On Wednesday the 14th March 2018, De Balie held a debate on the rise of illiberalism in the Western world.
Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, liberalism was, seemingly, the only game in town. This is no longer the case. From Washington to Warsaw and London to Rome, liberals are losing votes to anti-liberal insurgents. How could the apparently pragmatic British opt for Brexit? Why does the illiberal rhetoric of Donald Trump, Beppe Grillo, Jarosław Kaczyński and, in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders and Thierry Baudet attract so much attention? And why are centre-right and centre-left politicians increasingly tempted to give in to populist temptations?
Jan Zielonka, Professor of European Politics at the University of Oxford and Author of the recently released Counter-Revolution: Liberal Europe in Retreat will debate this topic with the veteran Dutch liberal politician, Frits Bolkestein, and the intellectual historian, Matthijs Lok. The debate will be moderated by Luiza Bialasiewicz, Professor of European Governance at the University of Amsterdam.
Is liberalism truly in retreat and what can be done to reverse the trend?
Jan Zielonka teaches European politics and society at the University of Oxford. His main research interests lie in the fields of European integration and disintegration, political geography, comparative politics and democracy, political ideologies (especially liberalism) and media and communications. His latest book is called Counter-Revolution: Liberal Europe in Retreat.
Frits Bolkestein is a retired Dutch politician, formerly of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). From 1990 until 1998, he was the chairman of the VVD’s Parliamentary Group and, from 1999-2004, he was a member of the European Commission.
Matthijs Lok is an assistant professor of modern European history in the Department of European Studies at the University of Amsterdam. His research focuses on intellectual and political history, and the histories of conservatism and anti-liberalism in particular.
Luiza Bialasiewicz is a professor of European governance and the Jean Monnet chair of EU external relations in the Department of European Studies at the University of Amsterdam.
A full recording of this debate can be found at the top of the page. To keep informed of upcoming media content for all TTT debates, you can follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook, where we regularly publish updates about the availability of new material.
You can also access existing TTT media and subscribe to our channels by clicking on the following links:
Furthermore, you can stay informed about all De Balie recordings by subscribing to their Vimeo channel, which you can reach by clicking here.