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A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central EuropeVolume II: Negotiating Modernity in the 'Short Twentieth Century' and Beyond, Part I: 1918-1968$
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Balázs Trencsényi, Michal Kopeček, Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič, Maria Falina, Mónika Baár, and Maciej Janowski

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737155

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198737155.001.0001

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Liberalism on the Defensive

Liberalism on the Defensive

Chapter:
(p.67) 2 Liberalism on the Defensive
Source:
A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe
Author(s):

Balázs Trencsényi

Michal Kopeček

Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič

Maria Falina

Mónika Baár

Maciej Janowski

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198737155.003.0002

The apparent dominance of liberal-democratic ideas in the 1920s was replaced in the following decade by explicitly anti-liberal and anti-democratic political trends. Nevertheless, liberalism retained some of its intellectual potential: “national liberalism” continued the pre-1918 projects of national emancipation and modernization incorporating also the feminist agenda; “bourgeois liberalism” focused on the defense of the political, social, and economic position of the bourgeoisie; and “economic liberalism” centered on the issue of free markets, while criticizing state involvement. Cultural modernism emerged as an influential intellectual current, and in the 1930s the subculture of “progressivist modernism” also represented liberal values, even though it was ill-disposed toward economic liberalism. The period also saw the reconfiguration of feminism. Lastly, East Central European critiques of totalitarianism developed under the pressure of the proximity of Soviet Russia, fascist Italy, and Nazi Germany. They singled out the dark aspects of the “total state,” dehumanization, and the cult of violence, often in a comparative way.

Keywords:   liberalism, free markets, totalitarianism, anti-totalitarianism, modernism, progressivism, feminism

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