Smart Liberalism

Liberalism and liberal democracy need a renewal in line with the development of the society. In this blog post, Anja Fabiani argues that only on such basis we can have liberalism for the future, which will prevail over other ideologies, for its trans-ideological aspect.

Liberalism (liberal democracy) is one of the political thoughts which will prevail in the next centuries. It is the core system of understanding of how society works and will work in the future. What are the arguments which confirm such stance?
A number of concepts shape the “smart” liberalism:         

1. Society

Some of the “big ideologies” are based on old ideas of dominance in the society, namely on that class separation or religious/moral based order. Both are in its essence bias of core movement, which derives from French revolution and from Enlightenment and could be interpreted by Foucault’s definition of autonomy and freedom, which constitutes itself as a response to circumstances and limits to the society. Correction of class separation has been overwhelmed by the technological revolution (which is the result of the freedom of development).   

2. Scientific method

Liberalism must return to its roots, not just as free choice or response to ever variable circumstances of society, but to the scientific method of Karl Popper. This means the claim of the reflexion of scientific and technological development, which could be predicted and corrected. This is the realm of our future society and all other interpretations are merely a response to it.   

3. Smart power

What we do need is a new paradigm of smart liberalism. What does it mean? Liberalism should use, upon the re-interpretation of Nye’s theories of smart power, a new model of contextual intelligence, which will reflect the political response to the technological change. Technological change is not just about information revolution and new cyber reality, but also about scientific development and its application to life. Meanwhile, we are speaking about little political problems, which upon our understanding seem big, an enormous revolution occurs in the field of science. Such revolution will change the society to its very core. Only if we are aware of experiencing this, we could react to it not only with the acceptance but also with the criticism or correction, when needed. It is about changes, connected with Crispr, SynBio, Blockchain, Geoengineering the planet etc. In the field of informational technologies, it is for example about Smart Machines Futures (AI), Internet of Smart Things. Isn’t it obvious that we need also a “SMART” political response?

Consequently, smart liberalism is the combination of soft approach – which involves the social sciences – and hard approach – involving the natural sciences, that it is to say the combination of Foucault and Popper.
Smart liberalism could be the answer. On the contrary of politics which tries to conserve the society overwhelmed by the technological revolution, it doesn’t lead to a class division: It is not about the eternal quarrel of class division because the class is changing and as such, it will probably not exist (it is the process of constant transformation).
Substantially, we do not need just to renew outer marks of liberalism, we do not need just to have a new logo. We have to redefine liberalism to its core, with the basis of old subsystems, but adapted to the practical use and current circumstances.

Smart liberalism is the future response to the new challenges of the society. Firstly, scientific innovation and then its transformation or adoption into our lives.

Anja Fabiani

Anja would like to build a team on the topic, with experts in political science, natural sciences and technology. If somebody is ready to work with her in the field of the new concept/paradigm of liberalism and “smart liberalism”, please, join the conversation on Slack!

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