Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Is "neoliberalism" a real ideology?

A ‘neo’ is someone who pretends to be something, someone who is at the same time inside and outside of something; it is an elusive hybrid, a straw man set up without ever identifying a specific value, idea, regime, or doctrine. To say ‘neoliberal’ is the same as saying ‘semiliberal’, or ‘pseudoliberal’. It is pure nonsense. Either one is an favor of liberty or against it, but one cannot be semi-in-favor or pseudo-in-favor of liberty, just as one cannot be ‘semipregnat’, ‘semiliving’ or ‘semidead’. The term has not been invented to express a conceptual reality, but rather as a corrosive weapon of derision, it has been designed to semantically devalue the doctrine of liberalism.

Mario Vargas Llosa, “Liberalism in the New Millennium,” in I. Vasquez, ed. Global Fortune: The Stumble and Rise of World Capitalism, Cato Institute Washington DC, 2000, p16.


Mark Wadsworth said...

I've got an even better ideology. It's called 'pragmatism', i.e. no ideology whatsoever - just do what works and don't do what doesn't (however much you'd perhaps like it to work).

In practice, it comes pretty close to libertarianism, but without the waffle and with a citizen's income scheme.

dreamingspire said...

Tom, can't find an email address on your blog, so here's a comment. Having just read on Jonathan Calder's Liberal England blog the quote from Andy Mayer "Tom Papworth highlighted that, while that's right, the point is how you get those good schools and hospitals", are you writing somewhere about that? Its the first time that I have heard it talked about in the political arena for a long time, and, with so many things wrong with the way that the civil service goes about public service management and strategy, we need the topic brought forward.

Tom Papworth said...

I don't usually do requests, but in your case, Dreamingspire, I shall make an exception :o)

I will post an article about how choice will improve public services for everybody early this evening.