Ideology is a term used to name a particular use of ideas in the field of politics. Through frequent use, it has evolved to become a more generic term — usually a form of disparagement — that can be used in many contexts. And usually as an analogy for an impractical or irrationally dogmatic allegiance to a set of ideas. But Ideology is a term that developed to describe a particular form of dogma, as it is used in politics: a dogma that allows a group to obtain political power.
SECTION I. DEFINITIONS
Ideologies are a product of the enlightenment. With the enlightenment the concept of self governance becomes accepted, and with self governance comes new ideas for how we should be governed — or more accurately, now some group (we) can govern other groups (others) for our (subjective) common good.
The enlightenment was caused by a combination of pressures. Certainly no small part was the rise in population that led to the protestant reformation. Or the shift in trade from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, and the discovery of North American. But most importantly it was caused by the Thirty Years War that led people to question their most basic assumptions, rejected the past. And from those questions, a class of intellectuals arose who made use of this new method of thought.
An ideology is the set of integrated doctrines consisting of myths, assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program, that can be used by a portion of the population, to justify and obtain political power within a given social, political and economic system.
PROPERTIES OF AN IDEOLOGY
I. Ideology In The Narrower Sense: Obtaining Power
1) An ideology is a form of opposition to the Status Quo – the current order of things.
2) An ideology is the product of people thinking at the extremes, and contains an extreme vision: a utopian vision.
3) An ideology must promise that the world will be materially improved within a single lifetime, and further, that there is urgency required to achieve it.
4) An ideology must contain a body of ideas reflecting the needs and aspirations of a group, class, or culture.
5) An ideology must be usable to obtain political power, ostensibly for enacting the body of ideas.
6) An ideology must be simply stated, so it can be understood by and will motivate the masses to support a set of elites who promote the program.
II. Ideology In The Wider Sense: Maintaining Power And Governing
7) An ideology must be defensible by intellectuals in the movement so that they can defeat competing peers.
8) An ideology must contain specific steps that can be used by a population to establish the stated goals.
9) An ideology must suggest specific forms of government and means of decision making.
10) An ideology must define a different set of deprivations by which people demonstrate adherence to the ideology, and which ‘pay for’ and demonstrate a willingness to ‘pay for’ the new social order.
11) An ideology must define a different categorization of property, and a different distribution of those categories.
12) An ideology must contain a program by which people who have less power and economic opportunity can obtain more power and economic opportunity. Humans flock to opportunities, and opportunities require large scale coordination of efforts using the pricing system, and the multitude of commercial organizations. It is this shift – identified opportunity – that moves the masses and the electorate. Whether it be to redistribute a concentration of wealth and power, or to remove barriers to the attainment of wealth and power: social status.
III. Ideology In The Broadest Sense – Advancing A Program Or Policy
There are a vast number of minority propositions that promote specific programs that require the use of collective resources to achieve certain ends, at the expense of existing or alternative ends. Groups within the state manufacture ideological positions in order to obtain support for policies.
Ideologies Deny Or Discount Secondary Costs
An ideology expresses the idea that the rewards of the ideological program outweigh the costs of enacting it. This denial of the costs of transformation – denying that the set of costs imposed upon others is meaningful, is what makes an ideology ‘ideological’. And it is what separates utopian programs from practical and realistic programs. In general, the Conservative argues that any change is acceptable that does not cause externalized costs. Any such program is a net add to society. Any transfer of costs, is simply taking from one group and giving to another group using political violence rather than ‘fair’ market processes.
IDEOLOGIES ARE REQUIRED TO HOLD OR OBTAIN POLITICAL POWER
Nationalism – an expression of language and race, or Cultural Uniqueness are the most common forms of Ideology. Class is yet another. In-group and out-group conflicts are the currency that funds the development of ideology. And ideologies will be developed wherever such conflicts exist.
But the world of human society is complicated and people in those societies are different ages, different classes, in different micro-economies in patterns of sustainable specialization and trade, and possessed of different abilities, knowledge and experience, facing scarcities of different kinds, not the least of which is status, which controls access to opportunities, and opportunities are our greatest security against future risks.
Therefore conflicts will eternally exist, because access to consumption, stimulation, mates, status and power is scarcer than is the demand for it. And natural abilities will win out in any circumstance.
In this world of complexity, ideologies must build coalitions by accumulating as many backers as possible. These backers can be obtained by access to power, access to status, access to commercial opportunity, or by triangulation,they can be used for elimination of threats to power, status and monetary opportunity. Ideology is marketing.
ALL DOMINANT IDEOLOGIES ARE CLASS IDEOLOGIES
To Shift political power from one class to another requires an alternative to nationalism. It requires a class based ideology.
Once the middle classes had effectively taken over government from the nobility, some method of making decisions was necessary. Through most of history, the citizenry had resisted the nobility. But upon seizing power the people in the new parliaments and other houses of representatives needed a means to resist ONE ANOTHER, and a program of ideas with which to gain the support of the electorate so that they could gain and hold political power.
ALL DOMINANT IDEOLOGIES ARE ROOTED IN BIOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES
IDEOLOGIES ARE THE PRODUCT OF POLITICAL EXTREMES
SECTION II. IMPACT OF IDEOLOGY ON TYPES OF STATES
THE CHALLENGE FOR FEDERALISM AND FOR EMPIRES
During the private-state era, prior to the public corporeal state, religion was the means of achieving political power by placing limits on the actions of the state, and legitimizing state actors when they adhered to the religious doctrine.
