Materialism and Idealism
Particularized on Evaluating the Propagandistic and Explanatory Value of Two Perspectives: “Materialism” and “Idealism”
Here I will combine the technique of qualitative data analysis with the theory of sociology of policy. I hope that I will be welcomed in my effort to present a combination of analytic abilities specific to one study matter with the insights of another matter - a bit of lateral thinking I think it is welcome in the university. A previous version of this paper was presented to prof. C.J.M. Schuyt.
For materialism: golden calf, universal Mammon, child-eating monster, red cattle, Empire of Evil, exploiters, despisers of culture, etc., etc.
For idealism: dreams, poetry, does not count as science, rubbish, Nazism, communism, oppression, sexually frustrated people, collective complexes, hate mongering, doom prophets, anti-liberal, anti-democratic, etc.
We are not concerned here with such truths about social reality, but we are concerned with what we may scientifically prove as accurate science. E.g., the operational definition of what is real belongs to Gustave Le Bon: “La véritable réalité des choses, c'est l'idée qu'on s'en fait”, this is: “The very reality of things is the idea we have thereof”, my own translation, according to Denis Touret's quote. This idea was further developed by W.I.Thomas' conjecture: “things” defined as real have real effects.
Materialism and Idealism in Science
Economic sciences, as long as they measure flows of money and consumer satisfaction, they are bounded by their argumentative apparatus to plead for the most grossly materialism, e.g., in terms of marketable efficiency and producing new styles of consumption.
This mathematical apparatus is inherited from a few thoughts of Adam Smith's and the idea to operationalize them, an idea which came to the mind of Walras. Bourdieu seems to say that Walras is some kind of fire-spitting monster which seeks to subject everything to materialistic calculus and a utopian dream of worldwide consumerism, which would ensure peace and prosperity for all, against all manifestations of social reality.
I personally consider that Walras was a brilliant man, with a positive and necessary contribution to the sciences, but that his followers all-too-literally took his methods and assumptions, simply applying them within their narrowest scope, instead of seeking to operationalize other types of costs than those materially-economical. I think there is an economy of intelligence, an economy of the desirable level of law and order, an economy of foreign policy, and here by economy I mean weighing the “costs” and “revenues” due to some actions which individuals and collectivities seek to enterprise them (e.g. a revolution can politically cost more than simple loss of money and/or loss of material things).
Of course, there is the now famous brilliant mind of John Nash, and the minds of many others, who showed that economical calculus is not in the sole ownership of the economics of the material things, but they sought ways of rationalizing decision making and even worldwide strategies, as in prof. Abram de Swaan's example with MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), which was derived from game theory.
They render honor to the field of economics, and their approach is worthy of being followed, again, not in a literalistic interpretation, but in their courage to operationalize what has never been operationalized before.
I will try to appreciate the value of the materialistic paradigm and of the idealistic paradigm, by comparing the explanations which they provide for a relevant recent phenomenon, namely the feelings of insecurity of the Dutch population, and the conclusions each of them seem to offer. I understand that is a reductionistic method, for there are many materialisms instead of one materialism, and many idealisms instead of one idealism. But I hope that such reductionistic comparison of the worth of two paradigms won't be taken in its literalistic narrowness, but it will be further developed as a measure of the quality of intellectual claims to utter the truth. It is, of course, only a truth, and not The Truth, but we may still say that there are truths and lies, science versus opinions.
When Marx said “religion is opium for the people”, he was idealistic, not materialistic, as defined herein, for he did not quantify economical efficiency of religious followership (which Weber did, through pondering some imponderables), but he was offering an elaborate philosophical view on his concept of ideology.
My gut feeling seems to indicate that, although it may be that one of these two monistic views of science is the true one, till our knowledge will become complete and absolute, we will be forced to rely on kind of Lukacsian dualism, which integrates both perspectives in its asymptotical seek of the highest quantity of truths available at a given moment. That means that materialistic and idealistic analyzes will have to coexist and complement each other with the aspects which one's complement ignores them.
For example, it would be very nice that the cafeterias of the UvA be paved and plated with gold bullion, and we may still allow for poor people to get relief for their adversities by removing and ounce of that pavement, yet this is completely unrealistic in respect to the material costs which are to be involved in paving the cafeterias with bullion. For example, only the security needed to protect that place from a wave of vandalism, the costs for would surpass UvA's budget. So, the material costs give an indication of what is possible and what is not possible to be done at a given moment, in a given place.
And, the idealistic perspective is very important in comprehending why, although some countries have the resources to alleviate hunger in this world; it won't simply get done, because their ideals do not allow for that becoming to happen. For example, USA won't sacrifice its military budget to many millions of starving people, be it for the reason that it would annihilate thus its defensive abilities, which is not allowed by its ideals.
A cynical joke I read on Internet says: What would happen it the Palestinians put down their arms? Peace. What would happen if the Israelis put down their weapons? There would be no more Israel. The moral of this story is obviously asymmetrical, thus it does not satisfy the Western ideal of universalism. But, it nevertheless says a truth: that until some alien civilization removes all the weapons from the Earth at the same time, people will continue to kill each other, for there is no shortage of reasons to kill someone, but only a shortage of humaneness to refrain from it. This is of course a statistical view on the collectively aggregated individual human nature. But, since truths are helpful to those who think, we may say that it is simply not cynical but a phlegmatic joke; phlegmatism is thus way a mask of cynicism adopted in order to further the good.
Methods for Present Qualitative Analysis
Enough being said on philosophical questions, and we may turn to the methods of performing such study:
Qualitative data analysis upon the (apparently) most relevant documents in respect to public policy, namely Queen's Speeches (which are written by the government, with the exception of her Christmas Speech).
Although I do not believe in the value freedom of science, I enjoy the style of Machiavelli, who renders empirical truths upon the state of facts, providing those eager for political insights to tweak their governance according to a palette of available effective techniques of control and domination. I simply note what prof. DumitruLepadatu noticed in University of Bucharest, namely that Machiavelli is no genius of evil, but he is simply a political scientist who performed an empirical analysis of some problems of statesmanship. If he came to be pictured as such a monster it is because (i) the masses dislike truths and (ii) truths are not only helpful for some, but they are able to produce considerable damage to others (especially to the ignorant).
This alethophobia is a judgment of fact pertaining to empirical science (that is, it is a fact that human nature has a propensity towards lie, and it pertains to both metaphysical theology and its operationalization inside mass psychology, according to GustaveLeBon's description of collective behavior), and such a scientific description has been empirically verified with many occasions.
Based on the availability on Internet, I selected some recent documents: Queen's Speeches (Throne Speeches 1999-2004 + Christmas Speech of 2001) and Government Declarations (1998, 2002 and 2003).
I analyzed these texts employing hermeneutics when needed. The following qualitative fuzzy coding was employed:
Problem: evaluating the value of two perspectives: materialism and idealism, in respect to public discourse. I will analyze how these two perspectives are used, as meant to influence the public opinion.
So, the theme of this analysis is public reaction, as observable in tweaking these documents for being received. Its purpose is evaluating materialism and idealism in their interplay. Question is: which point holds: Dutch government finds that in its address to the citizens (i) materialism is far more valuable than idealism (ii) idealism is far more valuable than materialism (iii) both are valuable, or, at least none can miss therein.
