Liberalism in Crisis
On Friday, November 3 we convened at Roy Thomson Hall for our not-to-be-missed autumn 2023 debate.
Motion: Be it Resolved, liberalism gets the big questions right.
For the better part of three centuries, through wars, revolutions, and sweeping social change, liberalism has endured as the defining ideology of the West. Its championing of individual rights, free trade and capitalism, and liberal democracy has long been equated with the West’s economic development, social tolerance, personal freedoms, and the rule of law. But, more recently, powerful criticisms of liberalism have arisen on the right (populism) and left (socialism). Liberalism is increasingly blamed for everything from growing inequality, environmental degradation, political polarization, and cultural fragmentation. For its critics, liberalism has become an impediment to the goal of progress, and humanity urgently needs a new animating ideology.
Arguing for the motion is the controversial British M.P. and former cabinet minister, Jacob Rees-Mogg. He will be joined by the American writer and columnist who has shaped a generation’s thinking on the important issues of our time: George F. Will.
Opposing the motion is U.K. journalist, self-avowed communist and popular leftist thinker, Ash Sarkar. Her debating partner is the disruptive and thought-provoking American social conservative, Sohrab Ahmari, author of the bestseller Tyranny Inc.: How Private Power Crushed American Liberty.
“There is no prosperity without classical liberalism.”
– Jacob Rees-Mogg
“Classical liberalism was born in response to established churches and entrenched hierarchies. It defines itself in reaction against oppressive institutions.”
– George F. Will
“Liberalism’s fatal flaw is what purports to be its greatest strength: that property rights, and the right to accumulate, takes priority over all other human freedoms.”
– Ash Sarkar
“Liberalism has this tendency where it cannot tolerate places where liberalism does not reign. And so you have the sort of expansion of liberalism in the clashing of arms.”
– Sohrab Ahmari