You don’t like me? I sure like you… Political Ideology as State of Nature
With the last few blogs being politically oriented, I feel I should perhaps take a step back and attempt to elucidate the origins of the major political ideologies from the standpoint of a simple transference of theories on human nature itself.
As stated in an earlier blog, the negligible difference between the right and the left come down to simple picking and choosing of positive and negative freedoms. These selections come from a much more basic premise, usually established early in one’s life through religion, education, and personal experiences- namely, the view of humans as a whole.
So to take the right/conservative/republican position is to state that individual citizens are too ignorant/stupid/sinful to decide moral conflicts on their own. Who to marry, what substances to put in your body, a woman’s reproductive rights, euthanasia, and others serve as moral conflicts which the right routinely states through its legislation and speeches that individual citizens are just too damn stupid and need to be instructed like a child.
With the left, it is quite similar but it covers different areas. So, for example, which school your child goes to….you’re too stupid to choose that unless you are rich enough to take them out of our abysmal public school system. How to save for your retirement, which foods you and your children should eat, and many other issues form the basis of the left’s insistence that you the individual are just too damn dumb to figure this out.
If one were to combine these two seemingly negative views into human nature…one might find something akin to Lenin’s insistence on a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat,’ or the ‘vanguard proletariat.’ When the Russian Revolution was going under way and Lenin was about to return from Switzerland to overtake the provisional government, the methods of the revolution were made plain. The citizens are too stupid so along with the period of what Marx called ‘raw communism’ (violent adjustment period which Lenin began and Stalin perfected) there would have to be massive indoctrination, strict adherence to Lenin’s interpretation of Marxist ideology, and many other things. Lenin believed that with enough generations being fed the same meal, eventually the proletariat would become intelligent enough to fully realize the ‘workers paradise.’
As the quote from Hayek which began my blog on moral exhibitionism states, there are people who feel that from their tradition, their ideals, their notions of right/wrong, or even just their privileged status- they feel that all should live under their enlightened vision for social cohesion and mass uniformity. I find myself in the libertarian/anarchist ideology which from the outset must state as a theory of human nature that humans are basically rational (not good or bad mind you) but are able to pursue their own lives with little interference. Sure, there are going to be screw ups, there are going to be cracks. However, the government, advertising, religion, and other institutions of power don’t set their sights on the cracks and the screw ups- they include everyone into their paradigmatic vision.
In the end, my dear readers, the left and the right start from a pessimistic view of the human individual and it is through the media that group mentality is perpetuated and thus we are more easily controlled and shuffled from one end of the spectrum to the other. If you think humans are basically bad, sinful, stupid, etc. then you would love the writings of Thomas Hobbes and Vladimir Lenin. If you think humans are free and are basically rational creatures that left to their own devices usually do good- then you would enjoy the writings of the existentialists, John Stuart Mill, libertarians, and anarchists. But try one day to mentally list your honest political beliefs as far as government involvement in individual’s lives and then translate that into your theory of human nature- it may very well shock you. For many, being a misanthropic humanist is not a contradiction or even a paradox….it just takes a couple of celebrity magazines staring at you in a book store to create.