Decisionism

Citing the dramatic increase in the deaths of firefighters, and an increase in deaths as a result of fire, she asked him: “Will you give me a pledge today that when these austere times are over, and you have the money back in the bank or you’re balancing your books, that you will look at anything that is cut during this period and go back and get in those fire engines back in the places they are needed to support the public?”

Cameron refused to make the pledge.

“The direct answer to your question, should we cut things now and go back later and try and restore them later, I think we should be trying to avoid that approach,” he said. “Because I’m not saying we won’t have to make cuts to all sorts of difficult services, because we will, but let’s try and do it in a way that actually is sustainable. And try to make sure that the fire services that we have is capable of doing the very important work we want it to do but let’s all open our minds and think how can we work in a different way.”

As Tom said on Twitter “Never have I wanted those murderous, neo-liberal New Labour fucks back in office so much as I do now”. Cameron and Clegg have told their MPs “we are prepared to take the difficult decisions”, Cameron states “difficult decisions” will have to be made.

In my PhD I trace one of the origins of this kind of rhetoric of the hard decision in economic matters – the influence of Carl Schmitt’s decisionism and political theology on the development of early neoliberalism during the Weimar republic. The leader – neoliberal or fascist – must be decisive, must make the decision – discussion, democratic debate are flimsy liberal sops, he is sovereign. Between the people and the market, the leader must decide for the market. The influence could not be clearer upon our present situation.

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3 Responses to “Decisionism”

  1. Hill Says:

    So where did the phrase “difficult decision” originate?

  2. Hill Says:

    I realized that might sound snarky… I’m legitimately interested in a synopsis of this portion of your PhD if possible.

  3. Alex Says:

    I don’t have the time at the moment to talk about it, but I’ll post a chunk when this section is done. Obviously the phrase itself is irrelevant – I’m just talking about it in the general cluster of “there is no alternative” phrases deployed by neoliberals.


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