There’s no such thing as an ‘illiberal’

There’s no such thing as an ‘illiberal’
Image: Krasimira Nevenova/Shutterstock

[Ed. – On the other hand, ill liberal is such a thing. In fact it is a condition that is widespread on the Left.]

The American and British media have been inundated lately with denunciations of “illiberalism.” That word was once used to describe a private shortcoming such as a person who was narrow-minded or ungenerous. But in the wake of Donald Trump’s election and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, “illiberalism” is being treated as a key political concept. In the writings of Fareed Zakaria, David Brooks, James Kirchick, the Economist and the Atlantic, among others, it is now assumed that the line dividing “liberal” from “illiberal” is the most important in politics.

Who are these “illiberals” everyone is talking about? Respected analysts have ascribed illiberalism to the Nazis and the Soviets; to Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un ; to Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Abdel Fattah Al Sisi ; to the Shiite regime in Iran and the military regime in Myanmar; to the democratic governments of India, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic; to Donald Trump, Theresa May and Brexit; to the nationalist parties in Scotland and Catalonia; to Marine Le Pen, Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn and the lefty activists demanding political correctness on campus; to Venezuela, Pakistan, Kenya and Thailand.

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