The development of ideology took place during the era of the nation state when political power was obtained by groups using a combination of ideology and physical force. At that point, the government and therefore the state itself, ceased being private property, and instead became a commons.
And religions are no longer necessary, and are terribly expensive by contrast once the private state is replaced by the corporeal state. Ideologies are lower cost, more disposable, and easily created than religions, because there is a lower bar necessary to obtain power in a corporeal state: one needs numbers, but very little commitment from participants other than votes..
Ideologies that are structured as rational arguments, are directly the result of government as a commons, and only exist because various groups have access to political power, but need to accumulate numbers in order to obtain that power.
Empires need an alternative to nationalism, or Cultural Uniqueness.
Samuel Huntington defines Torn States as those countries that are seeking to affiliate with another civilization. For example, Turkey which is part of islamic civilization seeks to affiliate europe. Mexico, Russia and Australia are all torn by a difference between cultural systems and their political systems, secular and economic systems. Mexico torn between it’s indian heritage and south american culture and the wealth of the USA. Quebec between its authoritarian socialist heritage and entrepreneurial english speaking canada. Russia, failing to succeed in taking over the byzantine empire, is torn between its orthodox and slavic roots, its asian eastern territories, and the wealth and political assets of the west. Australia between its anglo heritage and its economic and commercial ties with asia.
According to Huntington “A torn country must meet three requirements to redefine its civilizational identity. Its political and economic elite must support the move. Second, the public must be willing to accept the redefinition. Third, the elites of the civilization that the torn country is trying to join must accept the country. As noted in the book, to date no torn country has successfully redefined its civilizational identity, this mostly due to the elites of the ‘host’ civilization refusing to accept the torn country.”
If huntington is correct, (it appears that he is) and states cannot change civilizations, then ideologies have limits. While it may be possible for a group to use an ideology to obtain power. Or to obtain power and then propagate an ideology from within a position of power. And hold power because of the economic advantages of the ideological alignment, it appears that power, ideology and economics are not capable of compensating for cultural, religious, tribal, and linguistic differences.
George Freidman extends Huntington’s ideas further and discusses the problem of broken states. Ukraine is torn between it’s christian west and byzantine east, italy between its germanic north and greek south, The UK between england, scotland and wales. The Basque region of spain. Multiple regions of the united states, in particular the Great Lakes Rusting East, the conservative south, the Cali-Mexi-fornia region, the coastal northwest from the interior, and the heartland’s vast farms.
But in critical terms these conflicts are differences in population density, race composition, family structure, and mythology (religion).
A ‘broken state’ contains the following internal forces:
- Competing Status Signal Systems (Identities)
- Competing Family Structures (Extended families, nuclear families, serial monogamy or single-parent)
- Competing Mythological Narratives (values)
- Competing and conflicting norms (manners, ethics and morals
- Competing economic interests
- Natural class conflicts
- Different racial or tribal compositions
AND the following external forces acting upon the region:
- Use of taxes or external funds for purposes that are against the will of the region.
- Interference with laws that reinforce preferred local norms.
- Undesirable Immigration that threatens a, b, and c.
- inter-state transfers are imbalanced (germans don’t want to fund greek and italian laziness)
a) Resolution of disputes in commerce.
b) Mutual military defense.
c) Insurer of last resort.
d) Lender of last resort.
The rest must be left to the states for that federal governmnet to persist.
Empires are by definition broken. An empire is a federal government over unwilling regions that would prefer independence. Empires function if and only if border states are under threat of conquest from civilizational boundaries.
SECTION III. PROGRESSIVE IDEOLOGIES AND CONSERVATIVE ANTI-IDEOLOGY
ALL IDEOLOGIES ARE PROGRESSIVE
PRO: “WE CAN SOLVE ANYTHING WE PUT OUR MINDS TO”
CON: “ACTUALLY, WE CAN COMMIT SUICIDE”
Conservatism was movement that developed as a reaction to the french revolution. The french revolution demonstrated that political activism, even if it consists of people who intend to produce with the most beneficial ends, can create horrid death and destruction. Conservatism was then reinforced by the the impact of communism and socialism, which, while supposedly ‘scientific’ and ‘rational’ and ostensively for the common good, not only caused the deaths of 100 Million people, but also ruined economies, cultures, and set back economic development wherever it was adopted for a hundred years.
CONSERVATISM IS NOT AN IDEOLOGY – IT IS AN ANTI-IDEOLOGY
Conservatism is skeptical of human reason. And more skeptical of human motivations.
CONSERVATISM IS A SENTIMENT
Human beings consistently and universally demonstrate a small number of cognitive preferences. .. They are: ….
CONSERVATISM IS A PHILOSOPHICAL BIAS
CONSERVATIVES EXPRESS THEIR SENTIMENTAL BIAS AS FAVORING CLASSICAL LIBERALISM
THE FIRST RUNG OF CLASSICAL LIBERALISM IS CONSTITUTIONALISM : THE RULE OF LAW
THE SECOND RUNG OF CLASSICAL LIBERALISM IS FREEDOM: THE ANGLO SAXON RIGHTS OF MEN.
THE THIRD RUNG OF CLASSICAL LIBERALISM IS MERITOCRACY
THE FOURTH RUN OF CLASSICAL LIBERALISM IS MULTIPLE COMPETING HOUSES OF GOVERNMENT REPRESENTING SOCIAL CLASSES.
CLASSICAL LIBERALISM AND CONSERVATISM ARE THE PRODUCT OF THE ARISTOCRATIC CLASSES