Let us engage in a thought experiment of sorts. The underlying thesis is that certain basic perceptions or suppositions we hold affect our entire outlook, the way we see the world and everything in it. Change those perceptions somewhat, put on a different pair of spectacles, and so goes our entire worldview. I guarantee it!
That’s s the power of reconceptualization — the vision thing,” for short.
Our modern conception of politics is colored by what I consider more fundamental views concerning the different aspects of contemporary society, economic and social. At rock-bottom, these derive from our moral views as a civil society. It is the peculiarity of America and most of the West — where capitalism is the primary mode of production –that our thinking about economics and economic processes has become the overall determinant of how we think about society, our fellow women and men, and of politics, too.
It wasn’t always so. It’s a relatively modern phenomenon, peculiar to the West. Be that as it may, our economic thinking had come to dictate how we think and feel about virtually every aspect of living, from social to political.
These divisions aren’t as clear-cut as I’m representing them to be. In our thinking and feeling, the economic, social, and political spheres have always been interactive. They’d always come to us as a “complete package,” never totally separate or distinct from one another.
Consequently, the distinction I’m pressing for is logical rather than practical, more reflective of the analytical than the empirical mindset. Even so, the direction of the linear progression (of views) that I’m arguing for — from economic to social and, ultimately, the political — only reflects today’s thinking. I present them here only as a demonstration of how they happen they interact. And on this account, it’s politics that ends up getting a bum rap!
And so, the ultimate question is: Should it? Must it? Can we reinvigorate our political thinking and practice and restore their primacy?
Look to the conclusion in Part II.