Vulnerability as Ideology
In a series of three articles, Peter Ramsay argues that the concept of vulnerability provides an organising ideology for contemporary capitalist society, serving to present the interests of the powerful in maintaining the political and economic status quo as the interests of all.
In Part One, he sets out how vulnerability and identification with the vulnerable form the content of contemporary middle class virtue, and how that works as an official ideology to legitimise the status quo with its politics of permanent emergency.
In Part Two, he explains why vulnerability became a key aspect of the ruling ideology of authoritarian liberalism in recent times notwithstanding its evident irrationality, and how this ideology has frustrated the development of any political alternative to it by converting politics into culture war.
In Part Three, he argues that the new ideology of the vulnerable subject is a paradox that results from the decay of liberalism as its internal contradictions have worked themselves out.
The politics of national sovereignty provide the solution to the disastrous geopolitics that flow from the failure of cosmopolitan globalism, argues Philip Cunliffe. This is the text of a lecture of a lecture given to the Academy 2022 on 16 July 2022.
The framing of the war in Ukraine by liberals as all about them and their identification with the vulnerable is an important driving force of war fever in the West. However, Peter Ramsay argues that conservatives engage in a comparable cultural narcissism. A recent talk by Frank Furedi in which he linked NATO intervention in Ukraine to moral rearmament in the West, only to backtrack subsequently, exemplifies the limitations of conservative cultural critique for those in search of a new democratic politics.