Motivation thereof is my philosophical interest: materialistic economical analysis is a fairly convincing and developed argumentative tool, as it is highly formalized mathematically, it employs the essences of huge amounts of data, and it cannot be so easily bashed by one who is not of enough education; we mean that, in general, arguments based upon this Walrasian mode of argumentation pertain to “materialism”, i.e. measures of customer survey is a measure of satisfaction with a given product, and opinion polls are measures of citizens' satisfaction with a political product. So “materialism” means the quantitative analysis of the most grossly observable data and its subsequent interpretation in such a mind frame.
By “idealism” I mean a preference for elaborate thinking arguments, values, moral options, claimed and evident political interests, which are not easily deductible by quantitative-empirically analyzing some flow of money, customer feedback or electoral vote bulletins.
So, materialism and idealism herein resemble the distinction between quantitative and qualitative analysis, but not wholly - for example a quantitative analysis of imponderable values (if there is such a “thing” as metaphysical statistics) is treated as idealistic and a philosophical analysis of easily-observable flows of goods, money, people, etc., it pertains to the same meaning of idealism.
The operational definition of idealism and materialism (inside science and public discourse) is presented in the following variation table:
Nature of analysis
(They are ideal types, instead of absolutely clear and distinct ways of making distinction. The expression “pondering the imponderables” in not uncommon, see http://www.google.nl/search?q=pondering+imponderables ).
For example the sentence “liberal democracy is the best regime” pertains to qualitative imponderabilia, while counting apples is an example of most ponderable elements, and weighing apples is an example of ponderable stuff. This way, percentages in respect to empirically observable data pertain to materialism, while an appeal on unquantifiable religious values pertains to idealism.
But, is idealism irrelevant today? According to prof. Berend-Jan Mulder, the Dutch elite has been educated in its own version of Hegelian thinking, namely that one has to follow his/her own time, rejecting thus at the same time unrealistic rationalizing of society and obstinate conservatism. Kees Schuyt mentioned in his courses that the Dutch people see themselves as a nation of commercialists, though, according to him, analyzing the percentage of the Dutch people busy with commercial activities, the case for it being true is less than in the past.
We want to appreciate, what we may infer from the documents analyzed, that it is the determining factor or factors which produced the present political unrest in The Netherlands.
We think on the patterns presented in the on the following page.
1st hypothesis: a=Pim Fortuyn, b=present unrest, c=economical conditions (i.e. Fortuyn apparent cause, economy real cause);
2nd hypothesis: a=economy, b=unrest, c=Fortuyn (i.e. economy apparent cause, Fortuyn real cause);
3rd hypothesis: a=911, b=unrest, c=economy (911 apparent cause, economy real cause);
4th hypothesis: a=economical conditions, b=unrest, c=911 (911 real cause, economy apparent cause);
5th hypothesis: d=Fortuyn+911, e=economy, f=unrest (both ideological causes and material causes, in their overlapping, they produced the present situation).
Operationalization of the Hypotheses
In order to operationalize the hypotheses, we produced three Boolean variables: being either a text of an individual or a document representing a group; either before or after September 11th; and either before or after Pim Fortuyn.
The old axiom of mass psychology “Senatus bestia, senatori boni viri” (The Senate is a beast, while senators are good fellows) says that a message representing a group should be tougher (in its wording) than the expression of an individual. We will see below in how far this axiom is empirically verified.
Then, in order to create the other two Boolean variables, we added a field with the date of each text. Then we computed the synthetic category as 4*group+2*sept11+PF. Then, we noticed there are only four categories, for there are only four values of the synthetic category, so we recoded: syn2=1 for syn1=4, syn2=2 for syn1=6, syn2=3 for syn1=2 and syn2=4 for syn1=7.
Then we will check for the hypotheses 1-4 if one cause seems much prominent than the other, so that if wholly cancels the other one (this being thus an apparent cause). If this does not hold, hypothesis 5 would be verified, provided that it is enough supported by texts and relevant therein.
In the Declaration of 1998 (only document for syn2=1 concerned with the aliens), the tone of speech is mild and gentle, offering comfort to the aliens, and seeking at the same time to handle those rotten apples which trouble the public image of the aliens:
Op een aantal terreinen eist de maatschappelijke positie van etnische groepen echter onze bijzondere aandacht op: de werkloosheid is hardnekkig hoog en de vorderingen in het onderwijs blijven soms achter. Bij de bestrijding van de hoge werkloosheid zullen de overheid, de organisaties van werkgevers en werknemers en de minderhedenorganisaties nauw moeten samenwerken.
Daarnaast zal extra ruimte worden geboden voor het jeugdbeleid en voor inburgeringsmaatregelen. Steden zullen beter in staat worden gesteld om de leefomgeving in wijken en buurten die achterblijven te verbeteren.
Maar er zijn ook probleemjongeren, zowel onder autochtonen als onder allochtonen. Een beperkt deel van de allochtone jongeren in ons land is verantwoordelijk voor een relatief hoog aandeel in de jeugdcriminaliteit. Ook hierop is het antwoord: wat niet mag zal niet worden toegestaan.
We notice that even since then, the political discourse accorded to the words “wijken” and “buurten” different reception values, namely that one of the words “secretly” applies to habitats dominated by the Dutch people and the other word applied to the habitats dominated by aliens, as B.J.Mulder once noticed.
We notice that for both the values syn2=2 and syn2=3, there is little reference to the shared vision upon the immigrants; the only text piece that seems to address this issue is in Queen's Speech to the Parliament of 2001:
Eerder dit jaar is de nieuwe vreemdelingenwet in werking getreden. Door de vereenvoudiging van procedures verkrijgen vreemdelingen eerder dan voorheen duidelijkheid over de vraag of zij tot ons land kunnen worden toegelaten. Alleenstaande minderjarige asielzoekers zullen sneller weten of hun verblijf in speciale opvang gericht wordt op integratie of op terugkeer. Vreemdelingen die hier niet mogen blijven, zullen ons land tijdig moeten verlaten.
This passages points towards a will of making the fate of the immigrants clearer for themselves. It also proves a hardening of heart towards those who are rejected, forcing them to leave, which we know from the media that it was never easy in The Netherlands, due to the concerns of many bleeding hearts.
The problematic of aliens is a theme of Fortuyn. So, little attention was given to him or his ideology at that time. This is after September 11th and before Fortuyn being killed. After his death, we notice an abundance of arguments which refer to the aliens; the language became harsh, merciless:
Geschokt vertrouwen … geen antwoord geeft op de moeizame inburgering van vreemdelingen in onze samenleving. (Declaration 2002)
Meedoen slaat zeker ook op immigranten in ons land. Iemand die zich blijvend wil en mag vestigen in ons land, kan zich niet als toeschouwer in onze maatschappij opstellen. Daarmee doet hij niet alleen zichzelf tekort, maar ook zijn kinderen en de hele samenleving waarin hij leeft. Het kabinet stelt daarom scherpere eisen bij inburgering. De eigen verantwoordelijkheid van de immigrant staat daarbij voorop. Wie deel wil uitmaken van onze maatschappij moet daar ook zelf iets voor doen. En mag op die basis ook verwachten dat onze samenleving hem of haar volwaardig opneemt. Leven in Nederland is niet vrijblijvend. (Declaration 2003).
