After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State

After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State

by Paul Edward Gottfried

In this trenchant challenge to social engineering, Paul Gottfried analyzes a patricide: the slaying of nineteenth-century liberalism by the managerial state.

He builds on them to show why it matters that the managerial state has replaced traditional liberalism: the new regimes of social engineers, he maintains, are elitists, and their rule is consensual only in the sense that it is unopposed by any widespread organized opposition.

In their frightening passivity, Gottfried locates the quandary for traditionalist and populist adversaries of the welfare state.

How can opponents of administrative elites show the public that those who provide, however ineptly, for their material needs are the enemies of democratic self-rule and of independent decision making in family life?

  • Language: English
  • Category: Politics
  • Rating: 4.12
  • Pages: 200
  • Publish Date: July 22nd 2001 by Princeton University Press
  • Isbn10: 0691089825
  • Isbn13: 9780691089829

What People Think about "After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State"

In After Liberalism, (1999), Paul Gottfried argues that our "liberal democracy" is neither liberal nor democratic; the term is merely a label intended to provide legitimacy for an evolving American managerial state that seeks to expand its power at home and abroad. The managerial state is not liberal-since there is no inviolable space into which it will not intrude and meddle-and it is not democratic, unless you think being administered and socialized by a custodial class-a fact that does not change despite periodic elections that rotate parties in power-constitutes self governance. Gottfried contextualizes classical (i.e. genuine) liberalism as a ideology/outlook that flourished as part of the 19c bourgeois order, and argues that the turbulent 20th century rise of mass democracy led to the political and cultural displacement of that order. Politically, the emerging managerial welfare state sought to reestablish order in a new fashion, embracing the idea of economic planning, the redistribution of resources, the jettisoning in practice of Constitutional limitations viewed as archaic straitjackets, and the socialization of the populace. And a split has emerged within the managerial ranks, with the Left spearheading further advances such as multiculturalism and various lifestyle liberation agendas, and the conservative (neocon) establishment offering ineffective resistance to the mutating fruits of a therapeutic pluralism whose early triumphs during the anti-communist era are not only currently celebrated by establishment conservatives, but were actually advanced by the neocons back when they were known as cold war liberals. And since the neocons are global universalists who strive to export liberal democracy abroad, the evolving content of what this label represents means that both the establishment left and establishment right are complicit in the spread of coercive cultural radicalism abroad. In effect, the moderate Right not only is ineffective against the increasing cultural radicalism of the managerial state, it polices its own ranks against the possible emergence of real opposition to managerialism! Gottfried is of course sympathetic to populist disruptions of the managerial agenda, though he is sober enough to argue that no new alternate paradigm to liberal democracy presently exists and that therapeutic pluralism is not going away anytime soon. Gottfried thinks a stripped down populism that focuses on economic grievances and physical safety issues more so than identitarian politics-though cultural concerns need not be ignored entirely- holds out some promise as a way to contest the managerial state. All his books following After Liberalism are worthwhile, and new dimensions to Gottfrieds general argument emerge.

Paul helps us by highlighting the nefarious forces behind and rotten fruits resulting from what Jacques Ellul called 'world opinion' and it's enforcement. It is important for Christians to know how and why Old Scratch is working so we don't fall into his trap. Many well-intentioned 'Christians' who accept the worldviews and methods described by Gottfried are sadly doing just that, falling into his trap.