Ram Madhav
May 4, 2020

The Lost History of Liberalism – From Ancient Rome to the twenty first century

Author - Helena Rosenblatt

This book is a very interesting expose’ of the Liberalist dogma right from its ancient Roman beginnings to today’s western identity. Largely focused on the happenings in Europe, this book highlights the long history of omissions and commissions in the name of liberalism in various countries.

Liberal word began as an abuse and epithet in ancient Rome when the Liberals were seen as anti-God and anti-monarchy. Liberalism was never coherently defined by anybody and as a result there were liberalisms and liberalisms.

Liberalism is credited with a notorious history wherein it was anti-everything almost. The author, a renowned scholar of Liberalist ideology, Helena Rosenblatt, traces that history with a remarkable scholarship. While the liberals over centuries stood for lofty ideals like human rights, individual freedom and less government, Rosenblatt also highlights that phase of liberalism when the liberals were siding with despots, attacking leaders like even Lincoln, and taking anti-women, sexist and pro-colonialist positions.

‘Liberalism has never been a fixed or unified creed’, observes the author, concluding ‘They overwhelmingly stress a commitment to individual rights and choices; they rarely mention duties, patriotism, self-sacrifice, or generosity to others. Liberals have conceded the high ground to their adversaries’.

A must read for many of us, the victims of crass liberalism in our country, to understand the hidden history of this dogma and differentiate between good liberal principles and bad dogmatic beliefs.

Published by Ram Madhav

Member, Board of Governors, India Foundation

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