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Who is doing the speaking?

June 28, 2017

Unequal wealth = freedom; Majority rule = tyranny

These have been key strands of Western philosophy for thousands of years yet they’re deeply Orwellian.

Ellen Meiksins Wood offers some worthwhile observations on this. “What makes Western political theory particularly interesting and even puzzling … is that it invented a defense of domination not simply combined with but even based on, a notion of equality … The Western cannon is distinctive in its systematic mobilization of egalitarian doctrines and ideas of universal human community in the JUSTIFICATION of both class and imperial domination”.

Per Wood, our standard discourse on freedom, the legitimate powers of the state, the proper checks on democracy, and the rights of property are deeply rooted in this ancient defense of ruling class power and privilege.

It’s how we think and that’s how ideology works. The next time we begin to argue politics and economics we should first stop and ask ourselves this: Who thought our ideas for us?

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