Ideology, a Paradox, and the US Constitution

In the book (Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More)I was reading on the recent travels over break, I came across this passage (the first link is an amazon book link, the second to a chapter provided on-line by the publisher … which you can likely also buy it from, but they won’t put any change in my tip-jar). 😀

One of the central contradictions of socialism is a version of what Claude Lefort called a general paradox within the ideology of modernity: the split between ideological enunciation (which reflects the theoretical ideals of the Enlightenment) and ideological rule (manifest in the practical concerns of the modern state’s political authority). The paradox, that we will call “Lefort’s paradox,” lies in the fact that ideological rule must be “abstracted from any question concerning its origins,” thus remaining outside of ideological enunciation and, as a result, rendering that enunciation deficient. In other words, to fulfill its political function of reproducing power, the ideological discourse must claim to represent an “objective truth” that exists outside of it; however, the external nature of this “objective truth” renders the ideological discourse inherently lacking in the means to describe it in total, which can ultimately undermine this discourse’s legitimacy and the power that it supports.

Now, there are intellectual currents that would claim the governing ideology of the Western democracies and specifically the US is market capitalism, which some shoehorn to fit the definition of a ideology. Yet, I think that the state set up by the founders is non-ideological … or at least it should be but very often isn’t.

The government as Constitutionally set up (and as well by the Declaration that preceded it) is, as I see it, non-ideological. It provides a framework within which ideologies can co-exist. The Constitution sets up regulations and restrictions on the federal government which are routinely ignored by Congress, the SCOTUS, and the President. But, the point is if they chose not to ignore the Constitution (for example all rights not enumerated in the Constitution are not available to the Federal government) then some states (or small municipalities if given that freedom) could in fact become socialist, technocratic, theocratic or whatever they chose.

Universal healthcare is an ideological construct. It makes ideological assumptions about choice and freedom and government responsibility which fit within a “ideological enunciation”. It’s implementation will be direct violence to the intent and content of the Constitution. The right for me to choose to have health insurance (or more specifically to not have the same) is not enumerated in the Constitution, therefore by the 10th amendment this is a right not permitted for Congress to abridge.

So, if you’re for universal healthcare and specfically the bill being pushed in Congress now … you should be ashamed of yourself, it’s an un-Constitutional travesty.

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5 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    This post makes absolutely no sense at all.

  2. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    OK, I need to fill in a lot here. I’ll do that in another (longer) post tonight. Last night was the first (weeknight) trying to get back in the routine. I did ride 90 minutes but didn’t get into the essay quick enough. I have a number of idea kernels for essays from the vacation which I need to flesh out.

  3. Boonton says:

    I think you have the opposite problem, try making this idea a bit simplier and shorter and give it to us in everyday language. then do you bigger essay if you want.

  4. […] Take 2 By Mark O. Commenter Boonton kindly and helpfully remarked that yesterday’s post was clear as mud. What follows is an attempt to clarify and expand on what I was trying to […]

  5. […] Boonton kindly and helpfully remarked that yesterday’s post was clear as mud. What follows is an attempt to clarify and expand on what I was trying to […]