Introduction

In The Reactionary Mind, Corey Robin convincingly argues that a large part of what drives reactionaries is the desire to silence and repress anyone they consider inferiors. This partly from a strong belief that ‘such people’ have no right to speak (or to be heard); partly because they fear loss of personal status if the latter are heard, or if they successfully organize themselves; and partly from a conviction that society can only function properly when everyone 'knows their place'.

This argument struck me as correct, and it led me to wonder what would be the analogous motives and world-view of those who the media refer to as 'the (center-)left' (called liberals in the US, liberal or social democrats elsewhere). This because I knew that the overwhelming majority of them in no way subscribe to the ('radical') egalitarianism, inclusiveness and pro-emancipatory solidarity that I consider as central to 'leftism' (and generally to being human).


Linking (Neo-)Liberalism, Identity Politics and Bureaucracy

Both David Harvey and Noam Chomsky have already done a lot to analyze and explain the rise of neoliberalism. Both agree that it should primarily be understood as a political project, aimed at discouraging, and keeping 'ordinary' people from participating in politics, after the events of the 1960s.* But where Harvey's account of the start of the counterrevolution only includes the conservative response, Chomsky points out that elite liberals were just as disturbed by what they termed "an excess of democracy". He notes, describing the Trilateral Commission's The Crisis of Democracy:

This is a consensus view of the liberal internationalists and the three industrial democracies. They—in their consensus—they concluded that a major problem is what they called, their words, “the institutions responsible for the indoctrination of the young.” The schools, the universities, churches, they’re not doing their job. They’re not indoctrinating the young properly. The young have to be returned to passivity and obedience, and then democracy will be fine. That’s the left end.