Why Liberalism Failed: Ramsay Centre Deputy CEO in conversation with political scientist and author Patrick Deneen

May 4, 2021 | Announcements, News & Media

Sydney, Tuesday 04 May 2021: The Ramsay Centre is proud to announce our second Ramsay Lecture for 2021: distinguished political scientist and author of Why Liberalism Failed, Professor Patrick Deneen, in conversation with Ramsay Centre Deputy CEO Dr Stephen McInerney.

Patrick Deneen is Professor of Political Science and David A. Potenziani College Chair of Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to joining the faculty of Notre Dame in 2012, he taught at Princeton University (1997-2005) and Georgetown University (2005-2012).  From 1995-1997 he served as Speechwriter and Special Assistant to the Director of the U.S. Information Agency.

He is author of several books, including Why Liberalism Failed, published by Yale University Press in 2018. The book has been widely discussed and debated, earning a recommendation by former President Barack Obama, who wrote that “the book offers cogent insights into the loss of meaning and community that many in the West feel, issues that liberal democracies ignore at their own peril.” 

In a wide-ranging discussion Professor Deneen and Dr McInerney examine liberalism, from its Greek, Roman and biblical roots, to its modern form. They explore Deneen’s thesis that while liberalism promised to free people from the limitations imposed on their self-determination, that liberation has come at a cost, with individualism replacing gratitude towards our past, our sense of obligation to future generations, and trust in liberal democracies.

They examine the role of technology alongside liberalism in the dissolution of traditional institutions such as the family, churches, and labour unions, and how this dismantling of social structures has disproportionately affected the poor. And they talk about how the election of former US President Donald Trump unveiled a deep distrust of the liberal establishment and an appetite for a new form of political order.

Finally, they ponder the question, if liberalism has failed, what will come next? And what elements of liberalism are worth saving?

Professor Deneen received a B.A. in English literature from Rutgers University in 1986, and his Ph.D. in political science from Rutgers University in 1995. His dissertation was awarded the American Political Science Association’s Leo Strauss Award for Best Dissertation in Political Theory in 1995.

The Ramsay Centre was created with an endowment from the late Paul Ramsay AO, founder of Ramsay Health Care, to promote a deeper understanding of Western civilisation. The Ramsay Lecture series hosts speakers from all walks of life who have important and interesting perspectives relating to the world and our western heritage.

Due to COVID-19, this Ramsay Lecture event is recorded. It will be available via our website ramsaycentre.org as both a video and podcast from Thursday 06 May.

Media contact: Sarah Switzer 0407 816 098/ sarah.switzer@ramsaycentre.org

For more information on the centre please visit our website: www.ramsaycentre.org