Beyond Politics Reviews by The Scientific and Medical Network Newsletter

George Walford is concerned here to extend the definition and scope of ideology beyond its Marxist identification as “false consciousness” to demonstrate that ideological considerations underlie and dominate political thinking. He begins from what he calls the British political series of conservatism, liberalism, socialism, communism and anarchism, adding that the largest category lying outside these labels is the non-political group based on the “ethos of expediency”; he then characterises the ethos of the other groups, such as conservatism as principle and, more questionably in my view, liberalism with precision. It is much more convincing when he later suggests that science is based on an ethos of precision and traces its emergence through social history. Another key idea, borrowed from Harold Walsby, is the distinction drawn between the “eidostatic” ethos of expediency, conservatism and liberalism, and the “eidodynamic” ethos typified by the reform of socialism, the revolution of communism, and the repudiation of anarchism. The interaction of these two tendencies, has, in the author’s view, defeated the reforming efforts of eidodynamic ideologies in a manner exposed in the 50s by Karl Popper. The book is a useful discussion of political maps, but stops short of positing the emergence of a new ideology. It occurs to me that the interplay between unity and interconnectedness may throw up an ideology which goes beyond a bald statement of green principles.

Continue reading Beyond Politics by George Walford (1990):
Preface | Introduction | Politics as Ideology | The British Political Series | The World Political Series | From Politics to Ideology | Ideology Beyond Politics | The Beginnings | From Village to Empire | After The Empires | The Eidodynamic | The Origins of Ideologies | The Evolution of Ideology | Conclusion | Appendices | Notes & References | Select Bibliography | Index | Synopsis

from Ideological Commentary 53, Autumn 1991.