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The 13 Best Quotes from Why Liberalism Failed

why liberalism failed coverI recently finished reading Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen. The book came highly recommended by several for understanding our current times. I found it provocative, timely, and necessary for people all on sides of the political and economic spectrum.

Despite what you might assume from the title, this is not a pro-conservatism or pro-Republican party book. It looks at liberalism as an ideology, which both political spectrums embrace to a point.

Deneen’s assessment, though critical, is quite accurate in regards to many aspects of life in liberal societies. His points regarding the environment and economy were especially strong, as the bill from living outside our means continues to get passed to each successive generation. Eventually, it all falls apart.

His short, but helpful encouragements of how we overcome this failure are focused on the importance of locality, place, and community bonds. I believe the local church is set up to uniquely meet this need.

And if you’re wondering, posting this on the same day as the mid-term elections of 2018 is 100% purposeful.

Here’s my list of the best 13 quotes from the book (in no particular order):

“How many of us can sit for an hour reading a book or simple thinking or meditating without an addict’s longing for just a hit of the cell phone, that craving that won’t allow us to think or concentrate or reflect until we’ve had our hit? The same technology that is supposed to connect us more extensively and intimately is making us more lonely, more apart” (15).

“The Greeks especially regarded self-government as a continuity from the individual to the polity, with the realization of either only possible if the virtues of temperance, wisdom, moderation, and justice were to be mutually sustained and fostered” (22).

“Among the greatest challenges facing humanity is the ability to survive progress” (29).

“Individualism and statism advance together, always mutually supportive, and always at the expense of lived and vital relations that stand in contrast to both the starkness of the autonomous individual and the abstraction of our membership in the state” (46).

“For liberal theory, while the individual ‘creates’ the state through the social contract, in a practical sense, the liberal state ‘creates’ the individual by providing the conditions for the expansion of liberty, increasingly defined as the capacity of humans to expand their mastery over circumstance” (49).

“Preserved in discrete human inheritances—arts, literature, music, architecture, history, law, religion—culture expands the human experience of time, making both the past and the future present to creatures who otherwise experience only the present moment” (77).

“Properly conceived, community is the appropriate setting for flourishing human life—flourishing that requires culture, discipline, constraint, and forms” (79).

“Liberation from the confinements and limitations of local market cultures brings not perfect liberty but the expansion of Leviathan. The destruction of culture achieves not liberation but powerlessness and bondage” (87).

“We need to understand that ever-expanding individual liberty is actually the creation of a sprawling and intricate set of technologies that, while liberating the individual from the limitations of both nature and obligation, leave us feeling increasingly powerless, voiceless, alone—and unfree” (108).

“We have endless choices of the kind of car to drive but few options over whether we will spend large parts of our lives in soul-deadening boredom within them” (186).

“Elections provide the appearance of self-governance but mainly function to satiate any residual civic impulse before we return to our lives as employees and consumers” (195).

“Perhaps there is another way, starting with efforts of people of goodwill to form distinctive countercultural communities in ways distinct from the deracinated and depersonalized form of life that liberalism seems above all to foster” (197).

“What we need today are practices fostered in local settings, focused on the creation of new and viable cultures, economics grounded in virtuosity within households, and the creation of a civic polis life. Not better theory, but better practices” (197).

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Called Out Episode 016: Hannah Anderson

How do you determine what’s good? In our day of fake news and biased media and endless marketing ploys, deciding what to buy into is getting more difficult all the time. On this episode of Called Out, hear from Hannah Anderson as she walks us through how we can know whether something is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8).

We often think of discernment in the negative (knowing what to avoid), but Paul in Philippians 4 encourages us to focus on good things. Learning how to develop our lives around good things is vital to our growth as Christ-followers, and those around us.

Listen to the full episode below:

You can also find this episode anywhere you listen to podcasts, including:

Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Google Podcasts || Overcast

Links from the episode:

—Hannah Anderson’s newest book All That’s Good just released a few weeks ago.

—Also, check out Hannah’s previous books Made For More and Humble Roots.

—If you’re interested in reading Hannah’s Twitter threads, follow her here.

—The debut album from New Harvest Worship is available everywhere, including Spotify and iTunes/Apple Music.

New episodes for Called Out will be back in the new year. In the meantime, please rate/review us on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. Thanks for supporting this show.

Called Out is a podcast focused on areas of misunderstanding and brokenness in both society and the church. With a variety of guests, each episode tries to paint a picture of how Christians can navigate these areas differently to help you be a source of healing and light despite the darkness you see around you.

