Basarab Theory of Ideological Evolution
Comments on Theory in Paragraph Form
The Basarab theory of ideological evolution elaborates on the foundational precepts of a given society, the thought process of individuals and the relationship between the two. It explains how individuals can change and how the official institutions and government that control society can successfully stay in power despite much shaking “under the ground” and still hold onto slogans that were invented long ago. This theory systematically explains this phenomenon without any references to “human nature” and genetics, focusing instead on systemic factors (sociological and means of production), typical human thinking and potential human thinking! According to Basarab, people are capable of challenging the status quo but history has shown that ideologies that are no longer relevant tend to stay in existence due to the fact that people do not live up to their potential to change (due to societal factors, laziness, believing to have figured out the answer) and also due to the tangled sociological and economic relationships inherit to society. While technology may improve, people may relocate and demographics may change, many people create a way of thinking and then hold on to it, certain opinions are popular and certain opinions are understood to be the law.
Basarab also denies that revolutions are caused solely by horizontal movements in society’s thinking, but instead postulates that the type of thinking that leads to the revolution may have existed long before the conditions rose to the surface and gained a material advantage which, as opposed to popularity or “justice,” determines who rules. Fighting a revolution is like fighting a war with another country, the winner takes all. To Basarab, society has its dissidents, but the ruling group in society restricts the appearance of any substantial dissent and often systematically tries to keep it in the closet. A revolution then is mainly a dissident group achieving material advantage and the horizontal agreement of ideology is only important to the extent that it aids this material advantage. In short, while having the support of populist opinion makes ruling a society easier, unpopular regimes can still exist and hold onto power. As conditions change and philosophers think and communicate, the views of large segments of society can eventually change while the ideologies of the ruling class stay constant and this makes for tension (comment: the intersection between Basarab and Marx). In contemporary society, this is not rare.
The “popular opinions” of society may move a modest amount faster when the means of production change or a message is communicated and the slow changes eventually do add up and while the consensus of society can perhaps superficially appear to circle around, knowledge is only erased from people who have amnesia. This is important, society may be slow moving, but it is not “stopped.” Young people are influenced by the developments of the previous generation and continue the process and if they rebel, that is still not “backwards movement” but reactionary movement, still classified as “forwards.” A current slow pace of change, according to Basarab, explains the present but not ancient status of society and its agonizing apparent state of being stuck in liberal capitalism more than “the media” which is one environmental factor out of many, regulated by market forces and not a vacuum separate from society. Evolution can be devolution, depending on a person’s perspective. Individuals, perhaps in alienation to popular opinion, may change their opinions more but the perception of what is “normal” does not change as fast as the opinions of the most innovative people in society.
His theory leaves open the possibility that this could change if the will power existed to change it. If enough people are willing to self-criticize, then the cumulative pressures against the “normal opinions” would accumulate faster than otherwise which helps to gain a material advantage (but is insufficient on its own). Another important component of the theory is the breakdown of the idea that the media completely dictates society and alternative suggestions which instead relegates the media to “just being a business.” Basarab is a skeptic of the idea that the media is like a computer programmer who can just engineer any ideology into society easily and even believes such attempts to vertically engineer society out of touch with the material conditions typically leads to a backlash. This does not necessarily stop the media from trying, as Basarab realizes that the ruling class promotes ideologies through media, but he does not see this as an excuse for YOU to improperly develop YOUR OWN thinking! If you accept Basarab’s theory, then you have no excuse for not questioning authority and really engaging your thought process and can only blame yourself!
The key themes that appear in the theory are business forces, will power, the brainwashing of children, the bigotry of adults, the limitations of the media to change the opinions of adults without consent, the invention of ideologies around conditions and the transmission of ideology through communication based on the open-mindedness of the audience. This theory is not a “racial nationalist” theory. The implications of the theory imply that the environment is extremely important, perhaps genetics even play “second fiddle” to the environment (to quote “John Jones”) but they suggest as well that ideology is an invention. Basarab’s analysis would imply that the pace of ideological change is tied to the characteristics of the thinking of people and affected by the opportunistic desire to rise in society while also suggesting that the media cannot force someone to open their mind. His analysis allows that it is not necessary for adults to close their minds and thus suggests that people do have more potential to change society than they actually realize. However, his analysis also maintains that a change in popular opinion is not equal to a shift in power politics.
-Genetics do not directly determine ideology. They may influence attitude and temperament and therefore make certain ideologies likely, but ultimately they do not determine ideology. This theory does not deny that genetics exist, or that they are a material reality. What it does deny, however, is that ideology is “passed through” genetics, which Darwin never claimed such a thing himself.
-The Environment does not directly determine ideology either. Like genetics, it indirectly influences ideology. In the opinion of Basarab, for the purpose of determining ideology, the environment is more important than genetics. Marx himself never claimed that all people react to the environment in the exact same way.
