In the book “Law and Leviathan: Redeeming the Administrative State” (2020), Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule attempted to provide technocracy with moral depth while investing in the hope of legitimating technocratic authority through what they describe as “the morality of the law.”
They maintain that administrative technocrats should be trusted because they personify a moral code that is internal, logical, and legally binding. Such proponents of administrative technocracy encounter a challenge in that neither the law nor science possesses the substantive moral content required for establishing authority. It became clear in the 19th century that science had the power to disprove theories from the fields of philosophy, theology, and history. However, “Science as science could not provide a justification for its own activity,” as political theorist Sheldon Wolin put it. This is why, despite their best efforts, the authors of “Law and Leviathan” are unable to give the law or science moral authority.
The ability of scientism to foster a marriage of convenience with mutually agreeable political ideologies has been crucial to its ideological success. A variety of political traditions and scientism have successfully coexisted. Technocratic governance has adapted market-oriented economics and its socioeconomic program from the tradition of the old right. It has taken and internalized the identity politics ethos from the cultural left. Neo-liberal principles and identity politics’ cultural politics have successfully converged despite being otherwise at odds with one another. Within large, woke corporations, the fusion of technocratic governance with identity politics is constantly on display. This has caused the ideological outlook dominating the corporate world to drastically change.
Anyone who reads reputable management journals like the Harvard Business Review will notice that many of the dominant narratives in higher education are influenced by identity politics. It is clear that capitalism has undergone a significant rebranding effort when a Forbes commentator tells readers that woke capitalism is good for the profit margins. Big Business, technocracy, and identity politics came together out of convenience, and this marriage has changed how the public views the corporate world.
Under the aegis of technocratic governance, this synthesis of market economics and identity politics has produced an ideological system that is, to varying degrees, adopted by political classes in the West. This ideological project’s viability depends on two crucial factors: the depoliticization of public life and the complacency of the populace. The benefit of this model, from the managerial standpoint of the political class, is that it lessens the effects of its legitimacy issues by shielding decision-makers from public pressure. The fact that this benefit furthers the separation of the political establishment from the electorate makes it a mixed blessing.
Because of this, political elites have struggled more and more to persuade the public, let alone inspire it. In this situation, the elite is dependent on maintaining public apathy. It gives small, expert-led groups the authority to make crucial decisions without interference from the general public. The democratic content of a citizen’s status is removed through the depoliticization of decision-making.