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The brutish origins of British liberalism

The brutish origins of British liberalism

Nick Spencer reviews James Simpson’s ‘Permanent Revolution: The Reformation and the Illiberal Roots of Liberalism’ for The Spectator. 14/02/2019

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“If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the one to heaven may be surfaced with bad ones.

Good things often come from bad intentions. That is the argument of James Simpson, a medieval historian who has turned his attention to the Reformation and the question of how it was that the proto–liberalism we associate with the Glorious Revolution of 1688 — (relative) liberty, rights, equality, accountability, toleration, constitutionalism — could possibly have come from the less than glorious revolution inaugurated by Martin Luther in 1517, with its intolerance, sectarianism, political absolutism, biblical ‘fundamentalism’ and decades of grotesque violence.”

Read The Spectator review in full here.

 

Nick Spencer

Nick Spencer

Nick is Senior Fellow at Theos. He is the author of a number of books and reports, most recently The Political Samaritan: how power hijacked a parable (Bloomsbury, 2017), The Evolution of the West (SPCK, 2016) and Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014). Outside of Theos, Nick is Visiting Research Fellow at the Faiths and Civil Society Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London and a Fellow of the International Society for Science and Religion

Posted 14 February 2019

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