UAV Harvard University Archives. When the Harvard University political theorist Judith Shklar died in at age 63, she was better known than she had ever been but still did not occupy center stage of U. Hayek — who were similarly shaped by exile from European totalitarianism, she neither inspired a large school of followers nor did she comment regularly on current events. Her intellectual style—a skepticism that occasionally bordered on pessimism — did not find much traction in the post-Cold War years of booming prosperity, deepening international trade, and a rising confidence that a liberal, humanitarian West would improve the world, by force if necessary. Although Shklar has since earned a quiet renown as an influential teacher of teachers, a growing community is beginning to recognize that she is overdue for renewed consideration as a thinker.
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She graduated from McGill University , receiving bachelor of art and master of art degrees in and , respectively. She received her PhD degree from Harvard University in During her career, Shklar served in various academic and professional capacities. She became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in In , she received a MacArthur Fellowship for her work.
Also in , she was appointed the first female president of the APSA. Contributors include her celebrated former students Amy Gutmann , Patrick T.
Throuhgout her life, Judith Shklar was known as "Dita. Based on these core ideas, Shklar advocated for constitutional democracy ,  which she saw as flawed but still the best form of government possible. Shklar was deeply interested in injustice and political evils, claiming that "philosophy fails to give injustice its due"; that is, most past philosophers have ignored injustice and talked only about justice , likewise ignoring vice and talking only about virtue.
Several of her essays, including the "classic"  "The Liberalism of Fear," have been collected in two posthumous volumes edited by Stanley Hoffmann and published by the University of Chicago Press : Redeeming American Political Thought and Political Thought and Political Thinkers September 18,
JUDITH SHKLAR THE LIBERALISM OF FEAR PDF
Who was she and what did she have to say that is so important? Shklar is most often cited as a critic of mainstream liberal thought. During the Cold War in particular, liberalism served as an ideological weapon against the totalitarian threat of the former Soviet Union and its satellite states. But Shklar was concerned about the stifling dimensions of this kind of Western intellectual defence mechanism: it served merely to protect the status quo, and was very often a mere fig leaf for the accumulation of material wealth and for other, more problematic aspects of Western culture. It was also silent about the fact that fascism had developed in countries that had been identified as pillars of Western civilisation. Judith Shklar pictured in the Harvard Yearbook. She understood, better than most, the fragility of liberal societies, and she wanted to preserve the liberties they made possible.
Analysis and Review of The Liberalism of Fear
Using this idea, Shklar contrasts how the liberalism of fear relates to other forms of liberalism: Liberalism of natural rights Locke : an attempt to fulfill a preordained normative order Liberalism of personal development Mill : the idea that freedom is necessary for personal and social progress. In contrast to these varieties of liberalism, the liberalism of fear puts cruelty first. It seeks to create a sort of political order which prevents the worst abuses of government. This entails the thought that limited government and the control of unequally divided political power constitute the minimal condition without which freedom in unimaginable. The fear of cruelty, though is a sort of core intuition that drives the liberal; it is not itself an argument.
Judith N. Shklar
Such a definition is straightforward enough, and it is one with which I would agree. I would also agree with the way in which Shklar expands the definition by examining it more profoundly, and t he consequences of cruelty she identifies, both those that are tangible and obvious, as well as those that are psychological and philosophical. Although Shklar passed away in , the reader cannot help but think of the prescience and relevance of her philosophical conceptualization of cruelty in the context of current events, especially the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Recall, for instance, that in the wake of the revelation of the prison abuse at Abu Ghraib that observers and commentators shook their heads and tried to explain the episode as the result of the inability of a handful of stressed out soldiers to sublimate their aggression or their sexual tensions.
The theorist of belonging
Dazshura Photograph of Judith Shklar, March Meet the American philosopher who showed that Western politics could only move forward by first taking a step backward. But Hayek was enough an intellectual neighbor to Shklar to provide an especially useful and important point of contrast for her own views. Epstein —79 Warren Miller —80 Charles E. The Liberalism of Fear and the Counterrevolutionary Project. Thomas Nys — — Polish Journal of Philosophy 1 2: She was a renowned teacher and advisor, and many of her former students contributed to a volume of essays on her thought, Liberalism Without Illusions, edited by Bernard Yack. Without building a system or offering a blueprint for utopia, but also without retreating into anti-political disdain for the fallen world, she offered a theory rich with real political wisdom. Using this idea, Shklar contrasts how the liberalism of fear relates to other forms of liberalism:.