The West’s current upheaval is captured in two books by British journalists hailing from publications known for promoting free peoples and free markets. In “The Fate of the West,” by former Economist editor Bill Emmott, and “The Retreat of Western Liberalism,” by Financial Times columnist Edward Luce, the challenges to the West are outlined in detail — and they mainly come from within, Carlos Lozada writes for The Washington Post:
The West is a concept, not a location: the United States, Germany and Japan, for instance, can all be Western in crucial ways — cultures, currencies and cardinal points be damned. The West, as Emmott writes, is “the world’s most successful political idea,” one combining openness to new opportunities and a constant striving for equal voice, rights and treatment. The two may conflict at times, but both are essential. “Without openness, the West cannot thrive; but without equality, the West cannot last,” Emmott writes.
After World War II, the West succeeded in tempering Europe’s self-destructive impulses, and after the Cold War, it seemed that the Western ideal of liberal democracy and open markets had defeated all comers, Lozada adds:
Yet it was “remarkably arrogant to believe the rest of the world would passively adopt our script,” Luce reflects. “Belief in an authoritarian version of national destiny is staging a powerful comeback.”… For Luce, the combination of rising income inequality, vanishing economic mobility and distant technocracy has led to our moment’s populist resurgence…. “Western liberal democracy . . . is facing its gravest challenge since the Second World War,” he argues. “America’s best liberal traditions are under assault” …threaten[ing] Western values. RTWT