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Called Out Episode 015: Kyle Strobel on Jonathan Edwards

We cannot avoid the mistakes of the past without learning from those who have gone before us. Listen to Kyle Strobel share about why he’s devoted much of his life to studying the work of Jonathan Edwards, and what we can learn from him.

Though Edwards is most known from his mid-1700s sermon titled “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God,” his library of work has had a lasting influence, even greatly shaping the evangelical community of Christians today. Edwards’ understanding of who God is and how the Christian can be shaped to reflect more of Jesus, are vital for us to know about today.

Listen to the full episode below:

Links from the episode:

Called Out is a podcast focused on areas of misunderstanding and brokenness in both society and the church. With a variety of guests, each episode tries to paint a picture of how Christians can navigate these areas differently to help you be a source of healing and light despite the darkness you see around you.

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Called Out Episode 014: #Fail

You know you fear failure if your motivation to avoid failure exceeds your motivation for success. This is the crippling reality many face today because past failure has led them to believe they are failures entirely, and the grip of shame from failure never relents.

Though failure is a reality in life for everyone, few are equipped with handling it and knowing how to move forward. If that sounds like you, this episode was made with you in mind.

On this episode, you’ll hear from musician Scott Ryan, who I grew up with, and J.R. Briggs who runs Kairos Partnerships. They not only have their own stories of failure to share, but you’ll get to hear about how they learned to embrace their past failure as a catalyst into life today.

One of the aspirations I had for my podcast was to take on larger subjects with a variety of voices to help provide clarity on tough subjects. Following my episodes on mental health and #metoo, here’s my latest on failure, which is aptly titled #Fail.

Listen to the full episode below:


You can also find this episode anywhere you listen to podcasts, including:

Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Google Podcasts || Overcast

Links from the episode:

- Scotty’s solo music under the artist name Scott Ryan.
– Scotty’s music with the Spokane-based band Super Sparkle (they’re awesome).
– Check out the great work of Songs for Kids.
– J.R. Briggs leads Kairos Partnerships, an organization helping equip leaders.
J.R.’s book Fail (such a helpful book).
– The debut album from New Harvest Worship is available everywhere, including Spotify and
iTunes/Apple Music.

Called Out is a podcast focused on areas of misunderstanding and brokenness in both society and the church. With a variety of guests, each episode tries to paint a picture of how Christians can navigate these areas differently to help you be a source of healing and light despite the darkness you see around you.

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Called Out Episode 013: Andi Andrew

called out episodes (2)

Following Jesus can often feel so overwhelmingly sacrificial that we end up playing the part without joining the mission. Listen to Andi Andrew share about the moment when she realized she had done a good job faking a life of following Jesus, and how her life has changed since then.

Andi is a mother, a writer, and along with her husband Paul, helped plant Liberty Church in New York City. What we often call post-Christian society is right outside her door, and her insights into what following Jesus can look like today are so helpful.

Listen to the full episode below (click here to listen email readers).


You can also find this episode anywhere you listen to podcasts, including:

Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Google Podcasts || Overcast

Links mentioned in the episode:

—Andi’s new book Fake or Follower just released last week.

—Andi and her husband Paul help lead Liberty Church in New York City.

—You can find Andi on Instagram.

—The debut album from New Harvest Worship is available everywhere, including Spotify and iTunes/Apple Music.

Called Out is a podcast focused on areas of misunderstanding and brokenness in both society and the church. With a variety of guests, each episode paints a picture of how Christians can navigate these areas differently so they can be a source of healing and light in the face of darkness.

The end of the episode featured the song What Wondrous Love is This. Here’s the lyric video we created for that song:

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Called Out Episode 012: JP Pokluda

called out jp pokluda

Does the freedom of self-expression really lead to our flourishing? Listen to JP Pokluda share about the downside of freedom, what he’s learned from leading a ministry to 20 and 30-somethings, and what encourages him about the future of the church.

Called Out is a podcast focused on areas of misunderstanding and brokenness in both society and the church. With a variety of guests, each episode tries to paint a picture of how Christians can navigate these areas differently to help you be a source of healing and light despite the darkness you see around you.

Listen to the full episode below (click here to listen email readers):

You can also find this episode anywhere you listen to podcasts, including:

Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Stitcher || Overcast

Links from this episode:

- JP Pokluda’s new book Welcome to the Adulting: https://amzn.to/2In2V1E
– You can find JP on Twitter and Instagram.
– At the end of the episode is a preview track off an album being released this week by the worship team at New Harvest Church in Salem, Oregon. All the info for streaming or buying that is right here.

Called Out is hosted by Tyler Braun. You can find Tyler on Twitter and Instagram.

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