The Many Lives of Liberalism

While the collapse of communism did not bring history to an end, it did, briefly, seem to establish a worldwide consensus of sorts. Had one particular social and political system, by dint of hard experience, proven superior to all its rivals? Apparently yes. That system was what could be called the liberal ideal, constructed around representative democracy, human rights, and free-market capitalism complemented by a strong social safety net. That consensus seemed to hold even after the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia and the September 11 attacks. Now, however, it is fracturing.
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