Emergencies and Illiberalism

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This chapter explores the relation between emergencies and illiberalism.

As emergencies produce conditions wherein liberal values such as human rights, the rule of law, and the separation of powers may be temporarily suspended, the relation between emergencies and illiberalism appears relatively straight-forward. However, this narrow understanding fails to take account of the transformative and illiberal potential of responding to crises without formal emergency powers. This danger is particularly heightened when pleas to necessity are made for exceptional powers that are not prima facie temporary but instead are permanent and transformative. Liberalism may itself be susceptible to such pleas to necessity as areas of political contestation such as economic policy are surrendered to technocracy, with opponents to such ‘truths’ labelled as populist. For liberalism to survive, it must acknowledge that pluralism and diversity of opinion are not necessarily seditious. Yet it must also equip itself with the necessary tools to weed out those who do fundamentally threaten it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Illiberalism
EditorsAndrás Sajó, Renata Uitz, Stephen Holmes
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780367260569
ISBN (Print)9780367260545
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021


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