But, how about the economy, was this only due to Fortuyn, or, because the cake got less, less people got welcomed to share in it?
For syn2=1 we have:
De financiële uitgangssituatie van waaruit dit kabinet start is veel gunstiger dan vier jaar geleden. (Declaration 1998).
Na een aantal opeenvolgende jaren met een gunstige internationale conjunctuur mag de mogelijkheid van een periode met een wat minder voorspoedige economische groei niet worden uitgesloten. De ontwikkelingen in Azië kunnen een negatieve uitstraling hebben op de groei in de rest van de wereld. Het begrotingsbeleid is derhalve opnieuw gebaseerd op behoedzame aannames voor wat betreft de te verwachten economische ontwikkeling. De kans op tegenvallers wordt zo verkleind. (Ibidem).
For syn2=2 there is an acute concern for the state of state finances:
Ondanks een tragere groei van ons nationaal inkomen zal volgend jaar in totaal 8 miljard gulden, ofwel ruim 3,5 miljard euro, extra beschikbaar komen voor kwaliteitsverbetering in vooral de gezondheidszorg, het onderwijs en de veiligheid. Het werken in de publieke sector wordt aantrekkelijker gemaakt. Het begrotingsoverschot zal in 2002 naar verwachting 1 procent van het bruto binnenlands product bedragen. (Throne Speech 2001).
For syn2=3, there were no concerns about economy. Maybe Christmas is not the time to speak about money and reducing costs. For syn2=4, the following harsh measures are being advanced:
We moeten de staatsschuld in één generatie aflossen. Dat is de route naar een sterkere economie. (Declaration 2002).
Evident pessimism is there:
Maar ons land dreigt uit de Europese kopgroep te vallen. Onze concurrentiepositie is de afgelopen jaren verslechterd. De arbeidskosten zijn te sterk gestegen. De inflatie is te hoog. De winstgevendheid en de investeringen van bedrijven lopen terug. De arbeidsparticipatie van vrouwen, oudere werknemers en laaggeschoolden is te laag. Het begrotingsoverschot blijkt helaas nog niet duurzaam. Het besef dat het economisch tij is gekeerd is nog steeds onvoldoende doorgedrongen. Een dure dollar, hoge aandeelkoersen, forse stijging van de huizenprijzen en omvangrijke meevallers bij de overheidsinkomsten hebben het zicht op de reële ontwikkeling in de afgelopen jaren vertroebeld. Veel signalen staan op rood, het kabinet sluit daar niet de ogen voor. (Ibidem).
De Nederlandse economie is in een cruciale fase beland. Er is een risico dat we meer en meer op achterstand komen te staan. Er zijn kansen om de weg naar herstel in te slaan. Ten opzichte van de recessie van begin jaren '80 zijn de economische fundamenten en de overheidsfinanciën beter. Maar de toekomst heeft ook duidelijk meer risico's dan destijds. (Declaration 2003).
So, in respect to the variable syn2, the timing of Fortuyn's death coincided with a deterioration of national economy, which became aware in public discourse. So we cannot say that one of these two causes cancels the other one out. Hypothesis 1 and 2 are thus rejected as untrue.
Same analysis of the economy holds for the comparison with events of September 11th as cause of radical change in Dutch politics. For syn2=1, there is, obviously, no reference to the events of September 11th. But, there is a concern for military cooperation with United States, based on the following reasons:
Voor ons veiligheidsbeleid zijn een effectieve NAVO en een sterke transatlantische band onontbeerlijk. De Nederlandse krijgsmacht levert met de inzet van geoefend en gemotiveerd personeel en van moderne middelen een hoogwaardige bijdrage aan vredesoperaties. Daarnaast verleent de krijgsmacht humanitaire hulp en wordt steun gegeven aan wederopbouw. Voor de inzet van allen die daaraan bijdragen, bestaat grote waardering. (Declaration 1998).
For syn2=2 we have:
De afschuwelijke aanslagen één week geleden in de Verenigde Staten hebben vele duizenden onschuldige mensen van het leven beroofd. (Throne Speech 2001).
Deze aanslagen tegen de menselijkheid doen ons beseffen hoe kwetsbaar ons aller bestaan is. Zij sterken ons in de overtuiging dat iedere vorm van terrorisme met kracht moet worden bestreden. (Ibidem).
Nauwe internationale samenwerking is noodzakelijker dan ooit om de fundamentele waarden van vrijheid, democratie en rechtvaardigheid te verdedigen. (Ibidem).
For syn2=3 we have a defensive way of putting the argument, making appeal to the basic Christian values of love and compassion, specific to the Christmas, yet a strong theme is developed under the protection of these values (Christ and the Caesar were never good friends with each other, says the Scripture):
Het menselijk bestaan is intens kwetsbaar. … Niettemin heeft de geschiedenis geleerd dat geen enkele religie gevrijwaard is tegen misbruik en valse verkondiging. Wanneer ideologieën en geloofsinterpretaties aanzetten tot onverdraagzaamheid, haat aanwakkeren en agressie voeden, houdt tolerantie op. (Christmas Speech 2001).
Fanate haat en de vernietigende kracht van het kwaad troffen de westerse wereld dit jaar met een schok die gevoelens van geborgenheid aantast en diep ingrijpt in vermeend welbehagen. Het menselijk bestaan is intens kwetsbaar en de samenleving broos, juist waar onze moderne maatschappij met al zijn luxe en gekoesterde zekerheden een gevoel van onaantastbaarheid heeft gebracht. (Ibidem).
For syn2=4 we have:
Politici moeten, net als iedere burger trouwens, zeker zijn van lijf en leden … ze, zoals Pim Fortuyn, slachtoffer worden van geweld. Het is onacceptabel als politici moeten onderduiken. (Declaration 2002).
Een kabinet dat voortkomt uit een omwenteling in het politieke klimaat. Burgers hebben uiting gegeven aan een onderstroom van onvrede, van onbehagen en van geschokt vertrouwen. Onvrede over een politiek die de problemen waar burgers dagelijks mee te maken hebben te vaak onbenoemd laat, zoals overlast en onveiligheid. (Ibidem).
Mede met het oog op de bestrijding van terrorisme zullen voorstellen worden gedaan voor een verdergaande Europese samenwerking op het gebied van buitenlands en veiligheidsbeleid. Bijzondere aandacht gaat daarbij uit naar het continueren van de hechte relatie met de Verenigde Staten. (Throne Speech 2003).
Fanatieke groeperingen trachten met terroristische daden, waarvan onschuldige burgers en zelfs kinderen het slachtoffer worden, over de hele wereld samenlevingen te ondergraven. Ook Nederland is niet gevrijwaard van deze dreigingen. Om onze democratische rechtsstaat en onze pluriforme samenleving te beschermen tegen terreur, heeft de regering aangekondigd op korte termijn ingrijpende maatregelen te treffen. De bestrijding van terrorisme zal worden versterkt door een betere organisatie, de mogelijkheid om snel maatregelen te nemen en door bepaalde opsporingsbevoegdheden te verruimen. Tevens zal, mede met het oog op adequate voorlichting, een waarschuwings- en alerteringssysteem in werking worden gesteld. (Throne Speech 2004).
