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  1. #1

    Default Politics eschew? The Perfect vs. The Real

    This is a topic which I've been mulling over for a while, although particularly after watching Fire Fly and Serenity which I seriously believe where huge long expositions of neo-conservative or at the least new conservative thinking.

    Those movies contained a solid ciritique of perfectionism, first a vague, general optimism or sense of fair play is admonished but later political ideologies which dont reflect pessimism and laissez faire authorities, first in a past tense civil war struggle between confederation and federation, then in the vagabond smugglers struggle with a (I'm guessing Chinese) space tyranny.

    This is a theme which I've seen played out too in South Park, Team America and other pop cultural media.

    Now personally I tend to consider myself a pretty balanced person, not given over to either indulging optimism or pessimism, the RC theologian Hans Khun suggested that it was a virtue to avoid either realpolitik or idealpolitik and I tend to believe that's correct. Sometimes I think that I can sympathise with Orwell's short term pessimism with long term optimism (1984 is supposed to epitomise this, he depicts enduring decency among the common people which could provide a post-regime refoundation but for the time being there a gang of crooked intellectuals will imagine that producing broken men amounts to a win). As far as sloganeering or quotable quotes goes I've always liked Gramsci's optimism of the will, pessimism of the intellect but it can mean different things to different people.

    The thing is that I dont believe that prefectionism any way restricted to the left wing as most of these cultural medias seem to suggest, in fact Fire Fly and Serenity tend to suggest that its not just folly to entertain perfectability but also to entertain more moderate goals of a better tommorrow by any measure.

    This "best of all possible worlds" philosophy bugs me, it was once deployed by fuedal lords and guildsmen against the capitalists and liberals who are contemporary conservatives or who share or imagine they share a common ideology. So I dont believe its true. So I dont buy, all change is change for the worse.

    In the mean time while repeating that I dont believe that contemporary conservatives actually practice that, in the UK at the moment the coalition of capitalists are forging ahead with some of the radicalist changes and cuts since the Thatcher regime solid off all the public assets and established that as the new political consensus from the eighties until now. Its pretty clear to me that there's a view of the perfect spheres of state and market in play there, they're pretty unashamed about it and not too cautious about trying to realise it.

    Its done so without much of a second thought, when the other guy does change its a perfectionist folly which will kill us all, when we do it its just coming to terms with reality seems to reign in politics. Which disappoints me because politics shouldnt mirror the behaviour of sports fans at a stadium. Everyone suffers when it becomes a mere spectacle like that.

  2. #2
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    The ironic thing about perfectionism is that its very reliance on idealism and oversimplification causes it to be less perfect than the alternatives; the benefit, though, is in its ability to stir the hearts of men to push for the betterment of humanity. Such is the place of imagination and hope in social policy: to provide the direction and the motivation. The means to most adequately move in that direction is, however, better left in the hands of cold calculation of the real and perceivable.
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    The ironic thing about perfectionism is that its very reliance on idealism and oversimplification causes it to be less perfect than the alternatives; the benefit, though, is in its ability to stir the hearts of men to push for the betterment of humanity. Such is the place of imagination and hope in social policy: to provide the direction and the motivation. The means to most adequately move in that direction is, however, better left in the hands of cold calculation of the real and perceivable.
    Do you think its more characteristic of the left or right wing in politics? By better left in the hands of etc. are you meaning that direction and motivation are better served by the political left or right or is that a broader statement than definable political affiliations?

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