Who Killed Political Thought?Posted: 10 January 2013
College of Political Knowledge
Subject: Political Philosophy/Political Theory/Ideology
Back at the end of the Ice Age, when I was in college I studied political philosophy and ideology….they were not the same course…it was separate studies….that has vanished in today’s political world. There is NO longer political thought or philosophy only a political ideology…..again, in my day….not the same thing.
Political philosophy was such writers and thinkers like Burke, Machiavelli, Mill, Paine, Ricardo, Aquinas, et al…….today ideology is dictated by such organizations as Heritage, Family (whatever), Demos, strategists and campaign managers…..there is NO deep thinking anymore….just shallow nondescript issues….petty thoughts for petty minds…….
Political philosophers looked at the state, the nation, rights and duties and obligations of those that chose to participate……..Great works like Leviathan, Common Sense, The Social Contract and Natural Rights Of Man….great thinkers from the 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries…….ideas that shaped all of mankind….and then the pea brains started speaking, from the 20th and into the 21st century….no real political thought just a montage of slogans, one liners and sound bites…that is the “great” thinking of today.
After the French Revolution, Antoine Destutt de Tracy created a branch of study concerned with ideas……and it became ideology….he wanted to establish ideals of thought and action based on an empirically verifiable basis where both criticism of ideas and a science of ideas could see the light of day.
A helluva idea! Taking the formation of ideas, mostly political, and turning it into a science. And for about a hundred years it was so……the formation of ideas that could be verified and debated….but then something went horribly wrong.
The 1912 presidential election still had some political philosophy or an ideology….but it was on the wane……but not before some strong, valid points were made by TR and his Bull Moose Party……..to include…………..True to Roosevelt’s progressive beliefs, the platform of the party called for major reforms including women’s suffrage, social welfare assistance for women and children, farm relief, revisions in banking, health insurance in industries, and worker’s compensation. The party also wanted an easier method to amend the constitution.
By the last of the 20th century……ideology was being re-defined as slogans, insults and one liners…..it became more about elected a certain strain of individual and not about ideas to make the country a better place…….the big thinkers of this period were Newt, the Speaker of the House and here is his big political thought……
………In 1995, Gingrich, then speaker of the House, wrote a memo for GOPAC, which trains Republican candidates, citing language as “a key mechanism of control used by a majority party.” In his inimitable, insufferable fashion, he went on to say that his videotaped GOPAC courses had elicited a “plaintive plea: ‘I wish I could speak like Newt.’
“That takes years of practice. But we believe that you could have a significant impact on your campaign and the way you communicate if we help a little. That is why we have created this list of words and phrases,”..
He went on to give those Republicans who wanted to “speak like Newt” a list of “contrasting words” that he urged them to use in their campaigns: “These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals and their party.”
The list included several words and phrases that are by now routinely batted about in the course of public commentary about the opposing party, usually by Republicans against Democrats..: “betray,” “bizarre,” “cheat,” “corrupt,” “destroy,” “endanger,” “greed,” “hypocrisy,” “ideological,” “incompetent,” “liberal,” “lie,” “machine,” “mandate,” “pathetic,” “radical,” “sick,” “taxes,” “traitors,” “unionized,” “waste” and “welfare.” There were many more listed.
Newt’s influence is still being felt and used…..and America is NO better off!
And the Dems were no better………Bill Clinton and his cronies at the Democratic Leadership Council were the “big” thinkers on the Left…..they were the ones that made globalization, outsourcing and financial manipulations possible……with all their free trade agreements that did little for the middle class to their repeal of Glass-Steagall which made the 2008 collapse possible…….theirs was not about the country either….it was about the creation of wealth not the governing of the country and its people……
The DLC has not going away….it’s influence is still a hard part of any Democratic platform…..and America and its people, the majority, are NO better off!
Political thought was dying slowly but by 1995 the pace quickened and as it is today….true political thought is dead! Now all we have is regurgitation of insulst, slogans and one liners….true thought of how to make the country a better place is over….for the last 20 years the whole process of electing a president is pathetic and a joke.
America will return when real political thinkers gain the upper hand but until then we will be governed by amateurs and posers!