The change from the good intentions of international solidarity, under Kok's leadership, to the recognition that the new cabinet appeared from the collective frustrations, and that operational measures are attached to this description of facts, it marks the power of the September 11th theme in the Dutch politics.
So, the hypotheses 3 and 4 are rejected. There is left the hypothesis no. 5, which is enough supported by the quotes above, and at least it is provable that for the Dutch decision makers both the material theme and the ideological theme are relevant, so no term of such a duality can be reject as insignificant in explaining the recent evolutions:
Voor een duidelijk herkenbaar Europees en internationaal profiel is een pragmatische, realistische, slagvaardige en ook idealistische aanpak nodig. Idealistisch als het gaat om onze beginselen en doelstellingen. Pragmatisch als het gaat om het bewaken van de Nederlandse positie en belangen. Realistisch als het gaat om haalbaarheid en het zetten van concrete stappen. Slagvaardig als het gaat om het tempo waarin en de overtuigingskracht waarmee wij opereren. Onze inspanningen in internationale organisaties en de samenwerking met de Europese partners zijn onlosmakelijk verbonden met onze bilaterale betrekkingen. Wij zullen doorgaan met de versteviging daarvan. (Declaration 1998).
We noticed that these themes did not contain ideas in utter contradiction to the quotes above, when the ideas therein did not straightforwardly support these quotes, the ideas were not denying them either. The idea that individual expressions are milder than messages from a group is verified by these documents: when the Queen had freedom over her own speech, despite of harsh motivations, the language was noticeably milder. An alternative explanation is that harshness does not fit into the picture of the Christmas.
The theme of September 11th is much more poignant and developed than the theme of Fortuyn and LPF. In order to prove this we sought for the following search filter: “fortu”OR “lpf”. There is appallingly little reference to Fortuyn and LPF. For the search filter “leefb” (as is “leefbaar” and “leefbaarheid”, etc.) there are four brief references (filters are employed without quotes). This proves a way of making things look small.
But, with the recognition as facts of human irrationality and of human inequality, in the Declaration of 2002 (belonging to the government including LPF), many clichés haven been broken, and political correctness is affirmed as being true to the facts and true to the necessary solution, instead of remaining an exaggeration of political politeness in respect to marginal interest groups:
Nog daargelaten dat mensen vaak tegenstrijdige wensen hebben. … Niet dogmatisch uitgaan van uniformiteit. Verscheidenheid in aanpak en oplossingen zijn niet langer taboe.
On empirical-analytical grounds it is difficult to decide which of the two perspectives works the best in making sense of the state of fact, for each of them is able to immunize itself against verification, by claiming that the causality in one of the hypotheses 1-4 is indeed apparent causality. On grounds of theoretical elegance and explanative completeness (see Wallace and Woolf), however, it holds what we have shown above: no factor therein is strong enough to make us completely ignore the other factor as relevant.
In brief, “materialism” says that due to a diminishing of general welfare, states have to take harsh measures in order to cope with the lack of satisfaction which results from economical unwell. “Idealism” says that because of the neocons in Washington, it happens what it happens.
We may guess that both perspectives are herein true, so the Lukacsian dualism named above is verified. All of September 11th, Pim Fortuyn and the economic stagnation were necessary to produce what happens now in the Netherlands.
A special case of their propagandistic value has been analyzed by Alvin Gouldner, who wanted to make social scientists aware of why they choose for this or that type of theory (kind of pre-existing theoretical taste). We may guess that this applies too, mutatis mutandi, and that the amount of education of the individual receiving such input is also relevant in such a question. This is of course a subject for further research.
Conclusions and Speculations
Speeches remain an important element of policymaking. They are meant to influence the behavior of the population, by convincing it to accept the policy, and informing it of further changes in such policy. E.g., the majority, which is bereft of a higher education, is by its nature unable to consult the evolution of legislation, due to inability of making sense of such talk, therefore it shows little interest in the texts of law. It gets informed of major changes in the law by way of more or less official political utterances, those which are highly popular in the media. Of course, there is an alternative circuit of information, namely when people who try to solve a problem they have (e.g., maximizing the revenues they get from social help) meet their peers and exchange what worked and what did not work in a certain situation. We guess that this is circuit of information which is preferred by the lower classes and by the ethnic minorities, who are mostly unable to follow highly literate official discourse. But it is also, seemingly, the preferred circuit of the old boys' network.
The institution of the King (as in the Dutch Constitution), it is an institution with a tradition which goes back in times wherein little quantitative calculations were being performed, and political reasoning was mostly intuitive-qualitative. This, of course, with the exception of the Chaldeans in the antiquity, who were said of doing certain esoteric mathematical calculations in order to support the policymaking of some empires. And, indeed, some architectonic marvels of that age prove advanced mathematical knowledge, which it is a wonder that it existed then.
We think that the public relations (read: propaganda) specialists of the Dutch government took such tradition into account when writing Throne Speeches. (Propaganda simply means: making something known and raising support and/or adepts for such a viewpoint. It is a concept which I use bereft of considerations of moral worth, as simply a political technique among many other tools a government has at its command.)
To those who think that propaganda is exclusively lying, we may answer that the quantity of factual descriptions is far greater than the quantity of hypocritical expressions. But, it seems that in such times people pay more attention to being cheated (this is why we paid so much attention to the hypocrisy and antiquated promises and expectations inside Dutch propaganda) than to them being told truths, therefore the concern for not turning propaganda belonging to statesmanship into a statesmythomanship is a real concern, seen that there are always cynics who enjoy destroying popular illusion, while they are unable to put something better in the place (inside the collective mental) thus emptied. Overseas, the considerations are different, and all the truth loving zeal of a Michael Moore and his like is able to do little to prevent the Straussian mythmaking machine from utterly distorting all sense of reality in US public discussion. Le Bon's thesis that the progress element is for the masses not the truth, but the lies, the illusions, it is here verified. One could only warn against excesses one either side: either alethophile or alethophobic extremism, they both damage society.
This idea explains the preponderance of “idealistic” arguments in recent Queen'sSpeeches. Another idea was expressed above, mainly the incompetence of the mass to understand science as such. We cannot all be teaching in University, some have to make clean on the streets. Because of the frustrations one has while performing activities under his/her manifest intellectual competence, one would recommend that the idea of selecting people according to such competence be really followed, instead of being formally propagated. For, according to B.J. Mulder, “the best man in the best place” is a hypocritical myth meant to legitimize the power elite.
It is a naïve image that a government has only tax cuts, punishments, subsidies, changes of legislation and such, in order to perform politics. The power of persuasion should not be underestimated. Words have power (think of Marx's Capital).
