George Walford: The Major Ideologies

Each of the major ideologies is capable of being expressed in relation to any field of existence, in relation to man, the natural World, the physical universe, the realm of ideas, and so on. In the field of abstract thought they appear as the different major philosophies (or classes of philosophies), and they can also be recognised as underlying the various religions, sciences, theories of art, etcetera. In relation to society they have been more fully developed than in some other fields, and here they appear as theĀ familiarĀ major political positions.

The main components of each of these systems of highly general assumptions have been distinguished, and it is accordingly possible to study, so to speak, the major ideologies “themselves,” independently of their expressions in relation to particular fields of activity. They are seven in number and are entitled, respectively: protostatic, epistatic, parastatic, protodynamic, epidynamic, paradynamic, metadynamic [1]. As these names indicate, one of the main features by which each of them is distinguished is its assumption concerning the predominance of one or another form of the static or the dynamic principle in the world, and we shall discuss them firstly from this angle, taking the opportunity at the same time to indicate the political viewpoint especially associated with each ideology.

Protostatic: Those identified with this ideology imply by their behaviour their identification with the assumption that reality is static (or would be so if it were not interfered with). The only changes acceptable are those seen as tending to produce a static condition. The declaration by the Nazis of their intention to establish a state which should endure unchanged for a thousand years was calculated to obtain support from the protostatics [2].

Epistatic: Those identified with this ideology imply by their behaviour their identification with the assumption that although reality is predominantly static (or would be so if it were not interfered with) yet the static situation is often most effectively preserved by compromise with the dynamic principle. This ideology appears in the political field as Conservatism [3], with its willingness to accept changes which are in accordance with tradition or the wish of the people generally, or which will tend to avert greater changes. The attitude of Conservatism toward change can perhaps be described as reluctant flexibility.

Parastatic: Those identified with this ideology imply by their behaviour their identification with the assumption that change is a necessary part of existence but within a static framework. Changes are freely accepted, even promoted, provided they are improvements or adjustments, not affecting the basis of the structure concerned or the essence of the situation. This ideology appears in politics as Liberalism, which is concerned with progress, with perfecting the present social system, but is not concerned to transform this system into a different one.

With the three ideologies above, and the groups identified with them, we have a situation we have met before. Each of them has its own particular assumption concerning the form or degree of staticism which predominates in the world, but all of them are identified with the general assumption that it is the static and not the dynamic principle which predominates. Accordingly these three ideological groups together form a larger group; this group, and the ideology with which it is identified, Walsby terms eidostatic.

The next three major ideological groups are each identified with their own assumptions concerning the form or degree of the dynamic principle which predominates in the world; each of them is identified with the general assumption that it is the dynamic and not the static principle which is predominant, and accordingly these three ideological groups together also form one larger one; this group, and the ideology with which it is identified, Walsby terms eidodynamic [4].

Protodynamic: Those identified with this ideology imply by their behaviour their assumption that change is (or ought to be) universal and that it is (or ought to be) gradual, evolutionary rather than revolutionary. This ideology appears in politics as Labour-Socialism.

Epidynamic: Those identified with this ideology imply by their behaviour their identification with the assumption that change is (or ought to be) universal and fundamental, the appearance that anything may give of being static being a superficial illusion. Change, furthermore, is (or should be) not merely gradual and continuous but includes also discontinuities, revolutions, and it is changes of this type which are most highly valued. This ideology appears in politics as Communism.

Paradynamic: Those identified with this ideology imply by their behaviour their identification with the assumption that change is (or ought to be) universal and abolitionary. The state should not be maintained, adjusted, reformed or revolutionised, but abolished. This ideology appears in politics as Anarchism.

Each of the six groups mentioned above tends to assume that its own ideology is wholly and exclusively true. Like other assumptions this is more often implied than directly expressed. In politics the members of each group endeavour to establish a form of society which shall embody only their own assumptions. In other areas the members of each group assume or endeavour to demonstrate the exclusive validity of views or theories expressing their own assumptions, and to show that those expressing other assumptions are unscientific, or false, or wicked, according to the categories used in the particular field of activity.

Evidently, it is not possible that every one of these major ideologies should be wholly and exclusively true. If one is true then the others are false, or if all are relatively true then all are relatively false. But each ideology, and each assumption of each ideology, influences the behaviour of the group identified with it, confirming something mentioned earlier: the power of an assumption to influence behaviour does not depend upon its truth.

There is still one more major ideology to be brought forward:

Metadynamic: Those identified with this ideology imply by their behaviour that they are not exclusively identified with any one of the various forms of either the static or the dynamic principle but with all of them.

A short diversion is necessary, to avoid appearing wilfully mysterious. Although we do not go into the question in this essay, each of the major ideologies is particularly fitted, by correspondence between its basic assumptions and the basic structure of a certain field of existence, to perform a certain part of the total range of activities needed for the effective functioning of the social organisation [5]. The sphere of existence with which the metadynamic group is, by the nature of its basic assumptions, particularly associated, is the ideological field itself. This group, being concerned with the study of ideologies, is not identified with this or that assumption concerning a particular form of the static or the dynamic principle but with all the assumptions concerning either of them exhibited by the other major ideologies. In the field of politics this ideology does not appear as a separate movement or organisation but as a concern with the relationships between the other major ideologies, their political expressions, and the groups identified with them. The presence of the metadynamic ideology also answers the question whether there can be further ideologies extending the range beyond those given here; the answer is, briefly, that at this point the series returns upon itself. There is little point in going into further details here since the whole of this essay is an exposition of the metadynamic ideology.

[1] These terms were not used by Walsby: they are a recent introduction.
[2] The protostatic ideology is very much more important than appears from this brief notice; The Domain of Ideologies Part I is largely devoted to it.
[3] Throughout this paper names of political parties or movements are to be read as: “The party (or movement) which is known in Britain as. . . ” The ideological equivalents are to be found in all industrial or post-industrial states where they are not suppressed, but they commonly bear different names and often exhibit other differences also. It is partly in order to avoid losing our main theme in these complications that this paper is written largely in terms of Left and Right.
[4] The Domain of Ideologies Part II Chapter 7.
[5] This was clearly implied in Walsby’s work but, apart from some brief references, was not made explicit. It has recently begun to be developed, mainly, so far, in The Enduring Eidostatics. I emphasise here that the functional division between ideologies does no! correspond to the division between economic classes.

Continue reading An Outline Sketch of Systematic Ideology (1977):
The Walsby Society | Introduction | Ideology and the Left | The Field of Ideology | Assumption and Identification | Definition of an Ideology | Ideological Groups | The Major Ideologies | Ideological Development | Intellect | The Group Situation | The Cosmic Situation | Political Individualism and Collectivism | Economic Individualism and Collectivism | Personal Ideological Structure | Social Ideological Structure | Conclusion | Papers on Systematic Ideology