Wendy Brown on neoliberalism and democracy

Brown wrote (2019, 62-3):

Throttling democracy was fundamental, not incident al, to the broader neoliberal program. Democratic energies, the neoliberals believe, inherently engorges the political, which threatens freedom, spontaneous order, and development and at the extreme builds a redistributive administrative, overreaching state, and robust democratic activism both challenges moral authority and disrupts order from below. The exceptionally thin version of democracy that neoliberalism tolerates is thus detached from political freedom, political equality, and power sharing by citizens, from legislation aimed at the common good, from any notion of a public interest exceeding protection of individuals liberties and security, and from cultures of participation.

The neoliberals and their predecessors did not just oppose thick democracy. They meant to defend a predatory state, the empire and capital. They preferred system integration on the ground — sometimes known as fate — to social integration, of a colonized lifeworld to a vibrant society. They preferred a voiceless, faceless electorate, a void.

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