As a liberal classic myself, I welcome this wonderful piece. Mansilla is a wonderful, bright and clear writer. Unfortunately in Bolivia, evo and his acolytes have outcasted the liberal meaning … they misuse the word “neo-liberal,” for them to mean all the bad their ill conceived minds used to blame on others and exert their cheap demagogue to capture the minds of millions of Bolivians … eve wasted over $160 billion dollars, destroyed our meritocracy and made bloom narcotrafficking and smuggling of goods that destroy our industries. The above is the opinion of Bolivian Thoughts.
H C F Mansilla writes in El Diario:
Some differences between liberalism and neoliberalism
The highly criticizable evolution of contemporary capitalism does not correspond either to the ideals or to the predictions of the liberal classics, especially in the cultural and political terrain. It is not a mere coincidence that since about 1980 neoliberal ideas have been imposed in much of the world, especially in the reorganization of the economy and public finances and the resizing of the role of the State, but, simultaneously, the liberal parties they tend to disappear, favoring conservative, populist, nationalist and regionalist groups.
As a classical liberal (formed by the readings of Montesquieu, John Stuart Mill and Tocqueville), a supporter of natural law and the link between politics and ethics, I can not stop criticizing the neoliberal reordering of much of the contemporary world, a reorganization that partially It seems to me a real disaster and, more importantly, a betrayal of the great liberal ideals. Despite all that is said about the reduction of the State’s business role, today’s capitalism is partially planned from above, but characterized by the dilution of old liberal and natural law principles and the elimination of shareholder owners as main factors of economic activity. This same process encourages the emergence of new organizational structures within companies: management becomes increasingly autonomous with respect to the legal owners of the company and technically more specialized. To all this corresponds, in the cultural sphere and in the specifically political sphere, a depletion of liberalism as a mobilizing project for the future and creator of socio-cultural institutions and modes of behavior.
The social order of the West, which is no longer based on the liberal-natural-law doctrine, but on neoliberal cynicism, is, in the end, subject to the dictatorship of merely instrumental rationality. Their criteria of legitimation have ceased to be freedom, autonomy and democratic self-determination, giving way to guiding values such as economic-financial performance, material success and rude consumption. On the political level, the consequences are no less disastrous: the immense success of technology and its penetration in almost all spheres of modern life have led to attribute instrumental rationality and its socio-political manifestations (as all decisions taken by the technobureaucracy) an aura of unassailable truth, before which the traditional democratic discussion adopts an air of painful anachronism. In addition, the scientific-technical nature of the central issues of our civilization makes it very difficult to criticize it by people who do not have the relevant specialized knowledge. And who can have them at the same time in areas as different as the atomic energy, the ecological problematic and the legal aspects referring to the public services to discuss sensibly, for example, about the goodness or inconvenience of installing nuclear power plants? The technification of the world transforms liberal democracy into something obsolete.
There is no doubt that the highly complex systems of the present possess some positive factors: a high degree of social and personal mobility, a remarkable differentiation of roles and functions and quite broad possibilities in the choice of behaviors and values. But these neoliberal societies lead to the atomization of citizens, to the obsolescence of political organization and discussion, to brutal competition for any trifle and to anomie and nihilism as collective praxis. The churches are transformed into harmless clubs of good neighborliness and charity. States and cities lose their capacity for governance to some degree. Political parties become pragmatic associations devoted exclusively to the rotation of government elites. The universities have become an extension of secondary school, with massive and unrestricted access, losing their investigative and humanistic function. The excessive complexity of contemporary societies, coupled with unrestricted democratization, results in the slowness of any serious political decision, the decline of all moral and intellectual authority, the social predominance of mediocrity, the expansion of plebeian bad taste and decline of human forms of interpersonal treatment.
What is needed is a rational thought in the broad sense of the term, which calls into question the pretended benefits of technological progress produced under neoliberal influence.