Dialogue Series

The Neoliberal Fiction-Religion and Politics in International Relations

Stirling, September 8, 2014 (Alochonaa): I have read Mubashar Hasan’s review of my book, which I think is good. In a very short space he represented my argument well. Thank you for taking the trouble to review it.

Let me try to answer Mubashar’s criticism as far as I understand it. I do not see my reluctance to provide an alternative discourse as a failure. It was not my intention. I’m not a member of any elite cadre of self-appointed leaders who already suppose they know what is best for everybody. In my view, an alternative discourse ought to emerge as the result of a wide, deep and open democratic conversation, not as the invention of one or even a few intellectuals. I know the kinds of things that I find important and want to contribute, but that is all. I am passionate about challenging what I see as contemporary myths that encourage dangerous and violent trends in the world by making Liberal capitalism seem ‘natural’ and normal.

My argument deconstructs what I see as the current ideological formation that is globalizing mainly through Liberalism, and the Neoliberal revivalism deriving from such theorists as Hayek and Friedman and their influence on those with ruling class ambitions. Liberalism and Neoliberalism are the dogmas of capitalism.As classical Liberalism is to (British and French) colonialism, so Neoliberalism is to (US) Neo-colonialism. The counter-intuitive concepts of Liberalism and its fundamentalist revival movement Neoliberalism have become transformed into ‘common sense’ by three centuries of myth-making, rhetorical proclamation, theoretical elaboration, legislation, media propaganda, school indoctrination, government policy, and more recently through the operation of the World Bank, IMF, the Davos World Economic Forum, and so on.

We should in my view be debating the question “What could or should a post-capitalist democracy look like?” I want a serious debate on how to limit the powers of large corporations, how to return to the commons the many aspects of our shared world that have been privatised and exploited for private interests; how to promote real democracy in the work place; and whether work and work-time ought to be the dominant factor imposed on our lives at all. In fact a lot of people are already discussing these matters, but not much in the mainstream liberal media, which, as Chomsky has rightly argued, manufactures consent. People have their own different questions and issues that they want to raise in their own way. While it is true that we need abstract categories and even myths to think with, we need to avoid the danger of allowing those categories to become transformed into faith postulates which seem so intuitively certain that they must be imposed on the world by blind believers for everyone’s supposed benefit. And this is above all the position of Liberals and Neoliberals and their fictions today.

*Dr. Fitzgerald is a reader, religious studies, University of Stirling, UK. He is the author of Religion and Politics in International Relations-The Modern Myth and The Ideology of Religious Studies

** Alochonaa.com is not responsible for any factual mistakes (if any) of this analysis. This analysis further is not necessarily representative of Alochonaa.com’s view. We’re happy to facilitate further evidence-based submissions on this topic. Please send us your submission at alochonaa@gmail.com

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