Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Rock and a Hard Place

In this way, the radical democracy strategy becomes an inversion of the nationalist strategy. Both the radical democrats and the nationalists would create a situation in which the nation-state cannot meaningfully be blamed for the consequences of the liberal order.

The nationalists accomplish this by blaming the order, performing subversion while continuing to obey. The radical democrats accomplish this by creating new institutions that make the people themselves feel responsible for their own situations. They attempt to ‘responsibilise’ ordinary voters.

 The nationalist strategy’s weakness is that it maintains the liberal order by condemning it, undermining the very thing it maintains.

The radical democrats completely divert attention from the order by making politics about the local level – about you. You become the one responsible for the order, for the flows, and for any instability those flows bring to your community.

These local institutions, however, cannot actually alter the flows. This responsibility is built on lies and misdirection. It functions as an elaborate way of forcing the citizens to internalise the political system’s failures as their own. Radical democrats would give citizens the appearance of direct power without the fact of it, obscuring where the real power lies – with the liberal order.

That would suit the order just fine. But radical democracy wouldn’t deal with the substance of the grievances that have led so many voters to grow frustrated. It would enable the order to continue disappointing people by convincing them that they are the ones disappointing themselves.


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