George Walford: We Are Not Alone

On finding the essence of s.i. expressed, better than we have been able to put it ourselves, by somebody who has almost certainly reached it independently (and incidentally, in the course of other work), it is difficult to know whether to feel pleased or disconcerted. This is by M. I. Finley:

A ruling ideology is of little use unless it is accepted by those who are being ruled. That acceptance was widespread not only in Rome but in the more stable Greek city-states is evident, given the relatively small coercive power available internally. I say this without any application of Machiavellianism or of a ‘devil theory’ of history. No one said to himself, We must find an ideology that will bend the people to our will; nor did the mass of the people regularly and consciously say to themselves, Our attitudes and beliefs require us to take a particular course of action. Ideology, or rather the set of ideologies, a Weltanschauung, is the matrix of attitudes and beliefs out of which people normally respond to the need for action, including the need arising from a command, without a process of ratiocination leading them back to the attitudinal roots or justification of their response. (Authority and Legitimacy in the Classical City-State in Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskah, Historisk-filosofiske. Meddelelser 50.3. Kobehavn 1982)

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Haringey Council consider that playing at “cowboys and Indians” tends to make children racist and toy soldiers, militarist. In an effort to combat this they are constructing a playground designed for “peace games” and a replica African village. On reading a report of this in the Daily Telegraph David Blizzard wrote to the editor (17 Dec 85) drawing attention to a battle game played by adults, in which white and black struggle for victory and elitism is displayed, with royalty, aristocracy and the church enjoying greater power than the plebs. He suggests that Haringey Council should now go on to ban this evil game. (David Blizzard is thirteen years old).

from Ideological Commentary 21, November 1985.