George Walford: Editorial (60)

The centralised state is not the only expression of the Domination ideology, just the most successful one so far. To the extent that it weakens, its competitors recover their freedom to act, and most of them do not seek peace and plenty for all; they pursue their own interests, and in doing so drag society back towards a feudal or pre-feudal condition, with the local would-be lords struggling to establish themselves. Writing in Anthropology Today (December 1992) Paul Richards suggests that the low-intensity conflict now endemic over much of Africa is testing the idea of ‘society’ to destruction. Rebels, terrorists, bandits, ethnic factions and freedom fighters have stepped into the gap opened by nuclear stalemate, and not only in Liberia, Mozambique, Angola and Somalia; eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have started along the same course.

We don’t in fact need to go even that far afield; the regressive tendency appears among the para-militaries in Northern Ireland, and in those parts of British cities where the gangs win partial control.

Paul Richards speaks of a need for fresh beginnings. Fresh beginnings for those particular groups, perhaps, but the path is well marked; it leads through the centralised authoritarian state to the attempt to improve it, and beyond that to the reformist and revolutionary movements. ‘The autonomy and freedom of the individual can only be guaranteed by participation in an extended order relying on historically rooted and validated morals, legal and cultural assumptions, which nevertheless offer firm ground from which to pursue realizable change’ (Mark Almond).

The alternative view, favoured by most revolutionaries, that weakening the state will help towards the changes they seek, assumes general adoption of their own eidodynamic ideologies. When they can demonstrate the probability of this their proposals for action will be worth considering; so far, evidence and reason are overwhelmingly against them.

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Ordination of women has disappeared from the headlines since a decision took the drama out of it. It may split the Church of England into two organisations, or cause some to leave, but is unlikely to affect its doctrines and course of action any more than votes for women affected those of political society. Religious organisations, like political ones, are governed more by ideology than by gender.

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Mr. Major has claimed to be working for a classless society, and his opponents have scorned him for it, crying that inequality has increased during his premiership. Being a Conservative, it seems unlikely that he ever intended otherwise; ‘classless’ does not have to mean ‘egalitarian.’ Conservatism sees the desirable society as made up of individual people, differing in income and status but not divided into classes having opposed interests.

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Why does systematic ideology speak of six major ideologies (seven with the ideology of ideologies)? Because that is the number which best contributes to understanding. The evidence permits subdivision of these or combination of two or more. (S.i. sometimes uses a division into only two great ideological classes, eidostatic and eidodynamic.) Six (or seven) major ideologies includes enough detail to permit useful conclusions, and probabilistic predictions, without getting lost in endless interrelations; with any much larger number the verbal complications alone become prohibitive.

James Gleick reports on treatment of the same problem in physical science:

The choice is always the same. You can make your model more complex and more faithful to reality, or you can make it simpler and easier to handle. Only the most naive scientist believes that the perfect model is the one that perfectly represents reality. Such a model would have the same drawbacks as a map as large and detailed as the city it represents, a map depicting every park, every street, every building, every tree, every pothole, every inhabitant, and every map. Were such a map possible, its specificity would defeat its purpose: to generalise and abstract. Mapmakers highlight such features as their clients choose. Whatever their purpose, maps and models must simplify as much as they mimic the world. (Gleick J. 1988 Chaos; Making a New Science London: Heinemann, 278).

from Ideological Commentary 60, May 1993.