The underpinning of political theory is epistemology. On first blush, this would seem to make no sense, as the link is not obvious, but the link is there.
Good examples of this link are found when examining the genesis of attempts at rejection of the current dominate paradigm of empiricism backed/ infused progressivism. The roots of this progressivism are intertwined with empiricism, which is derived from protestantism. I have covered this before, and made the case that liberalism/ progressivism/ empricism/positivism is one great web of anti-thought that is the negative impression left by the high-low mechanism. An anti-tradition that has no defining or logical coherence except as an anti-everything not central Power approved. A web of ideas and concepts constantly promoted by power with no other explanation for this zeitgeist.
The first good example is provided by fascism, which was premised on an epistemology crisis and rejection of empiricism. It is a really fascinating avenue of investigation, especially when you go to the primary sources and read what the fascist intellectuals wrote. Take for example the essay by Corrada Gini of the Gini co-efficient fame titled The Scientific Basis of Fascism in which he states:
…Fascism, which had at the outset presented a program essentially liberal in character, came to adopt, little by little, the program of the Nationalist party…
This adoption of nationalist theory would result in “irreconcilability” with liberals because:
The liberal theory assumes that society consists of an aggregate of individuals who must look after their own interests and it regards the state as an emanation of the individual wills intended to eliminate the conflicts the conflicts between the interests of individuals.The nationalistic theory on the contrary, views society as a true and distinct organism of a rank superior to that of the individuals who compose it, an organism endowed with a life of its own and with interests of its own.
This concept has also points of contact with the Socialist concept in that both assume the ideal of a collectivity superior to the interest if the individuals composing it…the essential difference between Fascism and Socialistic current of thought…[is that] The Fascists perceive this unity in the nation, while the Socialist recognize it, at least theoretically – even at the cost of sacrificing their native land – in the larger human society.
The clear recognition that liberalism is the main current from which all has reacted from in modernity is observed with:
The very nucleus, of the Fascist movement has been built of ex-Socialists” many of whom had “rallied to the Socialist party not so much because of its positive economic programe, as because of its negative program of protest against the aimless individualism of the Liberal regime.
Political organisation as such is rejected as being the sum of the underlying empirically divined Will of the population (like democracy.) The fact/ value distinction is rejected.
This rejection of positivism (I will just stick to calling this beast “positivism” from now on) by fascists, most notably by Gentile, was central as noted in this interesting essay:
Gentilean Actualism was premised on a radical rejection of one of the central elements of methodological positivism, the separation of the act of knowledge from the object known.
Gregor has written extensively on the intellectual ferment behind Italian fascism, and has noted the very same trajectory using the example of Mussolini himself, who started as a positivist:
Mussolini cited, as having supplied the evidence of the nonexistence of God, the “objective methods” of the “experimental science” of Bacon, Galileo, and Descartes. That evidence supported the conviction that the universe was a product of “matter-unique, eternal and indestructible- that never required a first mover nor will ever end.
Only to subsequently alter his position under the influence of Gentile’s philosophy, as did many intellectuals as part of a rejection of positivism:
By the first decade of the twentieth century, Mussolini, himself, had rejected the positivism that had dominated Italian intellectual life for almost the entire latter halt of the nineteenth century. Before the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, Mussolini was convinced that positivism, with its objective law-like determinism, and perfectly predictable historic change, had rendered moral outrage, sacrifice, commitment and duty irrelevant – and made revolutionary commitment superfluous”
This lends support to my suspicion that Marxism and liberalism alike share the same deterministic bedrock, as Gentile is noted as observing:
Marxism, and Marxism Leninism were seen as a peculiar form of positivism – the scientism that characterized the nineteenth century.
and as Gregor himself observes fascinatingly:
In Italy, by the end of the nineteenth century, Marxism had bifurcated into two main trends, an evolutionary Marxism that understood itself to be the consequence of determinate social and economic process – and a revolutionary Marxism that saw itself a function of the will and determination of a select number of conscious revolutionaries. The first was a Marxism that saw itself the heir of “ineluctable” trends within industrial capitalism itself. The second was the product of French syndicalism, inspired by the voluntarism and moralism of Georges Sorel.
The first accommodated itself to the parliamentarianism of Italian liberalism, and the second advocated revolution whatever the social, political, and economic circumstances might be at any given time. In a clear sense, the evolutionary socialism of the first was the embodiment of some form of philosophical positivism; the revolutionary syndicalism of the second, that found its philosophical rationale in the writing of Sorel, was anti-positivistic and increasingly idealistic.
Positivism, empiricism, pragmatism, or whatever name masks deterministic epistemology goes under is inseparable from degenerate leftism, and has been constantly promoted despite it utter incoherence. It is immune from reasoning, because the criteria for its selection is not correctness, as I have argued here and here.