Regime Change

Patrick Deneen

Classical liberalism promised to overthrow the old aristocracy, creating an order in which individuals could create their own identities and futures. To some extent it did–but it has also demolished the traditions and institutions that nourished ordinary people and created a new and exploitative ruling class. This class’s economic libertarianism, progressive values, and technocratic commitments have led them to rule for the benefit of the “few” at the expense of the “many,” precipitating our current political crises.

In Regime Change, Patrick Deneen proposes a bold plan for replacing the liberal elite and the ideology that created and empowered them. Grass-roots populist efforts to destroy the ruling class altogether are naive; what’s needed is the strategic formation of a new elite devoted to a “pre-postmodern conservatism” and aligned with the interest of the “many.” Their top-down efforts to form a new governing philosophy, ethos, and class could transform our broken regime from one that serves only the so-called meritocrats.

Drawing on the oldest lessons of the western tradition but recognizing the changed conditions that arise in liberal modernity, Deneen offers a roadmap for these changes, offering hope for progress after “progress” and liberty after liberalism.


ISBN: 9781800753297

Published: July 6, 2023


ISBN: 9781800753303

Published: July 6, 2023


Reviews for Regime Change

‘Deneen does more than show how our present ruling class has declared war on beauty, tradition, and the social institutions that make life worth living; he articulates a vision for a populist politics that can rebuild what has been torn down‘ – JD Vance, United States Senator

Regime Change offers a sober assessment of where we are, and a way forward that will challenge ideologues on all sides of the political maelstrom’ – Mary Harrington

‘In Regime Change, Patrick Deneen expertly points us beyond the opposition between a feckless populism and a rapacious elite, toward a vision of shared purpose, mutual obligation, and truly common goods. Along the way, he reaffirms his status as the West’s most important political theorist‘ – Sohrab Ahmari, founder and editor of Compact and author of Tyranny, Inc.

‘A brilliant and clarifying success, identifying a set of mechanisms by which a post-liberal order might come into being. Here, as in Why Liberalism Failed, Deneen’s views will become the fixed center around which the debate revolves’ – Adrian Vermeule, Ralph S. Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School

‘This creative and courageous book takes us to the core of the American impasse. Deneen’s Common Good conservatism is a gallant effort to preserve crucial aspects of our desiccated democratic tradition’ – Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary


Patrick Deneen

Patrick J. Deneen is Professor of Political Science and Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He has previously taught at Princeton University and Georgetown University.