Who Killed Political Thought?

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!

17 thoughts on “Who Killed Political Thought?

  1. I’m officially shocked. How can one study politics without philosophy? How can you study politics without also studying human purpose and motivation?

  2. Actually Machiavellian principles are still in play today – do what ever it takes to get elected or stay in power. It was Lee Atwater that initiated this practice under Reagan and Bush, being the attack dog that manufactured negative crap against their opponent without trying to substantiate it. Rove and Newt were protege’s of Atwater

      1. Lobotero,

        I was merely pointing out that “Machiavellian principles” are heralded by the left as well. It is manifestly true that Chicago Democrats participated in voter fraud. To stay in power, Democrats participated in undemocratic and unconstitutional electioneering. And it occurs to me that this disruption of democracy is far more egregious than telling simple lies like the Republicans in Larry’s example.

        I could have also pointed out the dirty tactics employed by the Left in this last election. To give just one example: Mitt Romney gave an anti-Obamacare speech in which he said that he likes the freedom to fire his insurance company. Leftists turned that into: “Mitt Romney likes firing people,” a perfect addition to the evil capitalist narrative.

        I fully accept that both sides play dirty tricks. Republicans are no better, but at least I’m willing to admit, unlike some, that “Machiavellian principles” are not solely a product of rightwing politics.

  3. 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…….

    First of all, “Family (whatever)” should read: “Family Research Council.” Second, you make it seem as though only rightwing organizations are directing the show. What about Planned Parenthood, Think Progress, Center for American Progress, Climate Institute, and so on?

    “Demos” may be left wing, but they are such an insignificant organization that few of your readers would even be aware of their existence.

    no real political thought just a montage of slogans, one liners and sound bites…that is the “great” thinking of today.

    Like Hope & Change, right?

    The party also wanted an easier method to amend the constitution.

    Wilson too was a progressive that believed the Constitution was without relevance in the modern world.

    That brings me to my next question: Why does the left so often want to change the Constitution?

    Some changes are understandable (e.g., the addition of the Nineteenth Amendment), but the left’s obsession with changing the Constitution is more than the process of amendment. It’s about drafting an entirely new Constitution. >[1]

    Why is that? Could it be that without the Constitution, which constrains their ideology, radical social change would be much easier to come by? I suspect so.

    With respect to the link, and not necessarily anything you may believe:

    This egalitarian notion that we need a “fairer” country is self-defeating. Government cannot ensure both liberty and equality without wrecking one of them. So you must choose which one you want. Do you want freedom or the restriction of your neighbor’s freedom so he doesn’t end up with more than you?

    I ask that question because the only equality available in a free society is the equality of legal protection. Everyone should be entitled to the same treatment and protection provided by law, but everyone cannot be equal otherwise.. From birth, we are fundamentally unequal. Some people are smarter; some people are stronger; some people are faster; some people are artistic while others are scientific: some are neither.

    According to a study that examined SAT scores by race, white people are better at reading and writing than Asian, Hispanic, and black people. Asians are better at math and science than white people, black people, and Hispanic people. And of course there are exceptions to these averages. God blesses us all differently.

    With respect to Newt Gingrich’s word list.

    Liberals have a list of liberal buzzwords and phrases themselves: “equality,” “fair share,” “choice,” “social justice,” “truth to power,” “solidarity,” “progressive,” “hate,” “hate speech,” “evil mongers,” “green,” “going green,” and a plethora of other nauseating liberal code words.

    What you see as an end to political theory is more or less each side trying to implement the political theory they fancy. It hasn’t ended. On one side you have freedom limited by objective morality; on the other, egalitarianism supplemented by relativist morality.

    I choose the former.

    1. Why are you so paranoid? I was not picking one group over another only when writing these were the ones that pop into my mind….basically, I ask where is political thought and you go about telling me all about those bad guy liberals…pretty much proves that real thought is truly dead and we are left with people that cannot think past one liners….name calling is NOT political thought.

      1. Lobotero,

        I’m not paranoid. I gave a complete answer. I didn’t attack you as being biased, but I suggested, in case some of your readers were confused, that rightwing groups are not solely responsible for what y ou perceive as the destruction of political thought.

        Why are you so paranoid, Lobotero? You get defensive at the slightest indication of dissent.

        I suggest the Constitution of the United States of America is the political thought of America itself. And I asked you why the Left is hellbent on changing that thought. Why are you so afraid of that question?

        I also said that what looks like the demise of political thought is actually two different ideologies battling for supremacy. The political thought of each wing, I think, is pretty much settled. Now comes implementation. And guess who’s winning? The Left, so be happy.

      2. If I was defensive I would resort to tried and true tactics…insults….one liners….massive links….yada yada….why do you and others keep spreading the stuff about changing the Constitution….just how is that being done? I believe the Constitution is pretty specific and I have not seen any movement in that direction…….

        This post is about the lack of serious political thought today….BTW…I am afraid of NOTHING….the only thing that worries me is that there seems to be little discussion just a revert to the name calling and accusations……

        Neither party has the best interests of the country at heart…..if they did we would have actual governing going on instead to the pathetic posers that are in DC now…..

      3. Lobotero,

        If I was defensive I would resort to tried and true tactics…insults….one liners….massive links….yada yada….why do you and others keep spreading the stuff about changing the Constitution….just how is that being done?

        Why do you ask such absurd questions? I offered you the link. Did you read it? Probably not.

        Also, when Nancy Pelosi was asked if Obamacare was constitutional, she said, “Are you serious? Are you being serious?”

        Meaning, “Are you serious? This is too important to worry about that.”

        Nancy Pelosi also favors changing the First Amendment.

        And of course we already know what liberals think of the Second Amendment. So don’t tell me that conservatives are imagining things. The leftwing push to change the Constitution is evident.

        This post is about the lack of serious political thought today….BTW…I am afraid of NOTHING….the only thing that worries me is that there seems to be little discussion just a revert to the name calling and accusations……

        I love how you try to ignore everything I say by accusing me of insulting people.

        You’re just an angry person, Lobotero. You constantly bemoan the dealings in Washington, but when pressed to give some semblance of a solution yourself, you can only muster some half-assed comment about all politicians being “pathetic posers.”

        They’re offering solutions at least. What are you offering? Nothing.

        I at least offer my own brand of political theory, but you refuse to consider or even respond to it in any meaningful way. You accuse me of blaming everything on liberals, yet I’ve done no such thing. I merely explained that, in my view, liberals are pushing to radically alter the Constitution, an idea, a political idea, that has guided this country for over 200 years. You ignore the evidence and say I’m imagining things.

      4. Speaking of….. absurd…..people that sleep with one eye open looking for crap that never happens….and you sir are paranoid twit looking for some bullshit …….the people that ignore evidence is your types….I know I ask questions and hope for some intelligible answers but you do not help….your only enjoyment is insulting….that is why this is so fucked up….

        I realize that your think that your thoughts are far superior than everyone else…..and that is your opinion and by god stick to it….but I have an opinion also and it is NO less important than yours….but I would not expect you to see it that way…..

      5. Lobotero,

        Crap that never happens? Sure. The French Revolution never happend. Lenin never took over Russia. Hitler never killed 6 million Jews. Roosevelt never wrongfully imprisoned American citizens. Communism never spread to a third of the world.

        Yep. I’m just a paranoid right-winger…Tell me again: Who is ignoring evidence?

        If I didn’t care about your opinion, I wouldn’t ask for it.

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