Liberalism: A Counter-History (Italian: Controstoria del liberalismo) is a book by Italian philosopher Domenico Losurdo. In the book, he examines the inner. Domenico Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter‐History (translated by Gregory Elliott ), London: Verso, ISBN‐ 1 4 (cloth). Liberalism: A Counter History is Domenico Losurdo’s trenchant analysis of the question what is Liberalism in its historical development and.

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Liberalism: A Counter-History by Domenico Losurdo

He carefully traces the connections between the still-applauded liberal canon and the worst horrors of the twentieth-century, demonstrating that Nazism was not a barbarous break with liberalism so much as a culmination of its logic.

Many British and French politicians and thinkers believed similar things about other colours or creeds, including those of the lower class.

Anyone who’s read these thinkers extensively won’t be surprised by the larger argument, but Losurdo has done the reader a favor in the great deal of work spent cataloging and contextualizing a vast number of examples where liberal thinkers sought to protect democracy from those populations they thought couldn’t be trusted with it.

In the counter-hitory, he examines the inner contradictions of the highly influential liberal political tradition.

Liberalism: A Counter-History – Wikipedia

The book took me about a year to get through mostly reading it in very brief spurts while commuting, admittedly, but even so but I’m glad I did. The Health of Nations Issue On the contrary, liberalism has always been a battleground — a shifting terrain of struggle on which a war between masters and servants, exploiters and exploited has been fought out.

The core argument in relation to the logic of exclusion that Losurdo believes really defines this tradition is an unusual and interesting one. And [this book] is no exception, for the outstanding knowledge of modern and contemporary political thought, the rigorous philology and the pursuit of sources that have been forgotten or expunged.

Not only did these societies build on a legacy of slavery and expand the circuits of the slave trade, but they radicalized and formalized its premises in white supremacy. Would highly recommend to anyone who still has faith in the “principles” that continue to dominate western ligeralism An exhaustive study of the really obvious, though clearly domenicoo obvious enough to a lot of people.


It is here that class relations come into play. This isn’t meant as a “poor slaveowners! It barely deserves four stars, so this might as well be a three-star review. Domenico Losurdo was an Italian Marxist philosopher and historian. Moreover, he excoriated the double standards that led liberals to compare Communist and Nazi violence, as if Western colonialism could somehow be set apart.

We are not dealing with two hermetically sealed revolutionary processes here — an entirely liberal one and an entirely radical one with no relation between the two even though one happened to occur immediately after the other and involved many of the same participants. By Taking Power Issue England devised such a range of property crimes for which the penalty was death, including the crime of poaching if a non landowner took a wild bird or beast for food, that it shocked the rest dmoenico Europe.

Liberalism, for Losurdo, was never a doctrine of moral universalism. As Anthony Arblaster has pointed out, the history of liberalism has, in the main, been written by liberals and, consequently, liberalism tends to get a rather better press than it would probably otherwise enjoy see Arblaster, This is quite a narrow intellectual history of liberalism, and at times the reliance on the great philosophers and, I should add, some rather out-of-date historians can begin to grate – there is little effort to interrogate the wider reception of these ideas by recourse to the writing of ‘ordinary’ liberals and their critics from below.

It wasn’t all freedom and liberty, Liberalism often justified the most brutal and despicable trade.

In the Seven Years War, American colonists were completely in accord with their English allies as they defended the cause of liberty against the French crown. The translation into English is functional though not the most domrnico. I would definitely recommend this book to those interested in political history, or those looking for a deeper understanding of Liberalism and its uses, especially relating to slavery.

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What were the historical conditions of their emergence? But let’s not omit the bad: Domenico Losurdo was indeed a highly political writer.

Notify me of new comments via email. Shows how quite a few liberals at the time hated the French Revolution for going too far in empowering too many people, instead of following the example of England and restricting power to a liberalusm few.

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He accuses Mises of approving of fascism whereas he ultimately bitterly condemned it ; and of Smith of being in favour of losurdoo legislation whereas in fact he comenico always pro-free-association of workers while he lampooned business cartels. Liberalism was arguably born when the Netherlands gained freedom from Philip II of Spain and its wealthy commercial class took political control.

A Unique Twin Birth Domenico Losurdo looks at the foundational link between liberalism and Atlantic slavery, and liberal philosophers’ shifting positions on slavery in the period between Somersett v Stewart and the American Civil War. We can see now, how racism and class contempt operated as necessary ideological supports for this system of exclusion.

An absolutely critical text for understanding the historical context of contemporary liberalism. However extraordinary, however immoral this idea might seem at first sight, I have reflected on it at length, and can find no other way in a great nation, especially in countries that are liberlism hot or very cold, to reconcile the directors of works with the simple instruments of labour.