So, speeches will remain a way of performing politics, even in the specialized meaning of policymaking, and they are an inseparable part of it. While speeches cannot do everything in matters of state policy, at least they are able to do something, and they cannot be missed therein. Speech rituals are, in Durkheim's meaning, a substitute and/or supplement for the now decaying religious participation, and, while they cannot replace the “real thing” (religious zeal), they are nonetheless able to further group unity and give to some a meaning in a disenchanted world, wherein the “gods” have flown, or at least humans are no longer able to contact and follow them.
Such a nonviolent source of power has thus certain effectiveness and it corresponds to the image the Western people have of civilized behavior, and at least it is necessary in maintaining the relationship between the population and the government, and we guess that bereft of such communication, population would alienate itself from the political purposes of their government, resulting in lack of control, anarchy, with worst consequences. So, this apparently utterly banal, ritualistic and antiquated phenomenon is of utmost importance in getting to perform a politics.
In a final remark, Malinowski's functionalism claimed that a social phenomenon happens because people think it is functional. According to Parsons' functionalism, it exists because it is functional. And Merton asks: is it functional or dysfunctional? Its functions, are they manifest or latent? And: is it functional for whom?
In a society which works with symbols, it is naïve to think that the symbols are there because they are thought to work. They possess a hidden power, which often escapes the comprehension of the human beings. Weighing between Malinowski and Parsons is a complicated theoretical discussion, anyway, we may point that the civilizations who derided the power of words, the power ideas, either by repressing freedom of speech, or by an overindulgence in respect to the pathology of free speech, they decayed and disappeared.
We see that although the category materialism was underrepresented, it cannot miss therein. West is not as materialistic as religious fundamentalists everywhere (including USA) claim that it is. It simply has its own laymen's idealism and its own laymen's transcendence (as a discussion is openly going on in French Masonic circles and around these circles).
Prof. Schuyt said that more important that what is being said, it is what is not being said. This is an example of anti-logocentrism. The purpose of the University is to put order into the available heap of facts, to subject them under the logos.
Materialism implies that, because of the diminishing of general welfare, hard measures are needed, in order to turn the attention away from the economical interests of the power elite. Idealism says that the actual crisis of liberal democracy has ideological reasons, mostly the disenchantment of the Western citizens in respect to their own system. Materialism says that Fortuyn's attack on the welfare state had material reasons, or, at least, it represented the material interests of certain groups. Idealism says that the depreciation of the material conditions is the result of cultural decay, from loosing the Calvinistic hard work and falling into the trap of sweet yet deceiving hedonism.
For the materialistic standpoint, there is available a fairly convincing (from the rational viewpoint) formalism, namely through measuring monetary and para-monetary flows, there follow “hard” conclusions upon the desirability and capacity of making true some purposes of policy.
In such respect, the idealistic standpoint is shallowly empirically operationalized; therefore we may say it is “softly” formalized. But, the state of facts proves that the metaphysical-theological thinking is again up to date, seen that it now (factually) has control over the world system. So, as least in its capacity of convincing people, it is superior to Weber's bureaucratic rationality.
On a complicated manner (way), the above named anti-logocentrism has cancelled the subsistence conditions of rationalized politics. So, we are witnessing incipient symptoms that the thinking of the Enlightenment is beginning to become inadequate to social reality. As Allan Bloom says, the project of the Enlightenment is outdated, and also the political system imposed by the Enlightenment. From the perspective of influencing mass behavior, rationality remains an intellectual oddity, most probably a whim of some unrealistic thinkers.
We may in all assurance admit that the Dutch elite decided that it is again the moment to follow the times, and the elite made a selection among politicians, selecting those who were prepared for these new times. This explains why the sentences which were politically incorrect five years ago, they are now official policy: not because politicians are mean and evil-minded, but because the new times do not allow for the continuation of multicultural welfare state.
Bourdieu, P., The Essence of Neoliberalism, http://mondediplo.com/1998/12/08bourdieu ;
Brunt, L., [Adventure of Research, Colleges], University of Amsterdam, 2003;
De Swaan, A., [Sociological Theories 1A, Guest College], University of Amsterdam, 2003;
Droogleever-Fortuijn, E., [Guidelines for Tasks and Associated Documents], Blackboard of University of Amsterdam, 2004-2005;
Le Bon, G., The Crowd, ftp://ibiblio.org/pub/docs/books/gutenberg/etext96/tcrwd10.txt ;
Le Bon, G., The Psychology of Revolution, ftp://ibiblio.org/pub/docs/books/gutenberg/etext96/psrev10.txt ;
Mulder, B.J., [Colleges], Educative Faculty Amsterdam, 2002-2003;
Rutten, M., Azië van binnen en van buiten, Oration at University of Amsterdam, June 6th, 2003;
Schuyt, C.J.M., [Sociology of Policy, Colleges], University of Amsterdam, 2004;
Touret, D., Une psychologie sociale réaliste, http://www.denistouret.net/ideologues/Le_Bon.html ;
Van Heerikhuizen, B., [Sociological Theories, Colleges], University of Amsterdam, 2004;
Wallace, R.A., Woolf, A., Contemporary Sociological Theory. Expanding the Classic Tradition. 5th edition. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 1980-1999.
Annex: Document System
Queen's personal speech
Government declarations\Regeringsverklaring 1998
Throne speeches\Troonrede 1999
Throne speeches\Troonrede 2000
Throne speeches\Troonrede 2001
Queen's personal speech\Kerst 2001
Government declarations\Regeringsverklaring 2002
Government declarations\Regeringsverklaring 2003
Throne speeches\Troonrede 2002
Throne speeches\Troonrede 2003
Throne speeches\Troonrede 2004
Annex: Initial Code System
The first code system is the following:
values (or appeal thereupon)
synthesis of quantitative analysis
management of public issues
need for strong policy
verbal incentives and admonitions
Annex: Final Code System
The developed code system is the following:
the Dutch specific
values and feelings
West and Western
need for strong policy
state of law
synthesis of quantitative analysis
management of public issues
Annex: Code Matrix
Queen's personal speech\Kerst 2001
Government declarations\Regeringsverklaring 1998
Government declarations\Regeringsverklaring 2002
Government declarations\Regeringsverklaring 2003
Throne speeches\Troonrede 1999
Throne speeches\Troonrede 2000
Throne speeches\Troonrede 2001
Throne speeches\Troonrede 2002
Throne speeches\Troonrede 2003
Throne speeches\Troonrede 2004
idealistic\values and feelings\democratic\individualistic
0 2 4 0 0 2 0 2 1 2
idealistic\values and feelings\democratic\decentralization
0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1
0 9 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
0 3 0 0 2 1 0 1 1 0
4 5 8 9 27 16 9 0 1 0
factual descriptions\human inequality
0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
factual descriptions\human irrationality
0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 4 3 3 7 2 4 0 0 1
0 1 1 2 1 1 1 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 4 2 2 2 2 3 3 2
idealistic\qualitative insights\political science
0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 1 1 3 0 0 0
idealistic\qualitative insights\the Dutch specific
0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
idealistic\values and feelings
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
idealistic\values and feelings\aliens
0 5 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
idealistic\values and feelings\civilization
3 1 3 0 2 2 1 2 0 1
idealistic\values and feelings\civilization\West and Western
1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0
idealistic\values and feelings\democratic
2 6 9 2 3 2 0 1 3 2
idealistic\values and feelings\globalization
0 11 3 3 5 6 7 3 4 4
idealistic\values and feelings\market ideology
0 8 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
idealistic\values and feelings\national
0 3 1 0 0 2 2 2 1 3
idealistic\values and feelings\rational behavior
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
idealistic\values and feelings\religious
4 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 2
idealistic\values and feelings\security
2 8 5 2 2 4 7 7 1 5
idealistic\values and feelings\security\911
1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
idealistic\values and feelings\security\Pim Fortuyn
0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
idealistic\values and feelings\security\need for strong policy
0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
idealistic\values and feelings\solidarity
0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
idealistic\values and feelings\solidarity\international
0 2 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 1
idealistic\values and feelings\solidarity\national
2 5 3 6 4 2 1 1 2 3
idealistic\values and feelings\solidarity\national\redistribution
0 4 3 1 0 2 3 0 4 2
idealistic\values and feelings\state of law
2 5 5 2 4 3 2 3 3 1
0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
materialistic\synthesis of quantitative analysis
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
materialistic\synthesis of quantitative analysis\economy
0 4 4 3 1 1 2 5 8 7
materialistic\synthesis of quantitative analysis\management of public issues
0 5 4 3 0 0 3 0 2 0
materialistic\synthesis of quantitative analysis\quantitative ecology
0 4 2 0 2 1 2 1 0 1
0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
0 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 10 12 10 14 11 14 2 5 1
0 2 4 2 1 1 1 1 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Annex: Memo System
This annex is intended to offer further detail into how texts were coded. The philosophical argumentation is meant of giving a deep idea on how this happened, since, for example, we could not research in detail every claim of the empirical wrongness of all stances coded as hypocritical. This also gives an example of idealistic method.
