Sexuality Policy Watch

American Nightmare: Neoliberalism, Neoconservatism, and De-Democratization

Source: Chapatte Cartoons
Source: Chapatte Cartoons

Wendy Brown
University of California, Berkeley

Neoliberalism and neoconservatism are two distinct political rationalities in the contemporary United States. They have few overlapping formal characteristics, and even appear contradictory in many respects. Yet they converge not only in the current presidential administration but also in their de-democratizing effects. Their respective devaluation of political liberty, equality, substantive citizenship, and the rule of law in favor of governance according to market criteria on the one side, and valorization of state power for putatively moral ends on the other, undermines both the culture and institutions of constitutional democracy. Above all, the two rationalities work symbiotically to produce a subject relatively indifferent to veracity and accountability in government and to political freedom and equality among the citizenry.

Keywords: neoliberalism; neoconservatism; democracy; de-democratization

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