On Liberalism

Le Monde editor Sylvie Kauffmann has opined in a New York Times op-ed that Donald Trump, Poland's Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and Hungary's Viktor Orbán together comprise "an illiberal axis." In doing so, she identifies "Western liberal values" of the progressive Merkel/ Macron variety—"human solidarity, openness toward those looking for a better future, diversity as an asset"—as liberalism itself. She is taking a great liberty here, liberty being the first principle of true liberal doctrine, which sacralizes the freedom of the individual above any other consideration. There is indeed a political "schism" in the West today, as Kauffmann notes, but it is a schism within liberalism. That's what makes it so vicious.