Bryan Garsten: “The Liberalism of Refuge”

Bryan Garsten
April 25, 2024

Professor of Political Science and Humanities Bryan Garsten has a new article in the Journal of Democracy entitled “The Liberalism of Refuge”, part of the symposium Redefining Liberalism.


Frustrated by persisting inequality, oppression, and corruption in liberal societies, and disillusioned with liberalism’s failures, many are stepping away. Yet liberal societies are still admirable because they offer refuge from the very people they empower. They require rulers to accept limitations on their power and provide escape hatches from the worst parts of political life. Offers of refuge may be found in opposition political parties, independent institutions, reasonably autonomous local communities, powerful civil society organizations, and the market economy. There is a nobility in offering refuge, in the safety and opportunity it presents for building something new.