JOURNAL OF GOVERNANCE AND POLITICS


SCHOOL OF GOVERNANCE AND POLITICS MGIMO UNIVERSITY RUSSIA

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№2, 2018

Recent Developments in Political Science Nationally and Internationally

«Political Cube» Model as a Method for Designing Ideologies

Askhad Bzegezhev

Author: Askhad Bzegezhev, a second-year student/School of Governance and Politics 

Abstract: In 1992, the political and philosophical book “The End of History and the Last Man”, written by Francis Fukuyama, was published in America. In this paper, the author says that the twentieth century was the last period of the ideological confrontation in the international arena and the twenty first century became the era of “the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government”. This article precisely focuses on creating a logical model, named “Political Cube”, which can allow not only reflecting existing ideologies but also searching for new political conceptions.

Key words: ideology; ideology designing; modelling method; the end of history; liberalism; conservatism; socialism; anarchism; communitarianism.

Introduction

The modern era is described by Fukuyama as “the end of history”, which means that liberalism is the last step of humankind’s ideological evolution.[1] Despite the fact that Fukuyama’s book provoked a wave of criticism around the world, it made people think about whether liberalism really is the ultimate political and philosophical conception. This article focuses on creating a logical model (“Political Cube”) which can allow searching for new political conceptions. Besides, the model reflects ideologies that have been already described in political theory, which can help to determine political orientations of modern politicians.

The structure of “Political cube”

Political Cube is a Rubik’s Cube 3*3*3, that is, each of its 6 faces is a square consisting of 9 smaller squares (we call small squares cells for convenience). In each cell, either a certain element of a particular political conception is recorded, or nothing is written down in the cell (empty cells). Elements of the political conception are values, political beliefs, basic concepts and principles of a particular political conception.

Let us introduce the concept of the initial position of the Political Cube. In the initial position, the face of the "cube" is either an elements collection of one of the main ideologies ("ideological face") or a set of several elements that are not related to one another (the "elementary face"). In this case, the elementary face is possible only in the initial position of the Political Cube.

The Political Cube also functions as a Rubik’s Cube, which means that a user can move the elements by turning faces. A new face can be either an ideology or an "inefficient face", that is, a face whose elements cannot be logically connected with each other. In order to minimize the number of "inefficient faces", it is necessary to have incompatible elements on adjacent cells from different faces. For example, at each corner of the Cube, we see three adjacent cells from different faces. Contradictory elements can also be located in the central cells of the faces. Then again it will be possible to avoid the fact that obviously incompatible elements will be on the same face.

The Political Cube consists of four faces, each of which represents one of the four main ideologies (liberalism, socialism, conservatism, anarchism), and also two elementary faces. The centers of ideological faces will be called “cores” - they contain the most important concepts or principles of ideology.

Face “Liberalism”

It follows from the name of this ideology that the core of liberalism and, therefore, its main value is the freedom of individual and his original independence from the society.[2] Speaking of the economic sphere, it is acknowledged that liberals argue for the protection of private property and a free market as a lack of barriers to economic activity. The liberal ideology also includes the principle of competitiveness, which refers not only to the economic sphere, but also to the vital activity of society members as a whole. The attitude of liberals to the economic sphere also includes the principle of state restriction, which is extrapolated to other spheres and assumes minimal interference of the state in the activities of the individual and in the economy. Moreover, the key values of liberalism are pluralism as the principle of diversity of opinions, ideologies, political views, and tolerance, which implies a tolerant attitude toward a different worldview. The level of freedom that liberalism establishes within its ideology implies also the rationalism of individual as his ability to manage this freedom properly without undermining the freedom of others. In addition to all of the above, it is necessary to note the value of democracy. Despite the fact that classical liberals treated democracy with caution because of the possible establishment of majority power over a minority in a democratic state, today liberals have come to the conclusion that this is the only political regime adequate to liberal values.

Thus, the face "Liberalism" consists of nine elements: "private property", "pluralism", "state restriction", "market", "individual freedom", "tolerance", "competitiveness", "democracy", "rationalism of the individual ". In this case, "freedom of the individual" is the core. The logic of the arrangement of the remaining elements is explained in the following chapters when considering the interrelationships between different ideologies.

pic. 1

Face “Socialism”

Socialism as an ideology, in many respects contrary to liberalism, should be presented on the face adjacent to the "Liberalism", which will block the emergence of ideologically or contradictory incompatible elements on one side.

Regarding the elements, if in liberalism more attention is paid to the concept of freedom and the principle of individual freedom is proclaimed, then socialism places the concept of equality and "the image of people as social beings united by their belonging to the human race"[3] at the center of their ideology. Let us emphasize that socialism assumes that a person belongs to the society from birth and that it is impossible to isolate the individual from other members of society, while liberalism suggests that a person does not initially depend on society and enters into social relations at will. That is why these principles of socialism and liberalism are located in the cores - they are the main principles and, moreover, contradict each other. Their location in the center of the faces allows, when using the Cube, to exclude the possibility of forming an "inefficient face".

