The connection between the delusion of a just world [everyone gets what they deserve] and neo-liberalism is very easy to make. To neo-liberals, the fact alone that you are unemployed proves that you deserve it. Aside from accidental occurrences (the world is not perfect), the world is ultimately just. You get what you are worth. You become what you make of yourself. No further analysis is needed. There is no reason to look into economics or history or sociology or whatever else. There are no specific or special circumstances. As an unemployed person, you fail to make a contribution to society (you are not, in Cameron’s words part of ‘a hardworking family’ who ‘speaks English’). You are dysfunctional (it’s certainly not the economy or companies which do not invest). You do not deserve any help. What you deserve instead is punishment and an iron fist (this is why Offer calls Lerner’s work a parable of the dying welfare state).
Any other vulnerable group can be blamed in on the exactly the same grounds and in the same sociopathic way. Elderly people who depend on a state pension (and perhaps on a fuel allowance so that they do not freeze to death in the winter) did not succeed in life and therefore deserve nothing than disrespect and no help. The inferiority of ill and disabled people is clear, otherwise they would be healthy and therefore society owns them nothing or as little as possible. Refugees who end up on our shores should not come from dysfunctional countries (even though we contribute to mess these countries up, but that is just mere business). No one has the right to disrupt the elite’s entitlements or question the class structure of society, its inherent and blatant injustices, its malfunctions, its moral degeneration.…
Sheldon Wolin explains in his book on democracy and inverted totalitarianism (see here) that the main difference between the pre-war totalitarianism and the political regression of today is that Hitler could not could wait to ban political parties, dissolve parliament, suspend the constitution and destroy the free press, while today all these institutions are fully functioning. We have political parties, free elections, parliaments, constitutions, there is an independent judiciary, check and balances, a free press and much more. The problem, as Wolin sees it, is that most of the institutions that are supposed to safeguard democracy and human and political and social rights have become ‘inverted:’ they actively contribute to goals that are diametrically opposed to their original purpose. Wolin analyses such processes of ‘inverted totalitarianism’ in great detail. He provides many convincing case studies.…Social Darwinism alive and well as neoliberalism.