The Long Tail of Legal Liberalism

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Title

Law & Liberty

Publication Date




Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed is a powerful reflection on the leading political philosophy of the last 300 years. In its brisk and crisply written 200 pages, the book covers a lot of territory: politics, individualism, statism, culture, technology, education, sexuality, and social class. Its core claim is that the features of liberalism that made it successful have also created the conditions of its manifold failures. Liberalism suffers from a kind of fatal design defect that, Deneen argues, renders it irredeemable.