George Walford: Editorial Notes

A new treatment for pain in the lower back entails an injection of meat tenderiser into the affected area. If we had been treated like that we’d keep a wary eye out for anyone coming near with a carving knife – or a knife and fork, for that matter.

A correspondent enquires why IC has not been using the names for the major ideologies which appeared in Ideologies and their Functions and elsewhere, the series running: protostatic, epistatic, parastatic, protodynamic, epidynamic, paradynamic, metadynamic.

Our answer lies in a remark of Hegel’s; he pointed out that we often fail to understand the familiar just because it is familiar. There are few things better calculated to produce a feeling of familiarity than an accustomed name; when the names are not used, the effort to find descriptive phrases forces an effort of comprehension.

Against that is the argument that for people encountering systematic ideology for the first time these names, just because they are, to them, unfamiliar jargon, emphasise its novelty (several readers of the publications using them have complained about them for this reason); without them it is easier for the concepts to be distorted to comply with familiar ways of thinking.

It can be argued either way, for using this series of names or against doing so. Probably the important thing is not to take up rigid positions on a minor matter; it is unlikely that the future of systematic ideology will depend upon the use or non-use of these few words. Our own feeling is that these specialised terms are best used as a sort of shorthand to facilitate discussion among people familiar with the ideas as they have so far been developed. IC will in future use them at least occasionally, to ensure that they remain available to those who find them useful.

from Ideological Commentary 18, June 1985.