Discover more from Persuasion
Have You Read the Identity Trap? Then Start Here.
An introduction to Persuasion.
If you’ve found Persuasion after reading The Identity Trap or listening to a book talk or podcast: first, welcome!
For the great experiment of diverse liberal democracies to succeed, its proponents need to defend their vision against threats from illiberalism across the political spectrum:
Against the populist and authoritarian right, liberal democrats must defend the principles and institutions that hold demagogues and would-be autocrats in check, rejecting an ethnonationalism that seeks to destroy the very possibility of diverse societies.
At the same time, liberals must reject a cynical reading of history that sees the many failures of liberal democracies as proof that the promise of liberal democracy itself is hollow, or that we will inevitably be divided along the lines of immutable identity characteristics.
For decades, liberalism has offered answers to these challenges. At precisely the moment that liberalism is most needed, however, it seems to be suffering a crisis of confidence and ideas. Its defenders have gotten complacent about explaining why it offers a compelling positive vision.
As a result, many of us who grew up with a devotion to the vision of equality that liberalism offers now feel somewhat disoriented, committed to the defense of its core principles but without institutions to call home.
I founded Persuasion to be a home for revitalizing philosophical liberalism. Our ethos is simple: to be a place for people open to changing their minds, not their values.
In part, we’re a digital magazine. In our pages and podcasts, we’re responding forcefully to authoritarian extremes on the right and to a simplistic understanding of identity on the left. But we’re also committed to offering a viable alternative, sketching the contours of what a positive vision of liberalism for the 21st century can offer.
In addition to the publication, Persuasion is a nascent community—nearly 50,000 strong—of committed philosophical liberals from a range of backgrounds, and from across the world. At our in-person global meetups, weekly virtual happy hours and biweekly virtual conversation clubs, we’re working to build an esprit de corps that emboldens each of us to stand up for liberal values in our own communities.
If this sounds like something you’d value, please join us! You can sign up for free below to receive an article three times a week and our flagship podcast, The Good Fight, on Saturdays.
As a nonprofit, we’re committed to keeping all of our articles and podcasts free to everyone. If you’re able to support us financially by becoming a paid member, you’ll receive all our content and also invitations to members-only live meetups like our upcoming happy hours in London, New York, and Washington, DC. Most importantly, though, you’ll be an integral part of allowing us to continue to keep Persuasion available to all.
P.S. To learn more about the vision for the community, you can read our manifesto, “The Purpose of Persuasion,” here.