BY MICHAEL REISIG –
In today’s world we are beset by ideologies. Five hundred, a thousand years ago, it was religions that surged against each other, striving for dominance. Now it’s ideologies – they have become the new faiths. In essence, they are little more than religions without conscience. Ideology is a man-made concept of how the world ought to be. Once we’ve decided how it should be, we’re willing to move heaven and earth – to shore up this ideology with whatever form of reason necessary – and comfortably commit a plethora of sins to keep it on course.
All of this is further confused with philosophies (which are little more than intellectual pandering), but it’s just as Karl Marx said; “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” That’s where ideologies come in.
We have distilled down our political ideologies to a mere handful now – communism, socialism, capitalism, democracy, and Islam (which is really an ideology, not a religion). The new ideologies have mouthpieces, from quasi-intellectuals to banal celebrities, and these individuals like to think of themselves as serving mankind, but here’s an indisputable fact – as soon as these folks begin to consort with powerbrokers they become corrupted or manipulated, and the benefit of mankind takes a back seat. The truth is, as soon as we develop an ideological view of the world, mischief sets in – we begin unraveling rather than constructing. It’s my opinion that ideology is never so blind as when it attaches itself to politics – liberal ideology in America appears to continually be attempting to “create” truths, rather than establish principles. You can’t create new truths for every generation, you have to apply established values/principles that you adapt to new circumstances – it’s the consistency that’s important here – the refusal to compromise to satisfy particular stratums of society or dissatisfied new generations.
The problem with socialists is that they seem to find it hard to get past the concept that life is, in part, about unremitting toil, personal responsibility, and the possibility of failure. Yet they are keen and dedicated in the promotion of their ideology. Conservatives are more inclined to accept the challenge of these things and ask for less in the process. Capitalism is built around the concept of self-reliance of the individual, under a Constitutional umbrella – which promotes nationalism. Communism (and it’s cousins, like socialism) are all about “being part of the hive” – being taken care of. Individual aspiration is not encouraged. I’m reminded of the quote by the author Russell Kirk: “The conservative thinks of political policies as intended to preserve order, justice, and freedom. The (liberal) ideologue, on the contrary, thinks of politics as a revolutionary instrument for transforming society and even transforming human nature, and in his march toward utopia, he can be merciless.”
It’s remarkable how often political ideology is tied to revolution. I’ve always thought this incredible – the concept of forcing a new idea down someone’s throat somehow takes away the purity and viability of the concept. Maybe it’s just me… To be caught up in a philosophy, an ideology, to the degree that committing mayhem is excusable – a means to an end – that’s pretty scary. Sometimes now, when I watch the news and see the leaps and bounds of our burgeoning political correctness – our “Word Police”, the atrophy of organized religion, the blind fury toward the Second Amendment, and the collapse of integrity in government, I realize we are inexorably sliding toward the precipice of anarchy, becoming worshipers of ideology, not substance, and in the end, all we leave our children with is false dreams and chaos.
The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the ownership and staff of The Polk County Pulse. Michael Reisig is a freelance writer and published author whose works are reproduced throughout the globe.