gideon.rachman@ft.com on Boris’ ‘liberal Brexit’ and other questions. Old Socialist comments

Mr. Rachman signals, with his reference to his conversation with Fyodor Lukyanov in Moscow, as the reification of his status as well traveled ‘expert’ . The subject of Lukyanov’s contemptuous laughter is Boris’ notion of a “liberal Brexit”. Mr. Rachman’s observation is predictable:

Viewed from Russia, the idea that Brexit is anything other than a savage blow to the liberal cause evidently seemed absurd.

How might the reader define for herself the idea of ‘liberal cause’? Monnet’s Common Market that ‘evolved’ into the E.U. ? The Marshall Plan of 1948,The founding of NATO in 1949? Kennan’s Long Telegram of February of 1946, that became Mr. X’s essay published in Foreign Affairs entitled “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” ? that advocated Kennan’s idea of Containment, later abandoned by him? The Atlantic Council ‘Think Tank’ founded in 1961? Might that reader consider that another place holder for actual thought?   ‘Post-War Liberal Order’ is an integral part of that ‘liberal cause’? A collection of the Mr. Rachman’s uses of the word ‘liberal’

 “liberal”, liberal internationalism, liberals, liberals ,  traditional liberals, “era of liberal democracy is over”, liberalism,liberalism, liberal freedoms, liberalism, liberal internationalism,  institutionalisation of liberalism, liberal cause, a liberal,  “liberal”, liberal nationalism

A collection of the Mr. Rachman’s uses of the word ‘liberal’ , in its nominal and adjectival senses, is used by Mr. Rachman seventeen times in his essay. And Mr. Rachman’s statement below is the weakest kind of rhetorical armature to hold his essay together. Have I strayed too far?

The question of whether Mr Johnson and the Brexiters can, in any way, claim to be “liberal” is of more than academic interest.

Of interest is the book mentioned by Mr. Rachman  by Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes book, The Light That Failed,- another essay that evolved in a book suffering from rhetorical/intellectual bloat? The original essay here, or at least one of its iterations :

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/24/western-liberalism-failed-post-communist-eastern-europe

This section of the essay engages in the most blatant kind of obfuscation, about one of the root causes of the rise of the dreaded populism in Eastern Europe. A collection of ‘reasons’ , (I have put them in bold font) but the naming of the actual culprit of Neo-Liberalism is  never proffered as one the ’causes’ of the rise of this ‘Illiberal Democracy‘ .

The striving of ex-communist countries to emulate the west after 1989 has been given an assortment of names – Americanisation, Europeanisation, democratisation, liberalisation, enlargement, integration, harmonization, globalisation and so forth – but it has always signified modernisation by imitation and integration by assimilation. After the communist collapse, according to today’s central European populists, liberal democracy became a new, inescapable orthodoxy. Their constant lament is that imitating the values, attitudes, institutions and practices of the west became imperative and obligatory.

There is another historical source, rather that the melodramatic kitsch of ‘The Light That Failed’ and it is  ‘Europe Since 1989, a history’  by Phillip Ther

https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691167374/europe-since-1989

This book explores the role that Neo-Liberalism as one of the causes, in the economic/political policies, adopted in Eastern European countries after 1989.

Old Socialist

https://www.ft.com/content/2867d79e-1fe4-11ea-92da-f0c92e957a96

 

 

 

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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