The Political Challenge to Liberalism

There has been increasing criticism of liberalism, challenging this ideology. Any phenomenon that denies the universal equality of people can serve as a source of disputes about the liberal order. Alternative political views also hamper its principles: environmentalism, populism, neo-conservatism, and similar approaches. Postmodernism and extremism, which question the foundations of liberalism, attract particular attention. Extremism is a devotion to views and actions, which go beyond the moral and social norms adopted in society – they may defend ideas ranging from religious to environmental. Their activities challenge the established liberal order, principles, and views.

Postmodernism criticizes the liberal idea that people can improve society using humanism, knowledge, and science. Moreover, postmodernists are sure that the mind and logic are not universal, that is, all knowledge is relative. As a result of such conclusions, postmodernism challenges liberalism by asking – if there is no universal truth, what can be applied to all societies and cultures, and how can all people obey the dominant principles of liberalism? If there is no objective and shared understanding, values, and standards, liberalism does not work. However, liberal principles such as peaceful cooperation and respect can be applied to negotiations and the alignment of the standards. Moreover, society is developing, and for this reason, ideals and liberalism itself can change. Criticism from other views encourages representatives of liberalism to remain open and be able to change and adapt.

Other, more practical aspects also challenge liberalism and its principles. For example, the question remains how well, through existing instruments, Governments reflect the will of their citizens. The elections may not be adequate – few people will come, or voters take an irresponsible decision, as in a donkey vote. Other challenges are posed by lobbyists who try to attract attention to a specific problem, which can be treated as hi-jacking opinions. At the same time, Governments sometimes have to make unpopular decisions for the common good, contrary to free expression of will. Thus, liberalism has its gaps and shortcomings but continues to develop tools to solve them.

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