In addition to the contradictions in relation to the individual, liberalism and socialism have many divergences in the question of economics. Therefore, it would be more rational to place the "Socialism" line so that it is adjacent to the "Liberalism" line along the column on which the elements "private property", "market", "competitiveness" are located. In contrast to "private property" we introduce the element "restriction of private property". This element is necessary in describing the socialist theory, which regards private property as one of the reasons for reproducing social inequality. The restriction of private property is understood as interference of the state in the economic sphere with the restriction of the owners' rights to their property up to the complete abolition of the institution of private property. In the cell adjacent to the cell "market" from the face "Liberalism" we put "public property", as an element that is not compatible with the classical market system. There remains an empty cell adjacent to "competitiveness". It is logical to put the element of "cooperation", which is also necessary in socialism, as a principle of social cohesion and mutual respect.

There are still a few necessary signs of socialism. Firstly, it is social justice as a high level of social security of society members. Secondly, social equality which is understood as a lack of class divisions in society. Thirdly, as opposed to liberal beliefs that, in the opinion of the socialists, contribute to fostering a sense of selfishness in people, socialism proclaims the value of morality as an element that strengthens fraternal relations between people.

As a result, face “Socialism” consists of two empty cells and seven elements: "social individual", "restriction of private property", "public property", "cooperation", "social justice", "social equality", "morality".

pic. 2

Face “Conservatism”

The core of conservatism is organicism, behind which there is skepticism to human nature (the absence of any universal human nature) and the proclamation of an organic relations between the individual and society.[4] According to conservatives, man is a biological being, and individuals are elements of organic ties with society. This thesis confirms the impossibility of socializing a person without efficient social institutions. The placement of the element "organicism" as the core of the face of "Conservatism" also fits into the "Political Cube", because it contradicts the liberalistic vision of the individual as a self-sufficient good and is in some ways mutually exclusive to the "social individual" element of the face "Socialism".

Conservatives also believe that the human mind is limited, which contradicts the recognition by liberals of the rationalism of individuals.[5] At the same time, classical conservatism notes the importance of hierarchy in society, which is not compatible with the principle of social equality. Thus, conservatism has significant contradictions with socialism and liberalism; then it would be logical to try to place the face "Conservatism" adjacent to the faces of "Liberalism" and "Socialism".

The next most important element of conservatism is the value of tradition as the "accumulated wisdom of the past,"[6] which means that time-tested social institutions and practices are recognized by conservatives as effective ones.  Also, the principle of pragmatism follows from the recognition of the limitations of the human mind as the principle of making political decisions based on practice. Besides, conservatives uphold the value of authority, which acts as the organizing element of society. Since conservatism does not recognize theoretical doctrines, then politics within the framework of this ideology is considered in some way as art, and therefore, according to conservatives, politicians are people who have knowledge of such art and because of that deserve the authority. Hence it is the conservatives’ conviction that that power can be concentrated in the hands of the political elite, which means conservatives sometimes do not accept democratic values.

As a result, the face "Conservatism" consists of two empty cells and seven elements: "organicism", "limited mind", "tradition", "hierarchy", "authority", "pragmatism," "non-democracy".

Face “Anarchism”

Despite the majority's opinion that anarchism primarily rejects the state, the fundamental principle of anarchism is still the rejection of violence. It is this principle that will be the core of the face "Anarchism". The element of "absence of the state" is also included as an important principle of classical anarchism, but this is a rejection of the state in its standard understanding, necessarily assuming the state has an apparatus of violence, and also assigning centralized power to it. V.Makarenko in the work "The main ideologies of modernity" also draws a line between closed and open authority, noting that anarchists do not oppose authority in general, but they are against a closed authority that does not require the constant legitimization of its power.[7]

As for the nature of human, in the ideology of anarchism, it is recognized as positive, implying a person's ability to live in a society without a state with his apparatus of violence. Anarchism also proclaims the value of freedom of association, which is the basis of self-government in human society.

Then the main elements of the face "Anarchism" are: "non-violence", "rejection of state", "rejection of closed authority", "positive human nature", "freedom of associations". Let's place the face "Anarchism" adjacent to the faces "Liberalism" and "Conservatism", proceeding from contradictions with these ideologies through certain elements (for example, "authority" and "rejection of closed authority", as well as "positive human nature" in contradiction with the conservative " limited mind" and with the mutual exclusion of the liberal “rationalism of the individual”).

Elementary face №1

On this side, as discussed in the first chapter, non-interconnected elements will be located, but at the same time the fundamental values and principles of some ideologies:

1. The value of the state, which is understood as the impossibility of building an effective society and ideology without the adoption of the state as the main element.

2. Protection of the environment as the main principle of the ideology of ecologism, which received significant development in the 21st century.

3. Gender equality is also the main element of the important ideology of feminism in our time.

4. A nation acting as the main value of nationalist ideologies, gaining popularity in the international arena.

Elementary face №2

This face consists of only two elements, which are the basis of some ideologies (nazism, fascism, Islamic fundamentalism), which have received a negative evaluation in the modern world. Nevertheless, based on one of the goals of creating the "Political Cube" (a reflection of ideologies existing in the theoty), the elements "religion" and "total control" were placed on a separate face.

