The first thing to say about liberal order is that it hasn’t been that liberal. Since
the Second World War, the production of subjects obeisant to the rule of liberal institutions
has depended on illiberal and authoritarian methods – not least on the periphery of the
world system, where conversion to Western reason has been pursued with particularly millenarian
zeal, and violence. The wishful idea of an ever more open and global market economy has been
continuously undermined by its champions, with their subsidies
crises. Resistance aside for now, what’s often left out of this narrative is precisely how the organisation of violence takes considered financial and material investment to ensure its sustainability over time. Indeed, the very idea of a liberal peace that emerged through this progressive account of human cohabitation proved to be a complete misnomer, as it wilfully and violently destroyed illiberal forms of planetary life.
Violence is the Result of Difference
The idea of racial violence is part of a broader schematic that connects to competing claims to
challenged. The ground gained by so called ‘illiberal
democracy’ is prodigious, not merely in terms of the number of countries where illiberal
politics is alive and thriving, many of which are in the West (the US, much of the EU, the UK)
but in terms of the creeping legitimacy that attends right-wing solutions to ongoing social and
political problems. This is nowhere truer than in the major new power in the international
system, China, where a version of state-controlled capitalism co-exists alongside a principled
rejection of liberalism.