In 1962 Daniel Bell published what proved to be, albeit briefly, an influential book, The End of Ideology,1 in which he suggested that the emergence of a consensus since 1945 around certain social values had rendered traditional ideological debate otiose. This was because, he claimed, in western democracies, there were no more ideological battles to be fought and intellectual effort was expected to be invested in the consolidation of an existing agreed compromise rather than the construction of new Weltanschauungen. This view coincided nicely, albeit accidentally, with the conventional view of analytical philosophy that the inherent subjectivism of all ethical and political judgements made it impossible to found a political theory on any philosophical principles: the lack of any metaphysical persuasiveness for social and political doctrines was compensated for by a tacit agreement amongst intellectuals on the desirability of one political doctrine. In America this is known as ‘liberalism’ and in Britain and Europe, ‘social democracy’.
KeywordsPolitical Theory Social Philosophy Free Society Logical Positivist Classical Liberalism
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