Vinnie Ferraro speaks on witnessing a political apocalypse

By Miranda Donohue

Collegian File Photo
(Collegian File Photo)

Vinnie Ferraro, a renowned Ruth Lawson professor of politics from Mount Holyoke College, spoke Wednesday on the disintegration of the Liberal World Order to roughly 25 students during his talk “Present at the Apocalypse” in the Integrative Learning Center room S131 at the University of Massachusetts.

Due to dominating forces in world politics like globalization, climate change and extreme wealth inequality, Ferraro started his speech by painting a depressing – though not hopeless – picture of a collapse in the current world order.

“We can either protect private property or we can protect the Earth,” he said.

Ferraro eluded early on to three pivotal institutions derived from liberalism including representative democracy, market capitalism and constitutional law.  Through the use of historical events like the Enlightenment and World War I, leading up to current times, he predicted that “the world order we all know will soon collapse from the inside.”

Ferraro later created a parallel between the rise of fascism and communism in the 1920s to what we are seeing in the modern day political arena.

“The American Congress is not working,” Ferraro said. “They are failing us.”

Ferraro also provided the audience with some advice on politics.

“There is only one truth in politics I believe,” he said. “If you want power over someone, you make them know fear first.”

The corruption of a small, elite international community and severe concentration of wealth in the world was also a main point of discussion, with Ferraro expressing frustration over the publicized depravity of world leaders.

“If we could tax this money, think of what we could do with the money for the social good,” said Ferraro, encouraging the audience to explore new options.

The lecture concluded with questions from the audience.

UMass freshman and political science major Brian Atwater asked, “With the liberal states in retreat and other powers on the rise, do you think a new equal world order could be in the making?”

Ferraro replied that his “biggest fear is that there will be no state (willing) to impose order. When you have a bunch of states believing they can get away with something…you get the Germans and Auschwitz.”

When asked what a college student should be doing to fix this corrupt and flawed system, Ferraro gave an inspiring answer to conclude his lecture.

“(The) first step is education,” he said. “Educate yourself. What you’re doing right this very moment is what you need to be doing. Find something you’re good at, then find a problem and save the world.”

Ferraro will be retiring after this year, concluding his 35 years as an international relations professor at Mount Holyoke College.

Miranda Donohue can be reached at [email protected].