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Marta Podemska-Mikluch

Eric - thank you for engaging with the ideas of Wagner's Entangled Political Economy. I think you're quite right in noting that Wagner is worth reading due to his arguments regarding fragility of liberalism. 

On your first point, I disagree that Wagner slides into illiberalism. I think that's a reasonable impression one can get from the various references to Schmitt but I think Wagner uses Schmitt purely for descriptive, and not prescriptive, purposes. 

As for giving up on moral egalitarianism, I think again we run into the problem of distinguishing between social dynamics as Wagner describes them and what he might view as desirable. The paragraphs you see as a rejection of egalitarianism, I read as a description of why social complexity breeds the autonomy of the political. It might be helpful to think of Wagner's argument as based on looking from within the system. The porters and the philosophers feel more closely connected to others in similar social positions—surely, we do not feel equally well connected to all the other members of society. Our affinity with different individuals and groups is a matter of epistemics, dispersed knowledge means that we feel more sympathy for those in similar circumstances, those who are similar to us. So far, I think this is a descriptive claim. And that descriptive claim, the realist account of social relationships, is the explanation for why there is autonomy of the political: 

"From this divided quality of knowledge, human nature does the rest of the work in intensifying the autonomy of the political. For Schmitt (1932), the autonomy of the political rested on exceptional circumstances and the friend-enemy distinction. Exceptional circumstances mean that a rule of law cannot be articulated that will cover every possible point of decision that might arise. The presence of exceptions is a point where the autonomy of the political enters into society. The friend-enemy distinction is a feature of the crooked timber of humanity that surely intensifies with increases in societal complexity and the hierarchical ordering in terms of status that comes in the train of growing complexity."

Whether this epistemic notion of diversity in social relations means a rejection of moral egalitarianism, I don't know. I think for Wagner, egalitarianism would be defined in terms of relationships between individuals. As long as these connections are cooperative and voluntary—as in liberal social order—we have an egalitarian society. 
But the social complexity, and social distance, creates room for nonlogical action, eroding cooperation and introducing coercion.  

Only the very last section of Politics as a Peculiar Business, starting on page 218, connects to what Wagner believes to be the (imperfect) solution to the Faustian bargain: concurrence of interests or government competition, or what he elsewhere describes as genuine federalism or overlapping jurisdictions. 

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