THE END OF LIBERALISM: Ideology, Policy and the Crisis of Public Authority by Theodore J. Lowi

THE END OF LIBERALISM: Ideology, Policy and the Crisis of Public Authority

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Lowi argues that political pluralism is flawed in principle and increasingly disastrous in practice. The prime cause of domestic and foreign policy failures is ""the liberal state"" itself. Interest-group ideology has fostered autarchic administration, inadequate planning, overextended logrolling. Effective government requires a restoration of formal channels and moral legitimacy. Lowi's recommendations range from the tenuous notion of ""juridical democracy"" to ghetto-suburb school bussing. His specific negations are more convincing, notably his view of why government agencies and programs have become ""loose, not flexible, static, not stable,"" and his polemic against welfare assumptions. The book is descended from late-'50's proclamations of the end of traditional liberal-conservative conflict. Rather than beating their short-lived ""end of ideology"" horse, Lowi challenges their brand of pragmatic liberalism. Unfortunately, he dismisses syndicalist ideas without analyzing the possibility that participatory and decentralist programs might reinforce his own ""radically reactionary"" elitism. Among the book's manifold conceptual deficiencies, this flaw diminishes its practical value as an address to what Lowi calls ""the influential."" Nonetheless, it is important both as a critique of ideology and an ideological expression.

Pub Date: June 26th, 1969
Publisher: Norton