Authoritarian nationalism is on the rise in Europe and elsewhere. Freedom is endangered in Eastern Europe. In the Middle East, militant Islam threatens peace, stability and liberty. The US has recently faced an existential crisis, with the rise of populism and the unprecedented polarisation of left and right. Brexit has endangered the integrity of the EU, which has hitherto operated as a defender of peace and freedom. At the same time, threats have arisen in the West to the traditional value of free speech.
Drawing widely on relevant literature, including political theory from Plato to Hannah Arendt, this book highlights the above and related issues. In practical terms it suggests some ways in which the tendency to undermine freedom might be countered, through a political re-assertion of the value of liberty.
Dr Paul O’Brien is an Associate Fellow of the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, where he taught in the Faculties of Fine Art and Visual Culture. He has published in areas including aesthetics, film theory, philosophy, post-colonialism, new media art, culture and ecology, as well as alternative economic theory. He is a former spokesperson and policy convener for the Irish Green Party.