The model “Political Cube” is ready now.

Reflection of existing ideologies

The combination of the elements that form the basis of the "Political Cube" in the designing process can form faces that already exist in the theory of ideology. This cube function is useful, as it reflects the interrelationships of relatively young political concepts with basic ideologies. For example, it is possible to construct such a face on which there will be elements of "morality", "non-violence", "freedom of association", "cooperation", "tolerance". This set of elements will be necessary for the formation of the face of "Communitarism". Thus, we will construct one of the modern political concepts. The "political cube" also allows one to construct branches of one or another ideology. For instance, if we add the "market" and "private property" to the "Anarchism" face, we get a set of signs of anarcho-capitalism.

In addition, it should be said that the Сube can lead to new and still poorly developed political concepts, which at first glance may seem deeply contradictory. On one side of the Сube, for example, there may be elements of "social equality", "social justice" and "market". In classical political theory, this combination is often taken as impossible. However, such a face would satisfy the modern concept of market socialism. Moreover, in the modern world there is a state in which such a concept is actually implemented. This state is Sweden, where, together with the existence of a free market, a full-time employment policy is a priority, as well as payroll programs for highly skilled workers in favor of low-skilled workers.

The Cube model also helps to determine the political orientation of a particular politician. For example, considering Francois Hollande's pre-election program, we can deduce the main elements of the political conception, which he adheres to, and say what ideology his views are consistent with. Such program items as "creating a special bank to support domestic producers as part of the country's re-industrialization program, reducing France's dependence on nuclear power from 75 to 50% by 2025, reform of tax law, massive housing program[8] and creation of additional 60,000 jobs in system of national education" allow us to identify such elements as" the value of the state" (the state has the right to intervene in the economy of the country), “social justice”, "social equality" and conclude that Holland refers to the socialist camp.

When trying to determine by Cube the political orientations of modern politicians, in most cases there will be no complete coincidence with one of the original faces (which means it is almost impossible to find an "ideal conservative" or "ideal socialist"). This fact demonstrates the "blurring" of the main ideologies, their significant transformations in the present conditions of the expansion of liberal values and the revision of many classical political principles.

New political conceptions

In this paper, the possibility of constructing new political concepts with the help of the Political Cube was suggested. Anarcho-communitarianism is a particular example. It is a combination of the following elements: "morality", "non-violence", "freedom of association", "cooperation", "open authority", "absence of the state", "tolerance". This ideology proclaims the value of communities on the basis of mutual respect and the spirit of solidarity. In the absence of a state, the anarcho-communitarian society would be built on the basis of self-government and administration through non-centralized social institutions. The values ​​of tolerance and cooperation would support strengthening of human communities’ ties.

Anarcho-communitarism is only a particular example of the "Political Cube" functioning and does not constitute a real political theory. However, it can be a prerequisite for creating one. In addition, the presence of multiple empty cells allows the user of Cube to enter new elements himself and to come to more sophisticated political concepts through designing.

Conclusion

This study described the idea of ​​the Political Cube model and gave an example of how this model might look. The possibility of using the Cube in designing political conceptions was also shown: it can be already existing political theories, branches of basic ideologies or theories not yet described in the scientific literature. Moreover, the Cube helps to determine the political orientation of a particular politician.

It is important to note that the model presented in this paper is only a special case of the set of elements and their placement on the Political Cube. Undoubtedly, there may be improvements or absolutely different views on the choice of elements and their location. However, the very idea of ​​such a model can be an effective method of designing new political theories.

pic. 3

References

  1. Fukuyama, Francis. The End of History or the Last Man. “АСТ”, Moscow, Russia. 2004. 592 p.
  2. Alekseeva, Tatiana. Political philosophy: From conceptions to theories. MGIMO University, РОССПЭН, Moscow, Russia. 2007. 479 p.
  3. Makarenko, Viktor. The main ideologies of modernity. Phoenix, Rostov-on-Don, Russia. 2000. 480 p.
  4. Alekseeva, Tatiana. Modern Political theories. MGIMO University, РОССПЭН, Moscow, Russia. 2007. 397 p.

[Internet resource]. – URL: http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=693488

 

[1] Fukuyama, Francis. The End of History or the Last Man. “АСТ”. 2004. 592 p.

[2] Alekseeva, Tatiana. Political philosophy: From conceptions to theories. MGIMO University, РОССПЭН. 2007. P. 74-81

[3] Alekseeva, Tatiana. Political philosophy: From conceptions to theories. MGIMO University, РОССПЭН. 2007. P. 81

[4] Makarenko, Viktor. The main ideologies of modernity. Rostov-on-Don: Phoenix. 2000. P. 55-62

[5] Alekseeva, Tatiana. Political philosophy: From conceptions to theories. MGIMO University, РОССПЭН. 2007. P. 87

[6] Alekseeva, Tatiana. Political philosophy: From conceptions to theories. MGIMO University, РОССПЭН. 2007. P. 88

[7] Makarenko, Viktor. The main ideologies of modernity. Rostov-on-Don: Phoenix. 2000. P. 399-413

[8] [Internet resource]. – URL: http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=693488