Philosophy A Century of Philosophical Writers Block

Yinko

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From about the 1860's to the 1920's all the ideologies we fight over today were founded.
  1. Das Kapital was published 1867.
  2. The Fascist Manifesto was published in 1919.
  3. The Economic Consequences of Peace was published in 1919 (by John Maynard Keynes and was where he first consolidated his ideas which shaped modern free-market Capitalism).
  4. Anarchist literature is a bit hard to pin down a good start for, a bit anarchic if you will, but The World's First Anarchist Manifesto was published in 1850.
In a 70 year time span all the major ideological areas that still define the modern world were codified, and all of them became popular international movements due to the Great War (roughly 100 years ago). Historically, this isn't actually normal. If you look further back you see a regular rise and fall of political trends that more or less follow generational patterns. The period before the Great War was a fertile field of dozens of political and economic ideas.

What does this say about us? One possibility is that it says that the same underlying appeal that originally made them popular is as true today as it was then, or perhaps these all tap into some unspoken universal truth of the universe and it only took us ten thousand years of human civilization to finally uncover it. These are possible, but extremely depressing. Another option is that a hundred years ago we suddenly became too lazy to come up with anything better.

My own opinion, at the moment, is rather that radio first became a common household item at around the time of the Great War. Mass media for the first time in history, not just a tool of propaganda but also a tool of marketing. What will draw listeners better than finding something people feel passionately about? How do you find something people are passionate about? Just look at existing ideologies and talk about them, spread them.

Historically, movements died out over time because their adherents grew old and couldn't recruit new members by word of mouth anymore. With radio doing so much work for people, spreading ideas far and wide, recruitment became multi-generational, extending long past the idea's natural lifetime. With new members the free-market of ideas monopolized thinkers and fire-brands, stifling creative new ideas to problems in favor of rehashing old ideas that had already proven to be problematic.

I got to thinking on this issue yesterday, so I haven't had a lot of time to flesh it out yet. If I've made a point that is mistaken, please correct me.

What would I do to fix things? No idea. What can you do to come up with ideas that gets around this centennial writer's block?
  1. Define the problem.
  2. Place it in an unbiased context.
  3. Game your solution.
Let me give you an oversimplified example.
  1. Wealth inequality. This causes unrest but also motivates the workers to succeed. How do you minimize unrest while retaining the drivers of success? (Hint: defining the problem this way inclines the answer towards specific kinds results)
  2. The workers in Proxima Centary are only given enough for one transit to the nebula, their bosses are given enough for five and their bosses for 47. To solve the problem, the high-geneticist altered all new births to have extremely high motivation and low materialism.
  3. This means that they are fundementally changing their nature as a species. It would be very easy to take over the species that way and institute any changes to their natures you wanted. If you were already in a position of authority, you could also potentially exempt your own family and friends from that move, thus effectively making yourself the defacto rulers of a functional slave society.
Is it a good solution? No. Is it an original solution that isn't based on any of the existing ideological models? Yes!
 

Atarlost

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Is it a new solution not based on any existing ideological models? It sounds to me a lot like the "New Soviet Man" except with genetic reprogramming that might work substituted for social programming that historically didn't.

I don't think new philosophy is that easy and I don't think the modern philosophies are all new either. Fascism deliberately draws from 1st century BC Caesarism. Communism also takes cues from Julius Caesar in the form of the confiscatory populism of his land reform plan and tries to apply it to non-agricultural capitol. Rosseau is also involved. Anarchy appears to come from taking Rosseau's state of nature seriously and trying to return to it. Capitalism traces back to Bastiat and Locke with Keynes providing an excuse for populist wealth transfers.

The youngest roots are from near the birth of philosophy of government in Europe.
 

Lord Invictus

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This is an interesting discussion.

The same conflicts now are the ones we saw in the 1910s and earlier.

One thing to note-the left-right dichotomy which originated in the French Revolution is still the paradigm for political conflict.

To take a stab at it-I’d say fascism, communism, anarchism, civic nationalism, multiculturalism and all the isms that are actually relevant today have to do with major questions.

How shall society be organized?
What is worth more? Freedom or equality?
Should societies be based on some abstract idea or something more tangible like blood and ethnicity(or more generally a specific culture)
If a society is not based on a shared culture what is it based on?
How will economic life be organized? And from this social and political life?

