Many of my waking and sleeping thoughts seem to involve growth and efficient action. This is neither good nor bad. Neoliberalism is neither good nor bad. ‘Neoliberalism’ is merely a concept used most often today to demonize the existing society and facilitate the transfer of power from the traditional Protestant view of society to a different one – and, more importantly, to transfer power from those who held/hold this view to a different group.
But more than this, it must be the instinct of a people in perpetual diaspora to weaken the culture of the dominant host. History suggests that to remain a distinct group, a people must be guided by priestly legislators who canonize moral principles that simultaneously promote internal cohesion and separation from the host. This morality must claim that the group’s norms are sanctioned by the one true God, Reason, or History and that those of the host society are perpetually evil. To the extent that the host society differs from the self-separating group, it must be bad.
This makes the case of neoliberalism rather strange. Neoliberalism is the very sort of ends-neutral policy that would allow separatist groups to flourish. It is when the host civilization strongly legislates religious belief and morality that separatist groups cannot live in harmony with the host. We may look to Colonial New England and the Middle Colonies for an historical example.
It would seem that people from separatist subcultures would be most likely to support a neoliberal social organization. It seems natural that Conservatives would criticize Neoliberalism, and it seems counter-intuitive, that most of the critique of Neoliberalism is forwarded by individuals who identify as Critical Theorists – since Critical Theory has a deep association with the very Jewish, Frankfurt School. This is odd. I will have to develop the idea in a later post, but the answer seems to me lie in the historical evolution of the system on in two ways: (1) the Traditional Power base comes to view Liberalism as The Tradition and (2) those groups that criticize neoliberalism while wanting to remain distinct (a) recognize that the host group is so solidly liberal in its institutions and disposition that the risk of harsh oppression based on difference is minimal, and/or (b) that the instinct to criticize is stronger than the fear of conservative backlash, and/or (c) one or more of the separatists groups (believe they) are now the primary power broker. Once the outside groups takes power, they come to believe they are in a position to suppress value-neutral ends and to legislate their own morality.
So the first step must be open borders: both physical and intellectual for the host (but rather closed borders for the diaspora group). A corequisite step that might occur during or after, is the development of a neoliberal state that allows the separatists to participate while remaining separate: to first be tolerated and then to be accepted as equals. To move from tolerance of their difference through acceptance of their difference as equal, a further step is required: an inversion. The moralizing priestly group must successfully convince the host that its own separatist moral system is to be preferred over the traditional neoliberalism. Without force (and perhaps even with) this process of transvaulation, as Nietzsche called it, does not happen quickly. The historical study I am presently undertaking will shed light on these different ways.
Recently, in the West, the process has involved differential evaluation, whereby the identity of the demonized traditional source of power is made as small as possible in order to maximize allies in this resistance against neoliberal oppression and support for social justice. The approach has worked to some degree because, although demonized as oppressors, a sufficient number of the dominant population instinctively value liberty over exclusion and moralizing. A liberal spirit makes the traditional power-brokers in our society susceptible to this backdoor, soft-power coup. Societies without this liberal tradition (those in Asia, for example) see the development of this process far clearer than most within the liberal societies do – and will better avoid it.
This is a dangerous game for separatist groups, however. For the last few thousand years, history has indeed been punctuated by these often rather swift backlashes and reversals. The names of the groups involved might change, but the general process will recur because Nature likes pushing the envelope.