Liberalism & Democracy Past, Present, Prospects

February 7, 2019 – February 8, 2019 all-day
John L. Tishman Auditorium, New School
63 5th Ave u100
New York, NY 10003

Liberal democratic values seem embattled as never before in the United States, and around the world. The time is right for a serious and wide-ranging exploration of the prospects for liberal democracies in a context that acknowledges the historical and contemporary tensions between democracy and liberal values, both in theory and in practice. This conference convenes a varied group of scholars, journalists, policy expert and veteran public servants, we hope to stage a real meeting of the minds, not the usual partisan sniping that occurs at most academic events – and we are trying to be as inclusive as possible, by inviting thoughtful representatives from the left, right, and center.

Though liberalism and democracy have become intertwined in some contemporary societies, they have evolved along quite distinct paths historically. Democracy is an ancient idea, liberalism a very modern one. Greek democracy was not liberal, nor was the revolutionary democracy championed by the sans-culottes in the French Revolution. To this day, there are many avowedly democratic movements and regimes, both on the left and the right, that explicitly reject liberal values. Moreover, even in liberal democratic societies, there are important tensions between the two traditions.

In this conference, we will examine the prospects for liberal democracies against the backdrop of the historical and contemporary tensions between democracy and liberalism.

Featured speakers and participants

James Miller

Helen Rosenblatt

Robert Boyers

Paul Cartledge

EJ Dionne Jr

Bill Galston

Dipayan Ghosh

Jeffrey Issac

James Kloppenberg

Bill Kristol

Yuval Levin

Marc Plattner

Aziz Rana

Rogers Smith

Michael Tomasky

T Chatterton Williams

Ben Fountain

Fedricho Finchelstein

Jennifer Roberts

Paul Krugman

Teresa Ghilarducci

T. Alexander Aleinikoff

Jessica Pissano

Deva Woodly

Natasha Lennard

Astra Taylor

Ira Katrznelson

Josh Begley

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