Code hypocritical pretensions
Creation Date 01/16/2005
1. From Wallace and Woolf, p.173: Habermas says: the formally democratic system wants and allows for no genuine participation, because they would become aware that costs are collective (all have to contribute to general production) and profits are private (very few enjoy the true benefits of such collective production). So, Habermas basically restates Pareto's 20-80 law, which Habermas confirms that it is empirically true. This way, Pareto's 20-80 is not limited to the elitist discourse of the right wing, but it is also a relevant instrument for the critique of the (now old) New Left.
2. Small states have little choice. They did not create such a historical evolution, but they had to join such evolution in lack of a better choice, for the alternative is international isolation. It is sad that there is no middle way, and those who are not for a political position, they are automatically counted as being against it. I think there is no formal proof that globalization will bring worldwide peace. There is simply an appeal to some optimism gathered in the last fifty years, and the hope the social reality won't contradict this dream of unity.
3. In an economic state-of-facts which is characterized by fierce concurrence, it is an illusion to think that people, because they are told so through radio and television will welcome collaboration and cooperative behavior in place of the highly stressing concurrence which they have already internalized, and it is inside their everyday life.
4. One cannot eliminate all unemployment, for there are people who see the social aid as a form of trustworthy income (cf. Wallace and Woolf, p.…) which allows them to pursue their private initiatives in relative freedom from social-economical responsibilities.
5. I have heard many things in my life, but that UWV is client-friendly beats them all! Hilarious.
6. A Dutch parliamentary complained that before all ultra-modern medical advances, there was a “happy ignorance” in respect to what illness would this individual get at the age of 40-45. So, medical advances are not necessarily for the good of the patients. E.g., euthanasia absolutely prevents them from getting soul salvation; this is the meaning of St.Paul's attack on voluntary ending one's own life. In Christianity, life is not a favor, but a duty. It is not to be lived only as long it rests cool, happy, or lacking severe pain. It is a terrible duty which God imposed on everyone, regardless of his/her faith and his/her religious opinions.
7. Inside medical care, it is the medical system which is central, not the patient. This is proved by the defining social values in light of the medical science (see Wallace and Woolf's example for Parson's evolutionary model).
8. “We live peacefully with each other” does not correspond to social reality. See Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh.
9. “The Euro strengthens Europe economically”, it is not easily objectionable (falsifiable). But, that it strengthens it socially is very badly in need of some proof. Social rights are the most threatened by this freedom of capital and merchandise. There is little evidence that the European community supports the forming of a regional welfare state. Now, that the welfare state is much under threat, almost everywhere, and it is almost wishful thinking to image that it would be a real objective of the EU. Some powerless and reassuring affirmations may be formalized in European treaties, but the social care aspect rests, factually, one of the most ignored by present European policymaking. Marx's analysis of the length of workday is quite up to date, and Europe cannot afford to action in ignorance of developments overseas.
10. Initiatives of work for immigrants is a perhaps newsworthy but not a relevant phenomenon, due to its (i) small scale in respect to socially desirable position (desirable, according to the Dutch people) (ii) when large scale, it means undesirable social positions, i.e. jobs which humiliate the cultural and intellectual value of those who perform such jobs (e.g. Kurdish immigrants with B.A. degree or higher academic degree who had no choice but making clean for people with intellects far inferior to their own).
11. Casting a vote is pretended as highly important, but it has an extremely low importance, seen that the inner life of an individual gets expressed in pushing a few buttons, with little creativity and personal participation. It is more a pretense of participation (a reassurance ritual, according to Alvin Toffler's Third Wave), than a real participation of the individual in public matters.
12. Globalization brings more affluence to only a part of the world. Other parts get wars, famines, exploitation of natural resources, (factually) slave labor, sex tourism, child abuse, etc.
13. Social partners were humiliated, err, disbanded by the same government.
14. While no one wants to be poor, the culture of poverty is one of the best things this Earth knew. Welfare for all citizens of this world? God forbid! It would mean making this planet inhabitable in fifty years time. One has to stop dreaming about what is nice for an individual belonging to the masses. One should get real and understand there can be no talk of sustainable growth. At most, we may talk of sustainable underdevelopment, for all countries of the Earth, provided there is still something sustainable on this planet. Finance has to say its word and crash the dreams of industry! Consumption should bear again all the religious stigma it once had. We are not talking about nice things, for we may no longer talk of nice things. We may only talk of what is necessary.
An alien civilization visiting Earth may one day write in its history books: the Blue Planet was inhabited by intellectually retarded beings who kept dreaming all the day long, and even tried to make their awkward dreams true. Their planet could not bear that, and this is why they are an extinct specie. I'd wish it is science fiction!
15. Give progress a chance? No, no, Malthus is turning in his grave when hearing it!
16. Introduction of the Euro money was a quite bitter cake for all consumers in the Netherlands, especially for those of low incomes. Due to some ex ante information imbalance between buyers and sellers, there happened a factual nation-wide cartel formation of the sellers, who replaced the sign of gulden with the sign of Euro, otherwise keeping the same ciphers for their prices. Maybe this sounds cynical, yet this cynicism is widely shared by the Dutch population, who noticed that the words “us all” in the logo for the introduction of the Euro, these words did not apply to the whole of the Dutch people, but only to those who profit from their consumption, thus from their work. Another proof that political optimism is a malformation of making sense of social reality.
