Liberalism, Conservatism, and Americanism [Abstract]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 3 (1989)

Lipset sets out to demonstrate the distinct differences between American and European notions of liberalism and conservatism. Tocqueville's coined term "American exceptionalism" reaffirms that social, political, and religious systems took a unique form in the United States. American liberals and conservatives alike have sought to extend the "good society" based on the Protestant ethic worldwide, though, ironically, both see their domestic opponents as advocates of immoral policies. The author concludes with an assessment of the current global movement toward classical liberalism: "We are all liberals-even the socialists and communists, "he asserts. As economic liberalism is not a panacea for the world's problems, Lipset predicts a return to the state-centric world in the not-so-near future.

 

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