These are questions that would not be asked in one either a medieval or earlier society. Or two some utopian world where problems were resolved.

The 20th century can be seen as a struggle to give an answer to these questions. It appeared over in 1991. But liberal democratic capitalism has shown it’s limitations.

And so clearly the answer has not been given.

The same issues of the 19th and 20th century are with us today-if not in the same surface form as then. So you could argue that 1848(the revolutions across Europe that signaled the death knell for the old order which had reasserted itself after the French Revolution) to 2020 is a distinct historical period.

I’d say that all these ideologies and philosophies exist in as part of a distinct epic in human history where certain foundational problems are asked and their answers fought over.

I suspect however the answer will be decided by the end of the century.

The 19th through 21st centuries strike me as a distinct historical epoch in a macro historical sense.
 

ParadiseLost

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The 20th century can be seen as a struggle to give an answer to these questions. It appeared over in 1991. But liberal democratic capitalism has shown it’s limitations.
[Skepticism]

It's less that it has limitations, more that people are fucking it up through gross incompetence. I don't think a person can in good faith take a look at America today and say "The system failed the people," rather than "The people failed the system."
 

Yinko

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I don't think the modern philosophies are all new either.
Not really. There are other ideologies, just not in direct conflict with those, that were founded after, like enviromentalism.
These are really good points. Especially as the interpretations of popular systems mutate over time. Plus you also get not-so-memorable movements that are either unopposed (environmentalism) or peter out (Objectivism).
What is worth more? Freedom or equality?
Freedoms are categorized as a certain hierarchy. National freedom from foreign influence, political freedom to decide your country's direction, personal freedom to make choices in your life (I haven't looked it up recently, there may be more) the more fundemental the freedom, the more people that single freedom effects, the more fight for it. Hence, why people are willing to put up with dictators in order to gain sovereignty. Equality sort of touches upon this but sort of runs along side. Equality can be described as forms of personal and political freedoms.
 

S'task

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From about the 1860's to the 1920's all the ideologies we fight over today were founded.
  1. Das Kapital was published 1867.
  2. The Fascist Manifesto was published in 1919.
  3. The Economic Consequences of Peace was published in 1919 (by John Maynard Keynes and was where he first consolidated his ideas which shaped modern free-market Capitalism).
  4. Anarchist literature is a bit hard to pin down a good start for, a bit anarchic if you will, but The World's First Anarchist Manifesto was published in 1850.
Your premise is false.

The Modern Conservative Ideology and its philosophy, was expressed and codified starting in the 1960s and 1970s and has been the dominate ideology of the American Right since that time. Granted, it was a synthesis philosophy that did draw on older ideas, mainly the Classical Liberalism of the late 18th century and the Austrian Economic school that was brought back into prominence in the 1970s via Hayek; however, the unique fusion that is American Conservatism really did not originate until those two decades and has been waging a guerilla war against the dominate left wing ideologies since.
 

Yinko

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The Modern Conservative Ideology and its philosophy, was expressed and codified starting in the 1960s and 1970s and has been the dominate ideology of the American Right since that time. Granted, it was a synthesis philosophy that did draw on older ideas, mainly the Classical Liberalism of the late 18th century and the Austrian Economic school that was brought back into prominence in the 1970s via Hayek; however, the unique fusion that is American Conservatism really did not originate until those two decades and has been waging a guerilla war against the dominate left wing ideologies since.
Isn't the basis for Neo-Conservatism mainly economic-conservatism and global protectionism? I would generally say that fiscal policy is the least important determining factor in defining the Liberal/Conservative dichotomy. Granted, extending national power overseas and reducing the size of government can be presented as social policies, but in actuality the way they are typically presented is in regards to lowered taxes and the balance of trade.
 

OliverCromwell

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I too have never heard of John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Leo Strauss, Alain de Benoist, Mao Zedong, Guy Debord, Michel Foucault, Ludwig von Mises, Amartya Sen, Judith Butler, Milton Friedman, Theodor Adorno, Frantz Fanon, Alasdair MacIntyre, Thomas Piketty, William F. Buckley, Hannah Arendt, Friedrich Hayek, and all of the MMT people. There have been no major political or economic thinkers in the last 100 years.
 
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