The Sublime Authority of Ignorance, Neoliberal Nationalism and the Rise of the Demagogue

Nicola Clewer


This article explores the relationship between ignorance, authority and
nationalism in neoliberal thought and practice to argue that, far from signalling
its end, the recent global rise of the right-wing demagogue is firmly rooted in
neoliberalism. Part one mobilises the aesthetic concept of the sublime to explore
the central place of, and relationship between, ignorance and authority. Part two
argues that neoliberalism has its own form of nationalism which is underpinned
by a social Darwinist logic. It is here that we find the basis for the intersection
between neoliberalism and the forms of vitriolic and xenophobic nationalism
which have helped propel the global ascendency of the neoliberal demagogue.
The concluding section argues that, in the context of growing inequality and
insecurity, the demagogue mystifies social relations, projecting blame for the
failings of the system on those constructed as "enemies of the people" in the
interests of maintaining the status quo.

Palabras clave

the sublime, neoliberalism, neoliberal nationalism, the neoliberal demagogue, the far-right.

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ISSN de la edición impresa: 1575-6823

ISSN digital: 2340-2199

Depósito legal: SE 235-2015

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