Tuesday August 10, 2021
Every political ideology has three elements: a vision of hell with an enemy that needs to be crushed, a vision of a more perfect world, and a plan for transitioning from one to the other. The means of transition usually involve the takeover and deployment of society’s most powerful tool: the state.
For this reason, political ideologies trend totalitarian. They depend fundamentally on overriding people’s preferences and choices and replacing them with scripted and planned belief systems and behaviors.
An obvious case is communism. Capitalism is the enemy, while worker control and the end of private property is the heaven, and the means to achieve the goal is violent expropriation. Socialism is a softer version of the same: in the Fabian tradition, you get there through piecemeal economic planning. Every step toward more control is rendered as progress.
This is a paradigmatic case but hardly the only one. Fascism imagines global trade, individualism, and immigration to be the enemy while a mighty nationalism is heaven: the means of change is a great leader. You can observe the same about certain brands of theocratic religious traditionalism: there is only one way to heaven and everyone needs to accept it, and view heretics as forestalling the drawn of piety. The ideology of racism posits something different. The hell is ethnic integration and race mixing, the heaven is racial homogeneity, and the means of change is the marginalization or killing off of some races.