The Public Interest

Class Conflict over Civil Liberties

Jeremy Rabkin

Fall 1984

THESE TWO BOOKS scrutinize the edifice reared by contemporary liberalism in the name of “civil liberties”—and find it quite intact. Neither volume ventures any serious analysis of the rather extreme constitutional doctrines they embrace. Each calls attention to some interesting ideological affinities and sociological correlations in the patterns of support for these doctrines, but neither set of authors is seriously interested in pursuing the implications of these patterns. Still, both books do inadvertently suggest several reasons why the civil libertarianism of the recent past may indeed prove very vulnerable to the changing mood of national politics.

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