facebook pixel
New Ideal - Reason | Individualism | Capitalism

What Liberalism and Its Discontents Gets So Wrong

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Elan Journo and Nikos Sotirakopoulos discuss Liberalism and Its Discontents, a recent book by the well-known political scientist Francis Fukuyama. They analyze the book’s main claims and argumentation, and evaluate Fukuyama’s defense of liberalism.

Among the topics covered:

  • Fukuyama and his famous “end of history” thesis;
  • Recent attacks on liberalism as the context of Liberalism and Its Discontents;
  • Different meanings of the term “liberalism” in the U.S., Europe, and Fukuyama’s book;
  • How Fukuyama’s failure to argue from a principled philosophical framework renders his defense of liberalism unconvincing;
  • Ayn Rand’s argument that an ideal society is capitalist;
  • What’s wrong with Fukuyama’s claims that the core of liberalism is something he calls “individual autonomy,” and that this has been taken too far;
  • Why Fukuyama’s defense of liberalism is uninspiring and harmful;
  • How Fukuyama’s rejection of principles leads to thinking in terms of central planning;
  • How Fukuyama’s approach takes the mixed economy for granted;
  • Rand’s view that those who hold compromising stances lose when challenged by more idealistic opposition.

Mentioned in this podcast and relevant to the discussion are Ayn Rand’s essays “Conservatism: An Obituary” and “The Anatomy of Compromise” from her book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.

The podcast was recorded on October 13, 2022. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


If you value the ideas presented here, please become an ARI Member today.

Do you have a comment or question?

Share this article:

Ziemowit Gowin

Ziemowit Gowin, PhD candidate in philosophy, is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and web editor of New Ideal.

Updates from New Ideal

Book Image  

Listen to New Ideal Live!

New Ideal Live is the podcast that explores pressing cultural issues from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, which upholds the ideals of reason, individualism, and capitalism.

Subscribe here.

Ayn Rand University App

Explore unique philosophical content that challenges conventional views — in courses you can take on the go.

Available on Google Play and
the App Store.

Welcome to New Ideal!

If you like what you’re reading, be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter! You’ll also receive a FREE copy of our book, Illuminating Ayn Rand.