Liberal democracy without the liberal subject seems to be mute at this point. From Rousseau to Mill the fundamental aspects of classical liberal democracy was based on a well-defined sense of Self-Subject with a definite implication toward the voluntarist traditions of Will over Intellect, etc. And yet in the past forty years with the rise of postmodern and analytic thought the notion of Self-Subject has come not only under attack, been undermined, but has now in most current neurosciences collapsed into fiction, parody, and nullity: an empty void of self-reflecting nothingness, a hole or aporia in the center of our inhuman being. So if the Self-Subject no longer exists, if free-will is a fiction, what of Democracy? We seem to continue to believe in it although the basic and central fact that it supports – the modern liberal Subject has disappeared. So what of democracy itself?
Of late been finally getting round to Larry Siedentop’s Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism. One could say the whole war between Universalists vs. Nominalists, Rationalists vs. Empiricists, Intellect vs. Will etc., all this began in the Western traditions with the concern over the fate of the Soul in Christian thought. From Augustine to Kant the battle from one to the other, Intellect over Will, Will over Intellect was fought for the mind and heart of Christendom. With the slow death of both the philosopher’s God (Nietzsche) and it’s variant in Platonic, Neo-Platonic, and orthodox theologies and mysticisms caught between apophatic darkness and the illuminationist light the notion of the individual as Self-Subject has undergone its apotheosis and in our time decline and disappearance in thought. Why?