets)
Fifth Floor Conference room
New York, New York
 
Cost and RSVP:
$15 for lunch.
$30 for lunch and a copy of The Future of Liberalism (list price $25.95). 
The fee may be discounted for academics and non-profit professionals.
 
Biography of Alan Wolfe
 
A Distinguished Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute, Alan Wolfe is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. His most recent books include Does American Democracy Still Work? (Yale University Press, 2006) Return to Greatness: How America Lost Its Sense of Purpose and What it Needs to Do to Recover It (Princeton University Press, 2005), The Transformation of American Religion: How We actually Live our Faith (Free Press, 2003), and An Intellectual in Public ( University of Michigan Press, 2003). He is the author or editor of more than ten other books including Marginalized in the Middle (1997), One Nation, After All(1998), Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice (2001) and School Choice: The Moral Debate (editor, 2002). Both One Nation, After All and Moral Freedom were selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year.
 
A contributing editor of The New Republic, The Wilson Quarterly, Commonwealth Magazine, and In Character, Professor Wolfe writes often for those publications as well as for Commonweal, The New York Times, Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, and other magazines and newspapers. He served as an advisor to President Clinton in preparation for his 1995 State of the Union address and has lectured widely at American and European universities.  
 
Professor Wolfe attended Temple University as an undergraduate and received his doctorate in political science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967. He has an honorary degree from Loyola College in Maryland and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. 
 
Moderator:
 
David Callahan is the author of seven books, including The Moral Center: How Progressives Can Unite America Around Our Shared Values, which examines some of our most polarized conflicts and presents unexpected solutions that lay out a new road map to the American center. His previous book, The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Do Well looks at ethics in America in an era of rising inequality, growing bottom-line pressures, and changing values. David's articles have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The American Prospect, among others. He is also a regular commentator for Marketplace and a frequent public speaker.
 
At Demos, which he co-founded in 1999, David is involved in developing several new projects, including the International Program, and also works in the Fellows Program. He has also written Demos reports on election reform, poverty, and economic opportunity.