This Website uses cookies. By using this website you are agreeing to our use of cookies and to the terms and conditions listed in our data protection policy. Read more

Working Paper No. 1389

Moral Consensus and Antiestablishment Politics

Working Paper
Wennström, Johan (2021). “Moral Consensus and Antiestablishment Politics”. IFN Working Paper No. 1389. Stockholm: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN).

Johan Wennström

This essay argues that mainstream Left and Right parties’ convergence around the liberal moral foundations of care, fairness, and liberty most likely explains the popular discontent with establishment politicians and the ascendancy of insurgent political parties and movements in both Europe and the United States. It uses the moral consensus of two Swedish establishment parties, the Social Democratic Party and the right-wing Moderate Party, as its primary example. The convergence of those parties can be seen, for instance, in their approach to both education and immigration. The essay suggests that in order to win back wide public support, liberal Left and Right parties must become open to moral pluralism and acknowledge the legitimacy of conservative moral intuitions. Such pluralism would, in fact, be consistent with the traditions of liberalism.