The President and Rector cordially invites you to the
OPEN SOCIETIES AT HOME AND ABROAD
DATE / Thursday / May 29, 2017
TIME / 5:30 p.m. / reception to follow
PLACE / Nador utca 15. / Auditorium A
SPEAKER / Stephen M. Walt, Professor of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
ABSTRACT / When the Cold War ended, many politicians and pundits assumed liberal democracy was the only viable political formula and that it would eventually supplant all other alternatives. The great ideological struggles of the past were behind us, we were told, and mankind had reached the “end of history.” Yet authoritarianism turned out to be surprisingly resilient and the liberal order is now being challenged by populists, nationalists, and other illiberal elements.
The crisis of liberalism is puzzling, because it remains a compelling political philosophy. Liberalism posits that all humans have basic rights, that leaders should not have unchecked power, and that societies work better when the rule of law is impartial, ideas can flow freely, commerce is unhindered, and tolerance is encouraged. Over the past two centuries, liberal societies have on average done a far better job of providing for their citizens than their authoritarian rivals, and no country has ever improved itself by restricting thought and expression or by erecting barriers to the outside world.
Yet the liberal order is in crisis today because its leaders assumed these virtues would be easy to spread to other countries and that this effort would not generate a significant backlash. They also oversold the benefits of economic globalization, underestimated the enduring power of nationalism, and did not hold themselves accountable when their policies miscarried. If the liberal order is to survive, deepen, and expand, liberal states must learn to resist the urge to impose their model on others and focus instead on setting an example that other societies will want to emulate.
Please register for the event by May 26 using the form at the following link:
This event is part of the President's Seminar series, an element of the Re-thinking Open Society project.