After 20 years of 'neoliberalism' we are now being treated to 'hyper-liberalism'. (Not to be confused with Black Lives Matter, since many hyper-liberals are white.)

According to the Urban Dictionary a hyper-liberal is a liberal extremist. Iain Martin calls it a new secular religion (how many of those have we had?), although in some ways it merely continues the protest movements of the 1960s and some of its supporters are better counted as anarchists or socialists than as liberals of any kind.

But when John Gray ('The Problem of Hyper-liberalism' TLS, 30 March 2018) highlights what he calls the 'frenzy' over colonialism and contrasts it with past progressives - including in some ways Marx - he accidentally draws attention to the deeper element common to identity politics progressives and the populists or conservatives they dislike most. In contrast to most 19th century intellectuals, they do NOT believe history and culture is headed in a rational and emancipatory direction. On the contrary, the very phrase 'safe spaces' shouts 'Protect me!'. Statues need to come down because the future might well be worse. Hyper-liberals long for security as much as any populists anxious about immigration and communal identities (identity politics is indeed the common theme). Sadly, neither hyper-liberals nor their critics seem to realise this.

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