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May 23, 2009
The New Science Of Politics
The blog description is from page 132 of
The New Science of Politics
, by Prof. Eric Voegelin, available online thanks to Stephan Kinsella, Esq.
Here's an essay I wrote in March 2007:
Wikipedia asked a critical question about Voegelin:
It is possible to think that Voegelin made every political and philosophical movement he did not like into some kind of offshoot of gnosticism, and thus joins many movements which would otherwise appear to have little in common (what would not be 'gnostic'?).
This question makes me want to step up to the plate. As a confirmed anti-gnostic, I can readily imagine the other end of the spectrum that Voegelin is tacitly describing.
A non-gnostic political movement
(a) does not regard the knowledge which informs it to be secret, though they may wish that knowledge were disseminated better,
(b) asks its followers and rivals to rely not on faith or mystic visions, but on their senses, basic logic, and often their intuition to make political decisions,
(c) regards the coexistence of conflicting interests and ideologies as a positive good rather than a temporary evil,
(d) describes social problems as stemming from failures to compromise, misunderstandings, a lack of education, and the like, rather than from evil,
(e) cares more about the policies leaders propose than on their charisma, background, etc.
A non-gnostic politician doesn't use "compromise" as a dirty word.
A non-gnostic voter spends little time wishing there were a candidate who wasn't "tainted" by political experience.
A non-gnostic voter does not have a strong need to be addressed in passionate or personalistic ways, having little trouble finding the candidate who advocates the policies most favored by that voter.
A non-gnostic voter recognizes that politicians, like everyone else, have secrets and fallibilities, but finds that knowledge neither paralyzing nor radicalizing.
When I wrote that I actually didn't know much about Voegelin. I have read his new
and some other stuff, but I'm still only guessing as to how he would describe a non-gnostic political movement. What do you think?
April 2, 2010 at 9:02 PM
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