From Basel to Brooklyn: Liberal Cultural Pessimism in Burckhardt, Röpke, and the American Neoconservatives

  • Alan S. KahanEmail author
Part of the The European Heritage in Economics and the Social Sciences book series (EHES, volume 20)


Kahan argues that cultural pessimism has always been a characteristic of some strands of liberal thought and that therefore Wilhelm Röpke’s cultural pessimism does not mean that he was a conservative. Liberal cultural pessimism can be found in both anti-modernist and modernist forms. Jacob Burckhardt and Röpke share an anti-modernist liberal cultural pessimism, whereas the American neoconservative Irving Kristol is an example of a modernist liberal cultural pessimism. Even though many liberals have been optimists, optimism has never been a requirement for liberalism.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English StudiesUniversity of Versailles/St. QuentinVersaillesFrance
  2. 2.Institut Universitaire de FranceParisFrance

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