If we start from the assumption that people are rational, then we should put in mandatory psychiatric care the following (i) everyone who consents to the contents of even a single advertising spot (ii) everyone which allows himself/herself convinced by the speeches of the politicians.
It is empirical evidence that, almost always and everywhere, the small letters of a commercial contract wholly contradict its big letters. Lodewijk Brunt, in his course “Adventure of research”, mentioned his hobby of counting how many errors of logic are there in a public speech or public document, and he said that if such a speech or document has less than 30 or 40 errors of logic, then it is admirable in its high thinking quality, because it is rather uncommon that politicians and bureaucrats be capable of such logical accuracy. We see from (ii) that, if people were rational and pursuing their own interests, they would not allow themselves being convinced by the political speeches, so they would become insubordinate and chaos would result. Rational beings (as in the homo oeconomicus model) are therefore ungovernable. Thanks are given to the Lord, Who did not allow much intellect to the many!
17. The discussion about the environment ignores what seems to me a certain fact: that, in the present cultural, economic and political system of the West and other parts of the world, the problematic of ecological deterioration rests without a valid (effective) answer. I think more is being done about getting an image of environmental concern and responsibility than it is being done to prevent the ecological decay, in itself. It is more of a war of different ways of paying lip-service, either against or for green policy, and greens and their opponents alike seem to ignore that at this time there exists no real solution which is able to prevent a worldwide ecological disaster. Somebody said on an internet list, that, if we were not ourselves concerned therein, what humans do to this earth would look extremely funny, e.g. to an alien civilization who would visit this planet and would see what we are doing to it and to ourselves.
18. From the viewpoint of the political propagandist, refraining from letting the masses sink into hopelessness is a real and grounded concern, for worst is to be expected if the masses become desperate. Therefore, the political speech has to take care not to break their shallow optimism, to respect the illusions they have, in order not to turn everything into a chaos. But, as far as we are concerned, as scientists, we have to become aware that optimism is dwelling in shallow illusions, that reality is not necessarily comforting, even on the contrary, reality is fierce and merciless, and that it is reactive to stupid behavior (i.e. behavior controlled by illusions). Science is being aware of reality. A vision of dread ensues for the scientist, the dreadful vision of reality, of doom. E.g., in the Christian thinking, Daniel chapter 2 postulates cultural and ecological pessimism, and the Revelation tried to warn those responsible that, from the invalid start of the human scientific enterprise (what Heidegger names Gestell), only worst is to be expected, as a natural consequence. Knowledge has its laws, even if we ignore such laws. And, knowledge has real effects. Human nature being a constant, it is no wonder that disaster could be predicted with accuracy by those aware of the reality of human nature and of that invalid start. The very proof of the expertness of those who wrote the Holy Scriptures, it is in the fact that a few awkward people of the antiquity could produce ideas which drive billions of people, while us, in all our pride of knowing something about the humans (as individuals and as collectives), we are not able to produce. If we want to stand any chance, we have to recover the knowledge that such writers had.
19. In mass psychology, there is proven empirically that humans are alethophobic. This way, science, knowledge, truth, are more often than not object of collective and individual despise, therefore paying such awkward lip service to the importance of science is not going to help much. This despise is proven by the proposed marketization of the higher education. This would make all-to-short term interests dominate, and deep science and long-term fruitfulness would decay. Besides, according to Köbben, such despise is systemic: capitalism and democracy do not value science, but they have repeatedly shown their contempt for it. For, when big economical and political interests dominate, it is convenient (for some) to corrupt scientists, instead of corrupting state officials. E.g., there is a growing concern in respect to the danger of using mobile phones, but the negative TNO research thereupon has been bashed by a Dutch minister. He does not care of paying the bill for millions of brain damaged patients, fifty years from now on. He only sees, myopically, the short term interest of economic growth. It is not growth, but disaster!
20. According to prof. Schuyt, rules create new rules, less rules is not possible.
21. Because of individualization, older people got abandoned by their offspring; they die alone, in care of homes for the elder, financed by the state and particular organizations.
22. Who gets rich from globalization, it depends on how many are the “velen” therein.
I think it is obvious that an appeal to being part of a longer historical evolution, it is not an appeal to religious values as such, but it is an appeal on the civilizing role which the West bestowed upon itself. The Western civilization, it is true, it had its origin in Christianity, but now it is simply a laymen's civilization. In this respect, the path which US chose, namely return to Christian fundamentals, it deviates from such historical evolution. One will have to wait and see which of the two is stronger: the civilizing zeal of the laymen or the conquering zeal of Christian fundamentalists. I think the neoconservatives realized that the zeal of laymen is far weaker than the zeal of religious fanaticism, and they, being so despaired of being confronted by an alien religious fundamentalism, they tried to counter-attack it with their own religious fundamentalism. It was, of course, a choice between two evils: either being conquered or recovering the oldest themes of world politics: conquest and religion.
This is a course an “idealistic” argument, for it makes, in order to convince, an appeal to some imponderabilia, which, although we cannot properly quantify, they are yet evident in a very long term retrospective view on world events.
The “reserve army” (the unemployed) have to exist in every field, in order to allow such field enough flexibility in respect to those already at work, and provide a necessary reserve of competent workforce. Milton Friedman underlined that unemployment is a necessary safety valve which cares that economy keeps on track.
It is scientifically very questionable that lowering the mandatory schooling age has positive results. An English psychologist proved that very early education (day care) increases the individual propensity for violent behavior. So, this well meant measure is dubious from such an empirical truth.
I hope that making distance diminishing happen; it does not pertain to giving the individuals more power over the business of their government, but that it pertains to gathering the required science and intelligence in order to master their behavior. Gustave Le Bon scientifically proves that masses are anarchical, always ready to destroy what is left of civilization; therefore control is a must, not a whim of power-crazy political wannabees.
Learn to learn, for everybody, means that politics considers that simply allowing citizens with school education and whatever education may they further pursue, it is not enough. People are stimulated, and some even obliged, to internalize knowledge and abilities. Therefore, by making the connection with the accent on norms and values, we infer that the government bestows upon the state an ideological role, namely that the state has to educate the population into the necessary ideological frame of mind. This way, the liberal theory of state remains antiquated, and so does the concept of individual autonomy, in respect to public interference, and of freedom to say and to believe whatever, regardless of government intercession. Perhaps these concepts did not become law texts, but anyway they are evident in the political will of the government. Therefore, propaganda and reeducation are allowed to play a role far more important than the liberal theory of state would allow them. This is a fact, not an ideal or value. It is being done right now: the state has become ideological, in a manifest way. For those believers in liberal democracy, who are disappointed to hear it, I have to say that such a development was inevitable, for a mere allowance for the citizens to believe things at will did never factually exist. “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson says here: a civilized nation can be neither free nor ignorant. Thomas F. Powers “Welcome to the omnipticon” review of Jeffrey Rosen's The Naked Crowd, Reclaiming Security and Freedom in an Anxious Age, quotes Larry Ellison: “I really don't understand [the critics]. Central databases already exist. Privacy is already gone.” And he adds: “By itself, the private sector has means, motive and opportunity to invade privacy in a way, and to a degree, that in the past even totalitarian governments, with all their centralized power, could only dream of. Yes, the danger that government and police will get this on this act (and, yes, especially so after September 11) is real. But a simpler point is that the tsunami of technology, capitalism and democracy now rolling over privacy will not easily be stopped.”
