Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Utopianism? Hypothesis: Broken Discourse

That voters are ignorant comes as no surprise to anyone who isn't themselves ignorant.




Hypothesis: most discourse is broken, not just layhuman discourse. I expect any working discourses to work by accident, not by design.




Test: let's have a discussion about utopianism and revolution. My general impression is that anti-utopianism is opposition to legitimately broken political philosophy by way of strawmen. It supposes that utopian philosophers suggest a flawless, suffering-less society is possible, and in the process tend to be not anti-Progressive, but anti-progress. (Agree that proggies are probably utopian...we'll see, as below.)

Can I get a summary of how I might recognize a utopian system, and why I can be sure that these features predict that the political philosophy is self-defeating?

4 comments:

Aretae said...

Have you rad "a conflict of visions?"

Alrenous said...

I have not read it. Only read a little bit about it.

Capdain said...

If you read Bloch's "The Principle of Hope", you can infer, every political project is utopian. Add Mannheim's "Ideology and Utopia", you can infer Ideology is "anti-progress" and utopias are not. A good example of such a transformation from utopia is the capitalist one (or the bourgeois revolutions). Habermas's "transformation of the public sphere" is a summary of this, imho.

That self-defeating political philosophy, that risk or problem is I suppose what Marcuse labels as "the vicious circle of radical politics". Adorno's negative dialectics or David Harvey's dialectical utopianism can be proposing exits from that vicious circle. All of course happening on the theoretical realm. In practice, horizontal movements seem to do much better than hierarchical ones since power relations are more "egalitarian". The voters' ignorance is an outcome of the hierarchical, representative democracy proposed in the modern state. Once politics become functional and its function, logic pre-defined and fixed, only politicians need to know, the rest may remain ignorant. Add that the inequalities capitalism inherently generate, not only the discourse but the practice is broken too.

from someone who studies utopianism and radical politics...

Alrenous said...

I can infer that every political project is utopian without reading it.

The idea that the movement must believe in perfectibility is mostly a straw man. Nobody really believes people are perfectible, it's all in degrees of possible improvement. (Similarly, if you look at housing choices, you can see nobody believes in universalist equality.)

I've never seen anyone who thought society, the sum of human action, could not be improved in some way.

Thing is, human improvability is an empirical question. You're just as wrong if you place it too low as too high.

Even the Progressive's wildly malleable view of human nature is not often proven wrong; the voters tend to go where the proggie institutions push them. Their propaganda is wrong about the downstream effects, not the possibility of change. For example, they can make not hiring 'diversity' to be considered a faux pas, but they can't make it so that hiring 'diversity' makes the firm stronger.

I suppose I could say it shorter; they can almost arbitrarily change human action, but they can't change the effects of those actions.

What is an ideal system of jurisdiction, then? It is the system whose effects are the best possible arrangement of effects.

Everyone is utopian.

Or, you can take utopian to mean the perfectibility thing, in which case ~nobody is utopian. They believe in uniting contradictory effects.

The only thing everyone agrees on is that we're far from utopia.

The only thing I can support is that, with the charge of 'utopian,' the writer is saying nothing; the reader must bring their own message.