WhereDoAlternativesComeFrom (ThoughtStorms)

Engaging with Phil about his MovingToTheRight, Darius thinks he comes up against an underlying theme.

We both think we're coming from an 'empiricist' position. In this context, that means: arguments about which social institutions and processes are desirable should be backed up empirically rather than with talk of 'dialectical necessity' and the like.

Phil thinks that right-wingers have an advantage here if they argue: 'let social structures evolve piecemeal, and trust those that work; distrust radical schemes that have been reasoned in the abstract but may fail disasterously in practice'. (See TopicsDiscussedHere)

If we are unhappy with the status quo, where can we turn for ideas of alternatives? And if we are empiricists, how can we argue for institutions that do not (yet) exist against those that do?

Some possibilities:


"isn't this just what the Hegelians were up to?" - Well which pieces of working institution were the inspiration for the way society was set-up in Soviet Russia? China? etc?

Actually, the disturbing thought is that the most obvious working alternatives are rigid hierarchies like the army and bureaucracies. If we can only point to these as alternatives, the right really has won the argument.

CategoryPolitics, CategoryEconomics