On liberal modernity as history’s odd exception (from page 37):

 

.... Wearing the mantle of liberalism, atomists now reign on all continents and gain converts by the day.  Just as inevitably as modern technology speeds up contact among cultures, so is “globalization” thought to bring liberalism as its natural baggage.  People in today’s comfortable strata find it hard to imagine that anything global could be nonliberal, or that anything nonliberal could be more than a parochial residue....  Atomism has not always put its stamp on public life or enthralled such a multitude.  In a time when short memories comfort their bearers, it is worth stressing that history did not have to turn out this way.  How did an ethos limited for most of history to marginal groups—absolutist bureaucrats, uprooted salvation-seekers, court eunuchs, and the like—gain ground?  How did it manage, against all that had long kept it in check, to imprint itself on humanity’s takeoff to modernity and global unity?....

 

 

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