Daily Archives: July 25, 2011

Against Ideology

Robert Henderson

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.

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