Download Ideology and Politics by Dr John J Schwarzmantel PDF

By Dr John J Schwarzmantel

This publication demanding situations the assumption of post-ideological consensus and provides a clean standpoint at the present nation of political ideologies. Ideology and Politics provides an available account of a brand new period of ideological politics, the place the dominant neo-liberalism has spawned a various international diversity of ‘ideologies of opposition’. It situates those radical frameworks of swap and protest with regards to extra conventional ‘anti’ ideologies and seeks to re-establish the relevance of ideologies for political motion within the modern world. 

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In the writings of de Tocqueville, there is contained a realisation that individualism could take pathological forms which would undermine the healthy individualism which liberal thought wanted to cultivate (de Tocqueville, 1966: 652–4). De Tocqueville’s analysis seems quite relevant to our contemporary society: he feared that the new American democracy could let despotism in by a new route, since a society in which individuals narrowed the circle of their preoccupations to encompass only their immediate interests could breed an indifference to politics which would open the way for despotism (de Tocqueville, 1966: 896–902).

It is true that this is stating the idea in its most traditional and aristocratic form. Conservative thought reacted more flexibly to the dynamism of the (at that time) new society by shifting its focus from a traditional aristocracy of land, from the fixed and rigid inequalities of throne and altar to a more open attachment to new elites, to the new forms of hierarchy appropriate to an industrial society. In the words of a study of the French Right in the mid-19th century, ‘The “new aristocracy” had to reconquer the esteem, the power and the influence necessary to integrate morally a society shattered by egalitarianism and universal suffrage’ (Kale, 1992: 38).

The reality is that the picture painted by de Tocqueville of a society in which individuals concentrate on their particular interests and neglect wider communal concerns is a more accurate picture of contemporary liberal-democratic society than the more solidaristic one aspired to by Marxist and other socialist theories. The reason for this is not to do with any essentialist conception of human nature (that humans are ‘naturally’ selfish or lack impulses to more cooperative modes of behaviour), but can be arrived at from within socialist theory itself.

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