The Limits of Liberalism

Issue Date April 2024
Volume 35
Issue 2
Page Numbers 157–162
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Bryan Garsten’s essay suggests that liberal polities should be understood as offering “refuge” from overweening public power. While there are sound arguments to support this approach, it downplays the affirmative exercise of public power in the liberal state and leads to policy proposals — such as a more generous stance toward refugees — that may not make sense when taking into account both the right of political communities to put the needs of their members first and the considerations that have led to rising doubts throughout Western democracies about accepting large numbers of refugees at this time.

About the Author

William A. Galston is the Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and College Park Professor at the University of Maryland. His many books include, most recently, Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy (2018).

View all work by William A. Galston