Is it time to let go of Cold War-era liberalism? This is the argument that Professor Samuel Moyn makes in his new book, Liberalism Against Itself: Cold War Intellectuals and the Making of Our Times. Moyn, a professor at Yale University and Non-Resident Fellow at the Quincy Institute, looks at the staying power of the version of liberalism that was constructed in the Cold War era. The book details Moyn’s view that this type of liberalism is devoid of a compelling positive vision and has actually impeded liberalism’s progress by giving fuel to the forces that are prone to restrict and dilute it. This most recent work builds upon his book from 2021, Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War, in which he documented how efforts in opposition to American wars have increasingly focused not on ending them, but on making them less brutal – but in doing so potentially has made them more endless.
To discuss the foreign policy implications of his new book’s thesis, as well as to reflect on how Humane’s core thesis has held up amidst the war in Ukraine, Moyn was joined by Elizabeth Beavers, Vice President for Public Affairs at the Quincy Institute. Their conversation was moderated by Anatol Lieven, QI’s Eurasia Program Director.
Download the full webinar transcript here.