Showing posts from May, 2014

False prophecies – and Islamism as political ideology: Part II on Popper and ideology

This is the second part of a four-part essay applying the ideas of Karl Popper to the ideologies that have secured particular social power in our contemporary world . Part I preceding this introduced the context, in which Popper has been widely misappropriated by the right, and neglected by the left - wrongly, because he was liberal, and his sympathies were with the left. This second part of the essay gets into his critique of Hegelian and Marxist ideologies and explores how contemporary political Islamism is largely based on these theories. ‘Historicism’ is the term under which Karl Popper lumped all ideologies of history, from those of Plato and Aristotle through to Hegel and Marx, political communism and Nazism. For Popper, historicist social theories were those that claimed to understand the progression of history, and thereby reliably predict the future. What Marx did wrong in his view was not to make predictions that turned out to be wrong, but to claim scien

Karl Popper and the fight against nonsense ideology. Part I

This is the first part of a four-part essay applying the powerful critiques of Karl Popper to contemporary ideologies which have gained significant social power – focusing in particular on Islamism and ideological forms of feminism (those forms which have become dominant in left-wing politics). This first part engages with the way Popper has been mistakenly appropriated by the free market right, and makes the case that he should be adopted by the liberal-left, not least because he was liberal and of the left. “ The future depends on ourselves, and we do not depend on any historical necessity. There are, however, influential social philosophies which hold the opposite view .” ~ Karl Popper If guilt comes with association then on the left you do not get much guiltier than receiving Margaret Thatcher’s seal of approval. This is the fate of Karl Popper; perhaps the best critic of authoritarian and totalitarian ideologies there has been, yet somehow associated

UKIP’s European surge – lessons for the left

UKIP’s political ‘earthquake’ has happened. In these latest elections for the European Parliament, this party of no MPs in Parliament, no councils under its control and a seemingly substantial body of weird and not-so-wonderful candidates has secured the largest percentage of the vote and the largest number of MEPs of all the political parties in Britain.   This is despite a hugely-impressive campaign of sneering contempt from liberal opinion in Britain and latterly the mass media too – the Murdoch papers in particular. To paraphrase (and reduce) one of Bob Dylan's most cutting lyrics , something has been happening here, but some of us have little or no idea what it is, and others want to shut it down. There is a lot that could be said, so I’m just going to concentrate on what may be a bit different from what others have been saying. First up is the matter of what we might call ‘existential’ representation. Look at Doncaster for example, a place represente