Reconciliation Quarterly: Review of Ideologies and Their Function

This review of Ideologies and Their Functions appeared in Reconciliation Quarterly.

Ideologies and Their Functions. George Walford, 1979. Obtainable from The Bookshop, [address] Price: £3.95 HB; £1.95 PB.

An interesting book. One cannot help liking a book which begins by pointing out that “I am mad about my flat” means “I am delighted with my apartment” (UK) or “I am furious about my puncture” (US). For a work of its kind it is almost free from jargon, except for the basic terms of classification, which are pretty awful. Ideologies are eidostatic or eidodynamic. The first includes the protostatic (exemplified by the Nazi or Fascist, and by the army, which comes in for a just but shattering analysis), the epistatic (Conservative, police, teachers, entertainers, TUs), the parastatic (Liberal, science); the second the protodynamic (Labour-socialist), the epidynamic (Communist), the paradynamic (Anarchosocialist). Other facets analysed include economic collectivism or individualism, political collectivism or individualism, group identification, cosmic identification, intellectuality. I find this helpful in some ways, not in others e.g. it obscures the similarities between communist and Fascist practice. Walford argues for a seventh position which he calls metadynamic, which treats all assumptions as problems (including its’ own?). Ideology is the means whereby human beings relate our volitional behaviour to our environment. Each group produces significant social effects, and the groups are complementary to one another; each is a functional constituent of a fully-developed society. Our object must be “the establishment of a society which shall ensure full development and full expression, both in theory and in practice, for all ideologies, suppressing nothing but suppression itself.” I repeat, an interesting, if not wholly convincing book.

from Ideological Commentary 6, March 1980.