Empathetic Liberalism Against Deadly Seriousness
Why are liberals in crisis?
PUBLISHED17. FEBRUARY 2023
READING TIME2 MIN
Why are liberals in crisis? Because they have reduced the great idea of liberalism to a technocratic market liberalism, the great liberal thought leader Timothy Garton Ash wrote in an essay two years ago. What is needed now is an empathetic liberalism.
In this respect, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann’s carnival speech at the Aachen carnival this week may have turned the tide. At least what the FDP politician said was not technocratic (and for once had nothing to do with tanks), but quite emotional – at least when it comes to Friedrich Merz and his partially liberal, outdated ideas about women and men and good or bad first names.
While that in itself is not yet a new liberalism that could contribute to solving the world’s problems, it was definitely more emphatic than the Federal Finance Minister’s call for, say, dismantling the cold progression, building a growth package, super depreciations – or the statement that the state’s debts are not his, but ours. Still has emphatic potential. The only thing missing in terms of content are more really good ideas to solve our problems. They don’t come from tanks.
Whether we can still grow economically at all is, as is well known, controversial. In any case, the doubts about this seem to be popular. Otherwise, the book by journalist Ulrike Herrmann (with the unambitious title “The End of Capitalism”) would not have been at the top of the bestseller lists for weeks, in which she puts forward the thesis that the economy must shrink because we cannot generate enough renewable energy to produce as much as we do today. Whether this is the case is equally controversial. Reason enough for us to discuss this question – in our next New Economy Short Cut on February 24: with the author as well as Peter Bofinger and Christian Stöcker. Registration here.