-”Free will” does play a very substantial role but ideology is not created in vacuum. People invent their own ideologies based around their environments and this process may be modified by the temperaments and personality traits that genetics influence, but ideology is still “invented.” For example, one person may chose to react to losing a competition by training harder and another person may chose to give up. But if it was not for losing the competition, then neither would react. Whether or not they give up is probably not genetic. Exactly how they react cannot be predicted based on a mathematical model that calculates in the opinion of Basarab, not even in theory. This is the small amount of spiritualism that is in Basarab’s thinking – The power of the human will.
-It may sound elementary but just to state the obvious, ideology is transmitted and created both by language and introspective thinking.
Less Obvious Assumptions
-Most people close their minds progressively as they age. Obviously children learn in a different way than adults. People make important life choices and commit to them. This is not absolute like the laws of physics, but it is the tendency.
-People who are aware of this tendency may be able to mitigate it more successfully. Focus and will power are not irrelevant.
-If people do change their minds, especially but not exclusively in large numbers, changes in material conditions of daily life (the environment) are likely related to the change. I must cite this discussion and this article.
-Society moves at a slow pace, from point a to point b to point c, unless there are major changes in the material conditions. It does move, that is indisputable, but it is a tortoise rather than a hair. Individuals may move faster.
-When the material conditions of society cause society to change more rapidly, it does not move in a single direction. Different people respond to the same problems in different ways (in the same way that one basketball player may drive the lane, the other may shoot, the other may punch the ref). Most people, even under extreme conditions, do not change much but they will change more.
-Once people have reconciled their position in life with the new material conditions, the pace slows again. It never stops, but it goes back to being a tortoise.
-The thought process is provoked by the environment most of the time but not all the time. Some people do brainstorm. There are a minority of people who change their ideologies more than others.
-Slogans do not change society directly (they may indirectly have a domino effect). The environmental effect of slogans communicated by language are but one factor out of many other material conditions. Society is defined by actions and influenced by words. Saying “I’ll drive the truck there” does not actually carry the freight.
-A media source can only manipulate close minded people by using their own prejudices against them. The media’s ability to manipulate these people is limited to encouraging tendencies that already exist. Most people who have settled on a single piece of media have already closed their mind.
-The bottom line (literally) is that the media is not all-powerful. It has to observe the reactions of its usually slow-moving audience and cannot move too much faster than its target if it wants to maintain control. Also, the media cannot be viewed as a vacuum that is separate from the rest of the environment but must be viewed in business terms (like a construction company, programming company, retail store). It is one environmental factor out of many. The concise truth is that it matters as much as people make it matter. People who open their minds to a media source are doing it consensually and a magnet cannot be placed too far ahead of the metal it is attracting.
A Note on Revolutions
-Revolutions may make it appear that society changes quickly in a single cohesive direction, but really they are just the victory of forces that already existed beneath the surface in a struggle for power. Revolutions may be more comparable to the straw that broke the camel’s back.
-Examples of forces that already existed before revolutions: Class struggle existed before the Russian Revolution. Discontent with society existed before the French Revolution. Hatred of the British existed before America was created. The Torah existed before Zionism. Anti-semitism existed before Nazism (though Nazism was not a true revolution, Hitler took power legally).
-With money and resources, there are various routes that may be available for different groups to take power, but that does not mean the other groups disappear.
-Most people will not openly come forward with disagreements regarding the official ideology of society. Many disagreements, new and old, are masked by the desire to advance inside of society or avoid problems. This causes a “natural selection” (to make an analogy to Darwin) that makes it appear as if a single ideology dominates, as “recessive” ideologies get swept beneath the power structure. Money and power determine what is recessive and what is dominant.
-Revolutions do not succeed based on ideals alone. Several other environmental factors are relevant (which are beyond the scope of this post).
-When Pol pot was “officially deposed,” he still continued to rule unofficially everywhere but the capital for a decade. The fact that he was “officially deposed” did not matter, it was a slogan.
People’s minds continually invent explanations for their conditions and they consider the environment (which also includes written texts) when building but this process is very nuanced and steady. It may change paces but society as a whole does not move very quickly by my standards (perhaps even during revolutions). This is partially due to the fact that many people do not think outside of the box (just like most Americans are overweight), but also because those who do face market forces and societal pressures that makes them “recessive” until revolution.
-People who “return” to old ideologies do not “go backwards” they go around in a circle. Someone who changes their mind and then changes it to something that has a similar slogan is actually a much different thinker. Certainly when someone supports an idea, then moves away, then moves to something similar, they do not view the ideology the same the second time, no matter what slogans they chant.
-The media should not be seen as the center of society, but as a part of the environment that is affected by all the same business factors. Therefore you cannot make excuses generally about the media single-handedly destroying society and more specifically about Jews single-handedly destroying society.
-No movement is truly inevitable. Nazism was not inevitable. Like Lenin realized (by realizing that a vanguard party was necessary), Marx’s theories were not inevitable either. Zionism is not inevitable. The characteristics of the Jewish community are less important than the fact that Zionists were given the money they needed while nationalist assimilationist Jews were not given that money.Metal Gear @ May 8, 2012