I’ve held many views.
My entrance to politics and philosophy was via the Bible and Christianity. I got a little bit older. A little wiser. Then I hit hard Left.
I’m still hard “Left”. But there’s a ceiling to that. There’s a ceiling to all ideologies.
There’s one idea that I hate. It’s the one commonality that all ideologies share. It’s this: “human beings are tribal. Because we’re tribal, we have to be united against a common enemy”. Therefore the purpose of ideology is to win.
Why do I hate that?
Because we recognize our tendencies. We know it’s stupid. And we do it anyway. If we know the classic “Us Vs. Them” is bullshit , why continue to validate it?
I was listening to a left-wing, Marxist-friendly podcast (not gonna say which one because I cite it so often). The talker praised a British “Corbyn-ite” for not personally associating with Conservatives. “They are the enemy” he said. That’s a horseshit attitude.
Ideology, as I’m using it here, is a personal “philosophy” that’s adapted to fit a political message. Ideally, it should be arrived at through rigorous independent thought. Ideology has to represent US. We can’t reverse engineer our thoughts to fit IT.
But that’s what we do. We try our best to fit our thoughts into a common framework. Thus tribalism festers.
But the objective of political action fundamentally contradicts tribalism. That is unless a political body wants exterminate entire peoples. But usually, the objective is to do what’s best to manage the subjects, citizens, electorate, etc (whatever you want to call them). I’m speaking broadly here. Are there any bodies out there that want to fuck up its own nation? But it’s easier to organize peoples when they are operating under a given set of principles…like an ideology.
Both democracies and dictatorships like this. Governments tend to last longer when everyone’s on the same page. They’re more stable. Even if certain political actions hurt others, if you can convince them that it’s for their own good…all the better.
Ideologies, as a political instrument, simply don’t work if you can’t convince people. They have to convince opposition. That’s the ultimate test to it’s validity. Failure to do so simply results in more tribalism. When this happens, everyone sounds like a dork arguing about the superiority of Star Trek over Star Wars or Kirk over Picard.
Which is why I hate hearing it’s a “fight till death” to bring about socialism. What’s the fucking point if people are going to die to satisfy my political ends? I don’t give a fuck about being right, I give a fuck about people LIVING BETTER.
My political views become meaningless if they don’t serve the wellbeing of everyone. Then politics is a dork fest. I don’t despise capitalism and champion alternatives for shits and giggles. I don’t want “socialism” for the sake of “socialism”. I champion it because it (mostly) shares my desire for the betterment for everyone. That’s the fucking point.
I don’t know. I might be explaining this in a convoluted way.
The Right-Left distinction isn’t something found in nature. It’s a tradition we hold in westernized political discourse. Ideologies are just mental constructions. That’s the case for all ideologies, even non-political ones. I am NOT a democratic socialist. I just hold views that (mostly) agree with the democratic socialist agenda. I don’t live and die by it. Which is why it’s strange to link our identities to a party or politics.
That’s a losing cause.
The question to be asked isn’t “how can I make the world fit my ideology”, but “what kind of world do we want to create.”
“But we’ve got to be pragmatic”, someone might say. Hence we must embrace a cynical approach to politics and humanity. That’s how we end up with our current system….a system that favors the few….devalues labor….and dangles hope of bourgeois life in front of us, so that we may work harder and demand more. The masses carry the load while the few benefit. On and on the cycle goes. That’s being pragmatic.
Is that the world you want?