In This Review

Postliberal Politics: The Coming Era  of Renewal
Postliberal Politics: The Coming Era of Renewal
By Adrian Pabst
Polity, 2021, 160 pp

Liberalism is dead. Long live liberalism. That is the implicit message of this passionate call for a “new politics” in the liberal democratic world. Pabst, a leading thinker of the culturally conservative British “Blue Labour” movement, offers a searing indictment of pandemic-era liberal capitalist societies that are home to soaring wealth inequality, social misery, polarization, and the breakdown of civic culture. He argues that neither liberalism, nor populism, nor authoritarianism can adequately grapple with the deterioration of modern industrial societies. The only viable way forward, he claims, is the invention of a postliberal politics that combines democracy with a new spirit of localism and shared community. The book offers glimmers of what a “postliberal space” might entail, providing ideas on how to build new coalitions to “reweave” liberal society. Fundamentally, Pabst wants to retrieve national and community-level control of the economy and society from the dynamics of globalization and the neoliberal organization of the world economy. He seeks a rebalancing of liberal society in which its excessive emphasis on individualism and impersonal market forces are replaced with a more communitarian politics that focuses on repairing civic and cultural ties and renewing traditions of toleration and respect.