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The Two Faces of Liberalism
Following in the footsteps of the widely praised False Dawn, John Gray's new book offers a thoughtful and provocative analysis of the failure of traditional liberalism to keep up with the complex political realities of today's increasingly divided world. John Gray, hailed as "one of Britain's leading public intellectuals" by the Wall S... more », argues that in its beginning, liberalism contained two contradictory philosophies of tolerance. In one, it put forward the enlightenment project of a universal civilization. In the other, it framed terms for peaceful coexistence between warring communities and between different ways of life. Developed at a time when society was dominated by a single way of life, each of these liberal ideals of toleration has many historic achievements to its credit. But how relevant is traditional liberalism in a world where Kosovo represents the collapse of the spirit of cohabitation?In a spirited attack on today's liberal orthodoxies, Gray argues that establishing a modus vivendi among the different cultures and regimes of our time should be at the heart of contemporary liberalism. In this major contribution to political theory, Gray proposes a new framework for a liberal thought that addresses these burning issues.