Can our world ever be organized a better way? All of my apologizing for our liberal order, as against an authoritarian one, has me wondering, is this all there is? Can the liberal order become an egalitarian one, or does it always require group hierarchy, as history suggests? Is there really just one order, underlying both the liberal and the authoritarian forms? Even the New Deal was authoritarian in origin and racist in implementation — not, I suspect, because FDR wanted it that way but because institutional constraints would have it no other way. Similarly, even Obama ordered prolific deportations of and drone strikes on racialized others.
I do not believe that Obama’s rhetoric of change was duplicitous, but rather that, like everyone else, he had to pay tribute to the predominant force in our world: the system of hierarchy itself. If he had not done what it took to maintain his power, someone else would have filled the gap — and perhaps that is exactly what happened, with Putin and Trump seizing the opportunity created by Obama’s all too measured effort to govern with balance and fairness. The problem of politics has always been a prisoner’s dilemma: if you don’t take the deal, someone else will, leaving you stranded on the moral high ground.