A liberal is, by definition, one whose aim is the furtherance of ever greater political liberty, freedom of thought, and social justice. A number of those who thought of themselves as, and were thought of as, liberals became apologists for Stalinist or similar regimes whose most notable characteristics were extreme terror, narrow dogmatism, social oppression, and economic failure. That is, they were all that the liberal tradition opposed. How, and why, did a number of liberals explicitly, and a large swathe of liberaldom implicitly, overcome this objection? How did this apparent paradox come to pass? Why in the 1930s and later do we find a sort of general infection of the atmosphere in which much of the intelligentsia moved? Even apart from those who became more or less addicted to Communism, there was also a stratum that usually gave the Soviet Union and such regimes some moral advantage over the West.

First, of course, we...

 

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