Liberalism is a seductive ideology because it promises democracy, justice and individual happiness.
I'm still a fan of liberal values such as these but worry that our liberal ideals are too often inconsistent with the actual operations and effects of liberal institutions, such as the state, the corporation, and the "expert authority."
My social analyses are most directly informed by the work of Michel Foucault and his "governmentality" followers.
In an important volume in Foucault's multi-volume genealogy of western liberalism, Foucault wrote:
“There is no liberalism without a culture of danger” (Birth of Biopolitics 67).
The culture of danger is what rationalizes the extension of institutional power, including the power of the state, the corporation, and the expert authority over people's lives despite inconsistencies with liberal ideals of liberty and self-government.
The culture of danger has been actively promoted by government and corporations authorities who promise to promote security, but whose actual logics of government are aimed at controlling populations, rendering them malleable to expert administration.
The culture of danger is what produces the state shift from liberal democratic values to those associated with older and more overtly forceful forms of sovereign authority. Adam Curtis' The Century of the Self and also The Power of Nightmares explores this theme historically:
Today, the culture of danger is being used to legitimize the deployment of weaponized drones by the state's repressive apparatuses, most particularly by the military and now domestically with US police:
Morris, Amanda. 2017, March 31. Connecticut bill would make weaponized drones legal for cops. CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/31/us/connecticut-drone-bill-trnd/
The use of weaponized drones is inherently non-liberal because their deployment eradicates habeas corpus and due process, which are cornerstone principles of self-government.
Ongoing efforts to coordinate large numbers of drones suggest a dystopic future awaits us with far more surveillance and repressive power than ever anticipated by Foucault, or perhaps even Orwell:
Coordinated drones fly in synchronized flocks (February 21, 2017). Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/video/2017/02/22/coordinated-drones-fly-in-synchronized-f?videoId=371168586The rise and coordination of militarized drones illustrates liberal's crisis as the imperatives of security result in the creation of autonomous machines tasked to police and granted the legal authority to kill.
Liberalism becomes fascism through security deployments that ultimately reveal the sovereign face of power that was tempered and mystified by liberal promises.