The morality of the Tribunal in The Hague is one-sided: what about Putin, Bush and Blair? Did they not commit crimes against humanity in Iraq and Chechnya? The whole Western civilization got humiliated by the brutish and abusive behavior of the US prison guards in Abu Ghraib and many other such places. The profession of military doctors seemed to get at the level of lowest and most despicable human behavior, see StevenH.Miles' study. Dr. Mengele would be proud of such physicians as there!
Second World War, First World War... what about the big optimism about the League of Nations? If optimism means an altered perception of reality, and if reality is reactive to actions resulting form its misperception, we (scientists) don't have to be optimistic about the future! It would be too nice that all good intentions produce good results. Conservative thinking is quite aware of such fact.
Economy has here two meanings: (i) an empirical study of the social infrastructure which ascribes real effects to real actions and/or virtual realities; (ii) the dominant ideology which has to do not with empirical science, but with an incorrect generalization of some economic concepts, which is presented in a form of ideology which is being imposed without opposition (see P.Bourdieu's study of the neo-liberal utopia). Keynes' saying that most practical men are often slaves of a dead economist, it is true here. Each economist provided more than an empirical analysis; most of them also did (maybe without being aware of it) a political metaphysics, using as building stones of such system some economic laws.
A Nobel Prize rewarded two scientific opponents of economical rationalism. So, if economy seems to be irrational, what about society in general, and what about human nature in particular? The thesis of human rationality proves empirically incorrect.
Category “national values” also comprises these two contradictory elements:
(i) a long tradition of tolerance in respect to immigrants (e.g. Spinoza wanted to hang a poster with the words “Ultimi barbarorum” - with all Dutch tolerance, it would have been fatal for him, had he not been locked in his room by the inn owner - anyway, otherwise he was fairly well tolerated).
(ii) the feelings of being a foreigner in one's own country (cf. mutatis mutandi MarioRutten's oration), of being disadvantaged in respect to immigrants, of perceiving a threat to national solidarity and national culture, and outright hate expressions in respects to other cultures and nationalities. Be these feelings unreal, even then they produce real effects, according to W.I. Thomas' lemma.
Moderation of top incomes did not come true; on the contrary, top incomes rose much further than before. People consume more in recession times, writes a dentist in Metro. Perhaps because there is much more advertising in those times, it being meant to stimulate the economy. If we care for not totally screwing up this planet, maybe the state should consider the prohibition of advertising, since advertising stimulates consumerism, and consumerism will kill this planet, says counter-advertising.
Le Veau d'Or est vainqueur des dieux... (Gounod's Faust). Includes technical advances and ICT, as ideology, not as empirical insights.
National as well as international solidarity.
“Also for newcomers”, the word “also” therein shows a quantity which can easily be ignored, therefore we conclude that newcomers are seen as an expendable category. This shows despise of the government for such category.
If cultural exclusion is behaviorally more relevant than social and economical exclusion (think of Ulianov and Schicklgruber, one a poet and the other a painter, who both became dictators), if this then it follows that showing despise to marginal categories is a thing one dearly pays, due to reactive character of social reality of those marginalized categories. One may guess that the murder on Theo van Gogh was no organized terrorist deed, but the anarchical reaction of an unstable individual, who felt after all the same feelings that all the members of his groups feel in respect to being culturally marginalized and despised.
Just as Merton analyzed rebellion in order to enable the criminologists, therefore the police, with an operational instrument for comprehending criminal behavior, the same way, understanding the rebellion which ensues in the human soul, when confronted with systematic cultural exclusion of himself/herself and his/her peer group, it enables the policy maker to make better policies, provided he/she is of enough intellect.
So, the declaration of Purple II introduced two themes in the political debate: respect for the republican theory of law and the role of the government in respect to public norms and values.
“One step behind, two steps ahead” - Lenin's and Stalin's official policy of the Communist Party.
Politically correct behavior is a problem, according to the Dutch population, so the government has to obey the collective will and break with the standards of political correctness. Besides, this judgment is an example of individualistic mindset, for individuals are allowed to break the rules of political politeness in order to express their often cynical motivations, just as if everybody turned into a sociologist in the last five years (according to Schuyt, sociologists are cynics by their nature).
Political correctness, in its fundamental meaning, means being true to the facts, and refraining from thinking errors and propagating such errors. It is different from political politeness, i.e. being cool towards everybody and nobody in particular, in each utterance an individual makes in respect to other social and political groups.
Political politeness is a luxury product, for politics, e.g. per Machiavelli, is a business which allows for no such luxury. Truth has to be said, even if this hurts the feelings of others. People should mind that, and rather feel offended by lying elogies rather than by nasty truth.
However, if we examine the history of humankind, we notice what Hegel already knew, i.e. that people mind nothing from their own history.
The text starting with “De overheid kan de nieuwe uitdagingen en problemen niet alleen aan.” is the turning point in the discussion between the liberal theory of state and the republican theory of state, which are the concepts of Habermas. We see that in this passage, besides rights and individual liberties and opportunities, there appears the notion of collective responsibility and the notion of the individual responsibility for the collective good and wellbeing. The later governments stressed very poignantly that there are no liberties without responsibilities. This is part of the neoconservative ideology, as well as part of the milder communitarian ideology. While neoconservative ideology stresses overseas interests and the role of ideological conflict (“good” vs. “evil” countries) which gives meaning to the lives of the citizens, the communitarian ideology allows the local group to determine the fate of the individuals belonging to it. So, neo-conservatism is macro-political republican theory, while communitarianism is micro-political republican theory, see Habermas' distinction between liberal and republican law theory.
Social ecology is a form of ecological thinking.
Code factual descriptions\human inequality
The government recognizes that the thesis of equality between humans is nothing else than political dogma.
The following paragraph is excellent for being quoted in this context:
“Voor een duidelijk herkenbaar Europees en internationaal profiel is een pragmatische, realistische, slagvaardige en ook idealistische aanpak nodig. Idealistisch als het gaat om onze beginselen en doelstellingen. Pragmatisch als het gaat om het bewaken van de Nederlandse positie en belangen. Realistisch als het gaat om haalbaarheid en het zetten van concrete stappen. Slagvaardig als het gaat om het tempo waarin en de overtuigingskracht waarmee wij opereren. Onze inspanningen in internationale organisaties en de samenwerking met de Europese partners zijn onlosmakelijk verbonden met onze bilaterale betrekkingen. Wij zullen doorgaan met de versteviging daarvan.”
Code idealistic\values and feelings\solidarity\national
Remarkable, this central place mentioned for social cohesion. Also, mentioning having big concerns for it.
“You” therein means both people's representatives and the citizen who hears/reads the declaration. It is therefore an ambiguous word.
Code verbal incentives\admonitions
There are no admonitions as such (literally). However many utterances are able to be seen as threats in respect to groups defined as misbehaving, since the language used therein is tough; they were mostly coded under security and state of law, and some were specifically addressed to the aliens.
Number of Coded Segments