The Paradox of Liberation

Secular Revolutions and Religious Counterrevolutions

Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Science, has authored The Paradox of Liberation: Secular Revolutions and Religious Counterrevolutions (Yale University Press), which asks the question "Why have secular democratic movements been unable to reproduce their political culture beyond one or two generations?"

Many of the successful campaigns for national liberation in the years following World War II were initially based on democratic and secular ideals. Once established, however, the newly independent nations had to deal with entirely unexpected religious fierceness. The Paradox of Liberation examines this perplexing trend by studying India, Israel, and Algeria, three nations whose founding principles and institutions have been sharply attacked by three completely different groups of religious revivalists: Hindu militants, ultra-Orthodox Jews and messianic Zionists, and Islamic radicals.