George Walford: Essentially Contested Concepts

The adherents of each major ideology tend to see people holding different basic assumptions as not merely mistaken but wrong, both intellectually and morally. A perception of this has led W. B. Gallie to speak of “essentially contested concepts.” [1] These occur, he says, in aesthetics, political and social philosophy and the philosophy of religion,… read more »

George Walford: Secret Science

SECRET SCIENCE Leo Strauss died in 1973; some of his books are now being re-issued. He thought advanced political ideas valuable but also dangerous; the Enlightenment led to Hitler. His answer was to keep scientific and philosophical thinking secret from the general body of ordinary people. (TLS 1 Dec 89). Such caution hardly seems called… read more »

George Walford: Now, But Then Too

IC35 included (on page 2) a note suggesting that Thatcherism stands closer to old-fashioned conservatism than is sometimes thought, its greater sharpness arising from the need (from the Tories’ viewpoint) not merely to maintain an existing condition but to work back to one that has been largely lost. Christopher Thorne, reviewing a batch of books… read more »

George Walford: Reason for Revolution

The vast mass of non-political people set the limits within which society is able to operate, anything they refuse to accept being “politically impossible.” Effective prohibition of alcohol is one example of this, effective prohibition of abortion another. The people rarely try to argue a case for drinking or abortion, they just carry on with… read more »

George Walford: Odd Notes

In the course of reading one accumulates notes of insights and phrases, to be written up in a future that does not always arrive. Some seem worth recording, if only because others may perhaps find them useful or provocative. In writing of Mussolini’s lieutenant Italo Balbo, Claudio Segre stresses the extent to which his prominence… read more »

George Walford: Yes, We Did Mean It

The suggestion that the political movements form a series (see ‘The Political Series‘ in IC34), sometimes meets with the response: ‘Well, perhaps, but which one is right? Which one do you support?’ The reply, that one supports all of them, is unlikely to be well received, but a commitment to systematic ideology obliges us to… read more »

George Walford: War or Peace?

Since 1945 no major power has used warfare to subjugate another; tensions which in the past would have led to a head-on collision have been kept under control. The change has been ascribed to the presence of nuclear weaponry, raising the stakes to an unacceptable level, and that is doubtless a factor, but we cannot… read more »

George Walford: Repudiating the Repudiators

While we serenely analyse the behaviour of parties and movements, where does IC stand? Every issue makes it clear that we are opposed to the (A-)SPGB (and, though this is less emphasised, also to other “purist” anarchists and anarcho-socialists) and that locates us on the side of existing society in all its variety and with… read more »

George Walford: The Homeostat

In the Domain of Ideologies Walsby speaks of a process by which the conformity of the great majority of members of a large group, such as a nation, is ensured: “If… there arises a comparatively strong, critical faction… which threatens the group with dissension and disruption, the mass suggestion will increase in strength, volume, intensity… read more »

George Walford: A Review and a Reply

This review, by Colin Mills, appeared in the ETHICAL RECORD, journal of the South Place Ethical Society, for March 1987. It is followed here by a reply which appeared in ER for April, both reprinted with the generous permission of the Editor of ER. – GW An Outline Sketch of Systematic Ideology by George W…. read more »