World Affairs Council of Hilton Head

Fall Forum 2018

The Fall Forum is free and open to all World Affairs Council Hilton Head members, but advance registration is required. Registration deadline is September 28th. Three groups will participate this fall; registration for each group is limited to 30 people.

  • Group 1: TUESDAYS, 10:00 am to noon (Register for Group 1)
    Palmetto Electric Cooperative Community Room,111 Mathews Drive, Hilton Head Island
Dates: October 2,  23, November 13, December 4

  • Group 2: WEDNESDAYS, 10:00 am to noon (Register for Group 2)
    Tide Pointe, 700 Tide Point Way, Hilton Head Island Dates: October 3, 24, November 14, December 5

  • Group 3: THURSDAYS, 10:00 am to noon (Register for Group 3)
    Unitarian Universalist Church, 110 Malphurs Rd., Bluffton Dates: October 4, 25, November 15, December 6

Book - The Retreat of Western Liberalism

The Retreat of Western Liberalism 

The World Affairs Council of Hilton Head’s 2018 Fall Forum is built around the ideas presented in The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce, an English journalist and the Financial Times chief US commentator and columnist based in Washington, D.C.

 Mr. Luce makes a larger statement about the weakening of western hegemony and the crisis of liberal democracy ― of which Donald Trump and his European counterparts are not the cause, but a terrifying symptom. Luce argues that we are on a menacing trajectory brought about by ignorance of what it took to build the West, arrogance towards society's economic losers, and complacency about our system's durability ― attitudes that have been emerging since the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

We cannot move forward without a clear diagnosis of what has gone wrong. Unless the West can rekindle an economy that produces gains for the majority of its people, its political liberties may be doomed. The West's faith in history teaches us to take democracy for granted. Reality tells us something troublingly different.

Combining on-the-ground reporting with the intelligent synthesis of the literature and economic analysis, Luce offers a detailed projection of the consequences of the Trump administration, the rise of European populism, and a forward-thinking analysis of what those who believe in enlightenment values must do to defend them from the multiple onslaughts they face in the coming years.

Although the book’s themes are the focus for discussion, the sessions will not be a book report. Each participant is expected to read the book. Our local Barnes and Noble  has the book, and it is available on Amazon. The Fall Forum consists of four facilitated discussion sessions, each concentrating on specific chapters. The breakdown of the discussions is as follows:

  • Session 1: Fusion, explains the integration of the global economy and the radical impact that it is having on Western economies. The emergence of China is the most dramatic event in economic history. The downward pressure on the incomes of the West’s middle classes ii the coming years will be relentless.

  • Session 2: Reaction, explains the resulting degeneration of Western politics. The politics of interest group management turn into a zero-sum battle. The past also tells to beware of the West at times of stark and growing inequality.

  • Session 3: Fallout, explores the implications of declining US and western hegemony. Thought the US remains the most potent military power on the earth, and the most technically innovative, Americans are losing faith in their system.

  • Session 4: Half Life, asks what is to be done. It was part of the end of history narrative to believe that we had shed age old human prejudices. Unless and until reeling Western establishments understand what is hitting them, they have little chance of saving liberalism from itself.

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