George Walford: The Inverse Ratio
The major ideologies have emerged in sequence, each of them more highly developed, and having fewer people identified with it, than the previous one. Each of them has persisted to support the next, giving the ideological pyramid. An inverse ratio obtains, between the level of ideological development and the number of people attaining it. The higher the development, the lower the number; the higher the number, the lower the development. Harold Walsby, founder of systematic ideology, formulated this as the inverse ratio of quantity to quality.
IC has avoided this phrase. The common equation of ‘higher’ with ‘better’ already leads to the misconception that s.i. presents the more advanced ideologies as being, in some general sense, of greater value than others; to speak of them as possessing higher quality would seem to support this.
Avoidance, for this reason, of a concise and effective formulation now begins to look like a failure of courage; expediency has its place, but in the construction of theory only a minor one. ‘Higher’ does not have to be read as a synonym for ‘better’; a high window is not better to fall out of than a low one, and when we describe a statement as ‘the height of absurdity’ we do not mean that we think particularly well of it. High quality is seldom attained without commensurate loss of other qualities (economy, sturdiness and general availability often among them), and this limits its value, in ideological matters at least as much as anywhere else. The eidodynamic ideologies, especially the more advanced ones, divert the attention of their adherents from expedient action towards theoretical considerations and ultimate objectives, thereby limiting their social effectiveness. (The contrary tendencies impose limitations on the eidostatic ideologies).
‘The inverse ratio of quantity to quality’ expresses a relationship without making or implying any value judgement, and this formulation will in future be included in IC‘s vocabulary. (Though it will usually appear with an abbreviated version of the explanation above).
from Ideological Commentary 57, August 1992.
- PSI Circular Number Two (February 1979)
- PSI Circular Number One (January 1979)
- Joshua Feldman: Reconceptualising (systematic) Ideology in the Wake of Political Psychology
- George Walford and Ike Benjamin: The Sad Case of the SPGB
- Linda Sloane: Systematic Ideology and Identity / The Triangle of Society, Ideology and the Individual
- Their “Operation Utopia”
- George Orwell Letters to George Walford
- George Walford: The New Magic
- George Walford: Exploring Ideology
- George Walford: Sciences