What makes one a good citizen of
an illiberal regime? The exploration of the political-ethical
experience of citizens in illiberal regimes will conclude the second
part of this book which set out with the examination of the ambition
of elected magistrates in illiberal regimes in Chapter 4 and continued with studying how independent
What is it like to be a
politician seeking or holding elected office in an illiberal regime?
This simple question will be the central theme of Chapter 4 . Our exploration of the political-ethical
experience of elected magistrates in this chapter will be grounded
in the general political theoretical and methodological framework
illiberal regime is shaped by the challenges of finding case-by-case
compromises between the conflicting demands of their independence
and the regime. Generally speaking, independence calls for constancy
(which means independent-mindedness anyway) because the independent
source of authority of these offices assumes that the office-holders
need to act on their judgment (an
By now we are armed with the
necessary conceptual means to make sense of the distinctive
political-ethical experience of living in illiberal regimes. Chapter 1 argued that a liberal realist
approach is needed to replace the justificatory model if we really
want to understand what it takes to live in such circumstances. This
The book offers a novel – Williamsian liberal realist – normative political theoretical examination of the political-ethical experience of living in illiberal regimes. Starting with a critique of the predominant mode of normative political theory (the justificatory model), the first part of the book explains why such an examination should focus on the various normative contexts which shape political agency by providing people with reasons for action (e.g. ad hoc and general reasons, political rule, membership, political regime types, political offices, and political virtues). It also explains why the main concepts referring to various regime types in comparative politics are not perfectly suitable for such an examination. It is because their normative background assumptions of comparative politics show eerie resemblances to the justificatory model. Therefore, the book offers a neo-Aristotelian alternative to them which is more compatible with a realist enterprise. The second part of the book turns to the examination of three families of political offices and how they shape political agency in an illiberal regime in their own way: the office of elected magistrates, the office of people having some independent source of authority (civil servants, policy experts, judges), and the office of citizens. The main tenet of the book is that it is possible to be critical of illiberal regimes without insisting on the justificatory model and also that it is possible to appreciate the ethical seriousness of the experience of living in illiberal regimes without finding those regimes justifiable.
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Winston Churchill, House of Commons, 11 November 1947. 1
No. Illiberalism has not yet brought the West to the brink of collapse. But the populist radical right surge that has hit both sides of the Atlantic in recent years has revealed failures of and weaknesses in
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.
The West of which we speak is defined by the values of liberal democracy,
individual freedom, human rights, tolerance and equality under the rule of law.
This book explores how Islamist terror and Russian aggression as companion
threats to the West when terrorists target Russia as well as the United States
and its allies. The threats posed by Islamist terror and Russian aggression
present themselves in very different ways. In the time of transatlantic traumas,
the Islamist terrorist threat and the Russian threat have worked diligently and
with some success. The book examines the hatred of Islamists towards Western
democracies, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union for
their involvement in the Middle East politics for several decades. There is no
single explanation for the rising popularity of illiberalism in the Western
democracies; a combination of factors has produced a general sense of malaise.
The book discusses the sources of discontent prevailing in the Western
countries, and looks at the rise of Trumpism, Turkey and its Western values as
well as the domestic tensions between Turkey's political parties. It
suggests a radical centrist populist Western strategy could be applied to deal
with the threats and challenges, reinvigorating the Western system. The book
also touches upon suggestions relating to illiberalism in Europe, Turkey's
drift away from the West, and the Brexit referendum.