Quotable (#189)

Agamben (2006):

Because they require constant reference to a state of exception, measures of security work towards a growing depoliticization of society. In the long run they are irreconcilable with democracy.

(Feature, not bug.)

Also this (previously):

In short, discipline wants to produce order, security wants to regulate disorder. Since measures of security can only function within a context of freedom of traffic, trade, and individual initiative, Foucault can show that the development of security accompanies the ideas of liberalism.

In combination, these two sentences provide almost everything political philosophy needs.

Twitter cuts (#127)

Permissionless innovation, like free association, is one of those few compressed political-economic programs that does everything on its own (when fully expanded).

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‘Neoliberalism’ II

Paul Mason thinks he’s being helpful:

There’s a meme that keeps resurfacing in the genteel world of rightwing financial thought: that the term “neoliberalism” is in some way just a term of abuse, or a catch-all phrase invented by the left. […] Well, as the UK steel industry faces instant closure — and let’s be clear that’s what Tata would do if it had to — we about to get a textbook lesson in what neoliberalism actually means. It means, when market logic clashes with human logic, the market must prevail and you must not give a shit about the social consequences.

Ummm … you know that was just straight-up liberalism, before they wrecked the word. (Socialism is the other thing.)

ADDED: Some precious lucidity here.

Language and Liberalism

The inversion of the meaning of liberalism over the last 150 years has to be counted among the world’s most remarkable ideological facts. The coinage of the term ‘classical liberalism’ in recent times, as an utterly marginalized linguistic act of dissent, attests to the comprehensiveness and radicality of the change that has occurred. It has surely been essential to the momentum of the historical tide that it has usurped the most elementary cultural tools required for its articulation. What has taken place cannot even be discussed without obscure struggle in a drifting, semiotic fog.

Daniel B. Klein of the Adam Smith Institute has formulated a lucid response to this ideological event, in a website entirely devoted to the re-ordering of the language of liberalism during the crucial period from 1880-1940. Combining ngrams, historical quotations, and reflections (from the author), it depicts with unprecedented clarity the process through which the Old Liberalism lost its tongue.