As a professor, author, editor, and lecturer, Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, has addressed a wide variety of topics in political theory and moral philosophy: political obligation, just and unjust war, nationalism and ethnicity, economic justice and the welfare state. His books (among themJust and Unjust Wars, Spheres of Justice, The Company of Critics, Thick and Thin: Moral Argument at Home and Abroad, and On Toleration) and essays have played a part in the revival of practical, issue-focused ethics and in the development of a pluralist approach to political and moral life. For more than three decades Walzer served as co-editor of Dissent, now in its 61st year. His articles and interviews frequently appear in the world’s foremost newspapers and journals. He is currently working on the third volume of The Jewish Political Tradition, a comprehensive collaborative project focused on the history of Jewish political thought. A new book, The Paradox of Liberation: Secular Revolutions and Religious Counterrevolutions was published in March of 2015.
His lecture is an expansion of his book, The Paradox of Liberation. In the years after World War Two, in India, Israel, and Algeria, secular, leftish national liberation movements succeeded in winning independence and establishing a state. Then, 25-30 years later, these states were challenged by religious zealots. Three very different countries, three very different religions: what happened to national liberation?