Is liberalism a failed project?

I am reading this interesting book in which the author makes the case for rethinking liberalism. If he’s correct, liberalism is self-contradictory and is a failed project.

Somewhere in the book, he writes that liberalism’s end game is unsustainable in every respect, that is,

It cannot perpetually enforce order upon a collection of autonomous individuals increasingly shorn of constitutive social norms, nor can it provide endless material growth in a world of limits.

By the time I finish reading the book, I will know how I feel about it. Though I know of a tweep who has been consistent in arguing that liberal democracy has not worked for Africa and instead we have ended up with electoral authoritarianism. He argues, the claims made or goods that liberal democracy was claimed would make possible have remained but a chimera and it is time thoughtful citizens among us developed a system that would answer our present crises while offering hope for future generations.


on politicians

and bad governance or something.

When we in the global south complain about our politicians, the usual refrain is that we vote them in so we deserve them. This refrain, among other things, ignores electoral manipulation by the political class, use of violence by the incumbent and generally, a political class that is morally bankrupt, bankrupt on ideas and if public choice theorists are correct, are only concerned about their own individual needs and only do something for the general public if they benefit.

Looking at the USA, I can’t seem but recall the ending in George Orwell’s Animal Farm,

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say

and this must be so when they look at their representatives across the political divide. And add tRumpsky’s election to the mix, it is all interesting and so we in the global south must ask, why does it seem that to most Americans, the salvation lies with one man, Robert Mueller, whose work seems everyday to hang on the balance.

So, while I agree wholly, that systems are important, these systems have been overrun by lobbyists, special interest groups, big money and there is need therefore to rethink the whole system and find ways to address these gaps or whatever is left in democracy will be gone through the window.

Maybe I am not making sense.

First as tragedy then as farce

Is a book by Zizek that makes the case for the communist Idea both through his critique of capitalism and by extension liberal democracy and the religion of free market economy that by all reasonable standards have failed to deliver what they promised to the majority.

I think it was Churchill who is said to have uttered these words

Democracy is the worst form of government except all others

And since then any attempt to critique democracy is met with the dismissal that communism has been tried and failed and so we must resign ourselves to the worst system. This kind of criticism is, in my view, uncritical.

There is hardly any place where we have democracy, that is, a government of the people by the people. We have instead increased authoritarianism that purports to hold elections. In effect what we have is a parliamentary dictatorship where power resides not with the people but with the ruling elite.

A case can actually be made for a proletariat dictatorship which does not only change who is in power but changes to a non-statal existence destroying all that which came before it.

Zizek talks too about the current privatization of the commons through what is called intellectual property where the intellectual product is mediated by private capital ala Bill Gates or Apple.

Another thing I find very interesting is what Zizek proposes as a response to anyone who accuses us of undermining democracy. He writes

That one’s answer should be a paraphrase of what Marx and Engels wrote in the Communist manifesto: the ruling order is itself already doing all the undermining necessary.

He continues

In the same way that (market) freedom is unfreedom for those who sell their labour-power, in the same way that the family is undermined by the bourgeois family as legalised prostitution, democracy is undermined by the parliamentary form with its concomitant passivization of the large majority, as well as by the growing executive power employed by the increasingly influential logic of the emergency state.

Its a good read. Interesting. Well written and argued.