Exclusive media partner: The New York Times

Newsletter

Receive regular updates about forthcoming events and other news from Intelligence Squared

Thanks

You have been added to our mailing list and will now be among the first to hear about events.

Tuesday March 22 2022, 7pm GMT

Is Liberalism Obsolete? With Francis Fukuyama and John Gray

Politics &
Economics

Following the fall of communism in 1989, American political scientist Francis Fukuyama shot to fame with his thesis about the ‘end of history’ – the idea that the entire world was set on a path towards universal liberalism. 

But 30 years on, liberalism is in retreat. This doctrine, which first emerged in the 17th century, stresses the importance of equality, individual rights, the rule of law and an independent judiciary. Now liberalism is under attack from both the Right and the Left. And on March 22 2022 Fukuyama comes to Intelligence Squared to talk about the themes of his new book Liberalism and Its Discontents and to dissect what has gone wrong. 

To many people on the Right, liberalism’s emphasis on personal autonomy is seen as a threat to their deeply held beliefs about the value of traditional religion and culture. Such doubts have bolstered the rise of authoritarian leaders such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who have all clamped down on political opposition, independent media outlets and the judicial systems in their respective countries. Meanwhile, in the eyes of the progressive Left, liberal societies have failed to live up to their own ideals of equal treatment of all groups. This has led to attacks on the basic tenets of liberalism, such as universal human equality, free speech, scientific rationalism, and the primacy of the individual over the group. And this in turn has led to a battle over the so-called cancelling of people whose views deviate from the progressive orthodoxy, with dissenters being ousted from positions of influence by those who wield cultural power. 

Professor Fukuyama will be joined in conversation by John Gray, the British political philosopher, who rejects the idea of universal liberal values and human progress. Can liberalism be reformed in a way that will inspire a new generation, as Fukuyama believes, or is it an outdated system incapable of reforming itself? Join us, hear the arguments and decide for yourself. 

Event Name

Is Liberalism Obsolete? With Francis Fukuyama and John Gray



Speakers
  • Francis Fukuyama

    Political scientist at Stanford University, whose forthcoming book is Liberalism and Its Discontents

  • John Gray

    One of the UK’s best known and most popular philosophers

Chair
  • Helen Lewis

    Journalist, author and broadcaster


Location
  • Conway Hall
  • 25 Red Lion Square
  • London
  • WC1R 4RL
Time
  • Tuesday 22 March 2022
  • 7pm to 8pm GMT



Speakers

Speakers

Francis Fukuyama

Political scientist at Stanford University, whose forthcoming book is Liberalism and Its Discontents


Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Director of the Institute’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. His book, The End of History and the Last Man, was published in 1992 and has appeared in over twenty foreign editions. His more recent books include Political Order and Political Decay; The Origins of Political Order; Identity; The Great Disruption; Our Posthuman Future and State Building. His next book Liberalism and Its Discontents will be published in March 2022.

John Gray

One of the UK’s best known and most popular philosophers


One of the UK’s best known and most popular philosophers. Between 1998 and 2007 he was Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, and since 2008 he has been Emeritus Professor there. He has published over twenty books, including Gray’s Anatomy: Selected Writings; The Silence of Animals: Thoughts on Progress and Other Modern Myths, and Seven Types of Atheism. He writes and reviews for The New Statesman, The New York Review of Books, TLS and other journals. His latest book is the bestselling Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life, described by The Observer as ‘The intellectual cat's pyjamas ... Gray's is the perfect book for the estranging oddness of the pandemic.’
Chair

Helen Lewis

Journalist, author and broadcaster


Staff writer on The Atlantic and former associate editor of the New Statesman. She presents The Spark on BBC Radio 4, in which she interviews radical thinkers on their solutions to the structural problems of our age.  Her first book is Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights.