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Emily Chamlee-Wright

In an essay in Discourse magazine, IHS President Emily Chamlee-Wright urges us to “name and reassert the liberal sensibility.” “[W]e have good reason to worry that illiberalism is on the rise, globally and here at home,” Chamlee-Wright writes. “Countries once thought on a clear path toward stable liberal democracy—Poland and Hungary, for example—have taken a right turn toward blood and soil nationalism. China, which was once trending toward greater economic liberty and freedom of expression, has now moved toward iron-fisted authoritarianism.”

In the U.S., she writes, “[s]cholars and public intellectuals on both the left and the right have declared liberalism a failed project. Critics on the nationalist right reject liberalism’s openness to the world and its embrace of cultural change, calling instead for economic nationalism and tightened borders. Critics on the progressive left reject liberalism’s openness to the free exchange of ideas.”

Why is the liberal project in jeopardy?

Chamlee-Wright writes: “For all the ways in which liberalism makes life more productive and peaceful, three powerful forces push against it, forces that I roughly categorize as tribalism, scientism and forgetfulness.”

Read her full essay in Discourse.

For additional pieces by Dr. Chamlee-Wright and the Institute for Humane Studies at or visit the IHS blog.

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