During the Cold War, the world's liberal democracies, like the USA, were widely perceived as the bastion of freedom, especially to those behind the Iron Curtain. But the past three decades have caused many to revise their views. With the rise of totalitarian thinking and practice in the West in those years, the question must be asked: what happened?

Professor of Philosophy and conservative politician Ryszard Legutko pondered these questions in the 1990s and 2000s, culminating in his 2012 book The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies (published in English in 2016), and his latest book, The Cunning of Freedom: Saving the Self in an Age of False Idols (2021). Legutko argues that at its root, liberalism as ideology shares many of the same features as communism. Despite their differences, both share essentially the same views of history, the future, politics, ideology, and religion. These tendencies cause ideology to seep into every aspect of daily life ("the personal is political") - in liberalism, to a degree even the communists weren't able to achieve, despite their best efforts. These trends have only gotten worse in the years since the book's release.

Today on MindMatters we talk to Professor Legutko about his books, life under communism, editing samizdat, the recent controversy with his university's "office of safety and equality," and the time he got sued for calling some students "spoiled brats."

Running Time: 01:46:55

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