By ideology I mean a set of ideas, religious or secular, to which an individual subscribes blindly regardless of the objective and testable truth of the ideology or of any contradictions which it may contain.
It might be objected that men commonly display the same unquestioning attitude towards much of their conscious thought. For example, human beings are generally loth to give up what they have accepted as truth through the process of received opinion or that which has become comfortable through habit. Yet there is a clear difference between the ideologue’s attachment to his systematic ideas and the desire of, say, a scientist to maintain that a scientific “fact” is fact after it has been shown to be dubious or of someone who finds unreasonable the breach of a custom without objective moral or intellectual content, for example, blowing one’s nose in public in a society which considers that behaviour insulting. The scientist merely wishes to defend a single idea: the person insulted by a breach of custom merely wishes to prevent the breach. Neither have a desire to control the lives of others generally or claim that if this is believed or that behaviour observed, a catalogue of other things must also be believed or behaviours observed.
Except in the very rare instances of someone inventing a new ideology, either entirely or through a successful deformation of an existing ideology - Marxism provides instances of both – the ideology is something which is external to the individual and which is accepted by the individual as something which cannot be questioned, as a logically connected or divinely revealed coherent system of thought.
For the true disciple of an ideology it must be accepted in its entirety or not at all. The reality of all ideologies is that they are incomplete descriptions of the world at best and plain wrong at worst. Religious ideologies are either ragbags of unsupported imperatives, for example, Christianity and Islam, or, as is the case of Buddhism, a system of thought which has a specious appearance of rationality but which, even in its purest form, is just as irrational because its logical arguments derive from unsupported assertions such as the behaviour expected of those who are to reach nirvana, a state as mythical as Heaven or Paradise.
Secular ideologies, which include everything from humanism to Nazism, have a greater appearance of rationality than the religious because they do not, ostensibly at least, call upon the supernatural. Yet in truth their supposed “objectivity” is far from real. Marxism is undoubtedly the nearest any political ideology has come to creating not merely a general intellectual explanation of how society works and how it will work, but also a school of academic thought devoted to it. Yet the supposed scientific truths of Marx have been shown by the passing of time to be as fanciful as the claims that Christ came to Earth to save Man or that the archangel Gabriel directly vouchsafed the word of God to Mohammed. In fact, they have been even more comprehensively denied than the religions, because being rational in form and concerned with observable behaviour in the world which men inhabit, Marx’s claims may be tested by experience. Religions by their nature cannot be tested because they deal with that which either does not exist or is beyond the perception of men, namely,the supernatural.
Most political ideologies are not even intellectually coherent, let alone suited to human society. There is, for example, no logical reason why socialism must be internationalist. Yet this is an obligatory tenet, in words if not deeds, of all those who call themselves socialists. In fact, all Governments which have adopted significant socialist policies have, in practice, been nationalists. Even Stalin accepted the idea, albeit supposedly temporary, of “Socialism in one country”.
The contemporary ideological error is another form of internationalism, that of Globalism. Here its disciples make the logical error of thinking that the free trade of goods and services implies freedom of movement of labour. Manifestly it does not. Countries have, can, and do, quite happily trade amongst themselves without exchanging labour.
As to being suited to human society, both religious and political ideologies contain that which is destructive of society. Most of the major religions in their mainstream forms have emphasised the better nature of something other than human existence – always jam tomorrow. This has allowed elites to maintain their abusive hold on the masses and bred fatalism and subordination on the part of the majority.
Religions have also frequently been obscurantist, afraid of new ideas and technologies. The deficiencies of modern political ideologies fall into two broad camps. Those, such as Marxism, entirely ignore the natural desire of human beings to utilise their natural and inherited advantages. Opposed to them are the ideologies which overly promote competition and ignore the social nature of Man. Either of these two camps may operate within an internationalist frame. When they do, they ignore the most fundamental social trait of Man, the tribal urge. Systems of thought which are incompatible with basic human nature are inherently unstable and dangerous because they cannot be long sustained yet cause great suffering in the attempt to impose them.
The general poison of ideologies is that in the minds of adherents they sanction unlimited immoral action against those who refuse to accept the “truth” and “necessity” of this or that ideology. Hence, Christian heretics are burned and Muslim apostates sentenced to death because God will be displeased, while counter-revolutionaries in Soviet Russia were executed as a danger to the proletarian revolution and the eventual ascent to communist utopia.
Today we have liberal internationalist creed which as hardened into political correctness. This is a literally totalitarian creed for it both impinges on all aspects of social interaction and insist that there is only one “correct” view on any subject, namely, the pc one. This means natural and powerful resentment of what pc stands for are never addressed. The elite response – politicians, the mainstream media and academic “experts” – to the actions of Anders Breivik in Oslo demonstrates this mentality. They have not asked whether the imposition and ever tightening grip of political correctness was in part at least responsible for his murderous onslaught, but to reach for the censor’s button and fade Breivik out of public debate even to the extent of not reporting Breivik’s testimony at his trial - BBC Radio 5 reported 25 July (morning phone-in) that the Norwegian prosecutor of Breivik has asked that the trial be held in camera. All this does is sweep the problem of the deracination of the masses in states controlled by the politically correct under the carpet for a while longer. It is the classic mistake of ideologues who believe that people can be re-educated to think as the ideologues do. Human nature can hobbled for a while but not killed.
The sane, practical and humane way to approach the question of how society is best governed is to be pragmatic. Have clear ends to achieve but no hidebound preconception of how it should be achieved because you are a slave to a system of thought which says you must do this or that regardless of its utility.