Authoritarian Liberalism: The Conjuncture Behind the Crisis
22 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2018
Date Written: March 9, 2018
Behind the constitutional crisis of the European Union lies the conjuncture of ‘authoritarian liberalism’, when politically authoritarian forms of governing emerge to protect the material order of economic liberalism. This constitutional conjuncture can be grasped by integrating into constitutional enquiry the material dynamic between democracy and capitalism, as recently theorised by Wolfgang Streeck. Authoritarian liberalism can then be explored across a much deeper and longer constitutional trajectory, from the interwar breakdown of liberal constitutionalism, to its post-war and post-Maastricht reconstruction, in each case represented by a de-democratisation of the economy. From this perspective, the recent assaults on democracy in the Euro-crisis appear to be a continuation of, rather than divergence from, the normal path of integration. Where this will end remains to be seen. Although authoritarian liberalism is increasingly accompanied by authoritarian illiberal responses, there has not yet been any definitive rupture, with the possible exception of Brexit.
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