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This powerful and interesting study challenges the traditional view that the ideas associated with the liberal political tradition cohere around an 'individualist' conception of the relation between individuals, society and the state, and argues that this conception has actually clouded our understanding of the issues involved.
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"Bird makes an important contribution to contemporary discourse on liberalism, not least because he adopts a unique, noncommunitarian critical perspective." Ethics
"...this trenchant and intelligent book will justly reward the reader." Perspectives on Political Science
This book challenges us to look at liberal political ideas in a fresh way. Colin Bird examines the assumption, held both by liberals and by their strongest critics, that the values and ideals of the liberal political tradition cohere around a distinctively 'individualist' conception of the relation between individuals, society and the state. He concludes that the formula of 'liberal individualism' conceals fundamental conflicts between liberal views of these relations, conflicts that neither liberals nor their critics have adequately recognized. His interesting and provocative study develops a powerful criticism of the libertarian forms of 'liberal individualism' which have risen to prominence, and suggests that by taking this term for granted, theorists have exaggerated the unity and integrity of liberal political ideals and limited our perception of the issues they raise.
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