George Walford: Ideological Notes

SECURING THE BASE Social development renders the earlier ideologies not less but more secure as, with each further advance, the successors who arose in opposition to them undergo division.

Expedience became more secure against any threat from Principle with the emergence of Precision. This brought liberalism, drawing into the new movement (which emphasises the rights even of those who have been caught acting in unprincipled ways) many who would formerly have remained with (the movement which later became known as) conservatism.

Principle became more secure against any threat from precision as the Reformist ideology developed, drawing its support from people who had reached the Precision stage and would formerly have moved no farther. Through the later 19th Century liberalism was able to meet conservatism on more or less equal terms, but as labour-socialism developed, attracting people who would formerly have remained with liberalism, so that movement weakened.

Precision became more secure against any threat from reform as the Revolutionary ideology developed, drawing its strength from supporters of reform, proclaiming its inadequacy and sometimes, as in Germany in the early 30s, supporting its opponents against it.

Reform became more secure against any threat from revolution as repudiation developed, producing conflict between the revolutionaries wanting to work through proletarian dictatorship to an eventual withering-away of the state and those demanding abolition of the state and coercion without any transition period.

And with the recognition that no one of them can eliminate or effectively suppress its predecessor comes recognition of the need to accept them all, together with all their hostility and opposition.

COLLECTIVE PRECISION. Systematic ideology links science, especially physical science, with the ideology of Precision. This ideology stands just short of the midpoint of the range, it belongs to the eidostatic class. (Although only just; one step farther and dynamic thinking begins to preponderate). Such a view conflicts with the romantic image of the scientist as a lone adventurer, throwing off traditional restraints and striding boldly forward to new discoveries, but when we turn to those who study the way science works we find statements like this: ” The Galilean myth canonizing deviance … ought not to blind us to the pervasiveness of … authority as a source of scientific conviction. Indeed, the progress of science may be viewed as a dialectical contest between the authority sedimented in the training of scientists, an authority reinforced by social sanctions, and the innovative initiatives without which no scientist will be rewarded.” {Alan G. Gross 1990, The Rhetoric of Science Harvard, 13).

ACCORDING to the Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, the Gulf War stopped with Saddam Hussein still in power partly because RAF and American pilots were reluctant to continue the massacre of defenceless Iraquis. Evidently those who do the killing are not helpless before those who order it. How can they be? Who can dragoon the dragoons? (Incidentally, while these brutal men wanted to end the slaughter one of those gentle, loving, caring women, Mrs. Thatcher, urged that it continue). [1] Evening Standard 2 Aug.

PATRIARCHY: “Of course I was the disciplinarian. If the children misbehaved I warned them I’d tell their mother.” (Chaim Bermant).

from Ideological Commentary 53, Autumn 1991.