‘Haldane’ Review: Political Man, Pivotal Moment

Current debates about liberalism—especially about whether a free society can thrive alongside ever more urgent calls for government action—bring to mind an episode from the Edwardian era. It was then that the Liberal Party in Britain underwent a kind of identity crisis over policy and principle. Richard Burdon Haldane, later Viscount Haldane, stands out as a key figure in that story. Haldane (1856-1928) was “a picture of the well-fed but poorly slept” lawyer, John Campbell says, a man who combined professional success and public service. Now largely forgotten, Haldane embodied a political type that is familiar to Americans…