Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Elias Canetti, centrist hegemony etc

I really like this (as quoted in this):
No-one has ever really believed that the majority decision is necessarily the wiser one because it has received the greater number of votes. It is will against will as in war. Each is convinced that right and reason are on his side. Conviction comes easily and the purpose of the party is, precisely, to keep this will and conviction alive. The member of an outvoted party accepts the majority decision, not because he has ceased to believe his own case, but simply because he admits defeat.
As I've blogged quite a lot, I really like Chantal Mouffe's stuff. A big part of that is the emphasis she puts on conflict, and the dead end of pretending we can avoid it. But I also like the way she talks about hegemony and how it is only ever really a temporary settlement.

What I find interesting currently is that the "centrist" (scare quotes as I don't see Cameron and Osborne as near the centre in reality) hegemony has collapsed but, as per the Canetti quote, centrists don't really believe they have lost the argument. It comes across all the time that centrists think opponents to Left or Right are simply "wrong" and that their own views are "common sense", well-evidenced etc. This is most obvious when you try to get them to say what was wrong between 1997 and 2015. They find it difficult to find much to complain about.

PS. What is odd is that despite this centrist views are still the dominant ones amongst political commentators. The two main parties are polling at about 40% each currently, yet it's a common theme amongst commentators that both Labour and the Conservatives have gone mad, and no-one sensible can support either (but not the Lib Dems either for largely unexplained reasons). Speaking personally, I can't remember a time when there were so few people with a significant platform in the media with whom I agree. I don't think a) this is just me or b) that this is healthy.

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