George Walford: Exploring Ideology

Ideology used to mean false consciousness, distorted thinking and end ability to change. For Marx it meant reaction. That was in the 19th Century and thinking has moved forward. Now Roy Hattersley writes on his own Labour Party having an ideology and Noel Sullivan uses “Conservative Ideology” without conservatives objecting. One firm publishes a series under the general title Modern Ideologies. Ideologies has become acceptable.

Ideas and Assumptions
Each of us has an ideology which affects all of our intentional acts. It comprises not only ideas but also assumptions. We often remain unaware of these and they affect we do without our knowing it.

Movements Arise
The members of each political movement differ from each other in race, class, income, status, education, personality, and particular ideas. They act together because they accept the same general assumptions.

Short and Long
Ideas, being specific, change with circumstances but assumptions, especially the more general ones, tend to persist. This does much to explain the longevity of the main political movements.

Beyond on Politics
The influence of ideology extends beyond party politics. It affects philosophy, religion, industry, law, education, science, psychology, taxation, interest rates, markets, house prices, share prices, reform and revolution and resistance to them.

Ideologies Have Developed
The major ideologies have emerged successfully through history, eidostatic ones first, the eidodynamic later. [1] Each of them has persisted, providing the basis on which its successor rest.

The Pyramid
Each emerging ideology has attracted less support than the one before it, so that the ideological structure of modern society resembles a pyramid. Each level supporting the next (see diagram on back page).

Power Belongs to the People
The best-supported and therefore most powerful ideology is still the primary one, the ideology of the nonpolitical people (of all classes) with their interests focused on personal and family affairs.

Social Stability
While adherents of the earlier and simpler ideologies continue to outnumber those of the more advanced we have to expect pursuit of individual interest to predominate in the economy, with hierarchy, nationalism and tradition prevailing political and social affairs. Recent events in (what used to be) the USSR have demonstrated that the earlier and simpler ideologies continue to receive most support there, even after seventy years of attempts to suppress them.

These paragraphs outline some results of the study known as systematic ideology. Work continues; fuller accounts appear in the publications listed opposite. Ideological Commentary welcomes correspondence.

Beyond Politics
An Outline of Systematic Ideology
An introduction and general survey.
160 pages, £2.95 ($5) Post free.

Angles on Anarchism
A challenge to orthodox interpretations.
70 pages, £2 ($4) Post free.

Ideological Commentary
An Independent Quarterly of Systematic Ideology
Now in its 14th year.
Annual Subscription £2 ($5)

Send stamp for specimen copy. (Outside UK, free on request).
All available from: Calabria Press, [address].
Dollar cheques on American banks welcome.

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[1] Eidostatic: accepting or seeking to perfect existing conditions. Ediodynamic: seeking to replace them with something radically different.

1994