Saturday, October 27, 2012

The GREAT DISCONNECT : our 200 year old party ideologies vs today's Science

Today's parties are as old as her !!
It might surprise many but all of our governing party ideologies - ALL of them - are as old as Queen Victoria.

Before the rise of mass democracy, there were no need for formally constituted political parties with a consistent political ideology to rally around --- all that began to change after the end of the Napoleonic wars.

Check out the formal birth date for any party of your own choosing : from the British Conservative party to the American Democrats to the German Social Democrats to the Russian Communists to the Spanish Anarchists and you will find the ghost of Queen Victoria hovering over them.

All of them born trying to deal with the new world, post Napoleon and post the American and French Revolutions.

(Note ye well , I said our governing parties: the Green Parties decidedly postdate the Queen's death in 1901 but have not yet been the sustained majority government in any country.)

So all our parties have moved along, more or less, with changing times --- but their ideologies have not - by definition.

(Any "ideology" that changes with the polls, like some Mormon weathervane or Etch a Sketch, is many things but it is not an ideology.)

We can not modify or update core ideologies anymore than we can modify or change our date of birth : we can only drop one and take up another, as many did in the decade of the 1910s , going from being Liberals to become Labour voters in Britain.

The problem with all our Victorian political ideologies, from Conservatism to Communism, is that they are - well - so bloody Victorian : so optimistic , so activist, so human-oriented.

They are all the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed children of the optimistic First law of Thermodynamics --- the governing meme of the physical and social sciences of their day.

Other philosophies of their day (based upon religious or on  science of the natural history kind) were more Nature-oriented and more skeptic of the possibility of humans successfully controlling reality.

But these philosophies failed to engender any really successful political ideologies, though they did sponsor some fairly successful political parties.

 Such as Germany's Christian Democrats , who despite their 'Christian' name are rather too easy to confuse with plain old Conservatives or Republicans.

The GREAT DISCONNECT : in the 200 years since our party ideologies were created, science has changed ---- but they haven't.

Roll the movie ahead 200 years : now the Second law of Thermodynamics is the governing meme of today's (21st century) science ----- and it is as mutually hostile with our creaking old 19th century party ideologies as can be imagined.

Unless we develop new - 21st century - political ideologies to go along with our better current understanding of natural reality than what we held in 1812, we will find our political Rhetoric will always fall short of our real world physical Reality - to great cost to us and our world....

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