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Ideology is a Disease

Ideology is a Disease

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Published by davidwalters
An ideological proposition
An ideological proposition

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Published by: davidwalters on Oct 27, 2011
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IDEOLOGIE
 
1
 
IDEOLOGY IS A DISEASE
AN IDEOLOGICAL PROPOSITION
 BYDAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
There seems to be something wrong with our Western civilization today, led by the BushAdministration of the United States of America, the only super power in the world, an empireunknown since the Roman Empire. The United States seeks to fashion the world in its ownimage, with or without the consent of that world, as did the Roman, French, and Germanempires. The United States wants to make the world safe for its version of democracy, and nowits leaders are eager to make pre-emptive strikes and to wage offensive wars far from home toobtain equality under its definition of the law liberated people should obey. The United States iswilling to go it alone and to kill as many people as might be necessary to liberate them fromthemselves, that all the survivors may become productive members of the New World Order.While the wars to end all wars continue, a few Americans, very few, are becoming increasinglyinclined to feel that the arrogant effrontery of the American government, which is enormously
 
IDEOLOGIE
 
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popular in the United States, together with the violent action it has taken against the will of theoverwhelming majority of the people of the rest of the world, is an inauspicious sign, perhaps of an impending precipitous decline and fall.We think there must be something wrong with the American ideology, something that is pavingan unethical highway to hell. Let us ignore the supposed differences between ideologies, andpropose, just for the sake of argument, that ideology itself is the problem. We cannot help butnotice that, no matter what sort of ideology a person thinks he adheres to, he is never wrong. Nomatter what sort of evidence is presented to refute him, he is always right. He is a slipperycharacter armed with bowls of red herrings. Whatever the reality might be, he will contrivestatistics to suit his ideological prejudice, or he will simply ignore contrary evidence and say,"To hell with the facts, to hell with current circumstances, we must keep the goal in mind, andthis is the only way to get there." Yet, in the very next breath, he will speak of adhering to hisfacts, to his concrete interpretation of reality, and denounce 'utopian' thinking. In fact, his answerto every pressing question is derived from his ideology, not from reality. No experiment orargument will suffice to give him the slightest doubt about his ideological perspective on theworld. And he will insist he adheres to it when he acts against it - he cannot see his self-contradiction in the mirror even when his hypocrisy is so blatant that it is obvious to a seven-yearold child.Ideological thinkers seem to be infected with rigid, highly organized illusions. Marx and Engelssaid ideology is "empty talk about consciousness", that it is "false" and "illusory", as opposed to"real, positive science" and "real knowledge." Engels coined the phrase "false consciousness" asa synonym for "ideology." Americans apparently caught the ideological disease from the French- we understand that Destutt de Tracy invented Ideologie. Napoleon labeled those who practicedideology, Ideologues, and complained that France suffered the ideological disease."We must lay the blame for the ills that our fair France has suffered on Ideology," said Napoleon,"that shadowy metaphysics which subtly seeks for first causes on which to base the legislation of peoples, rather than making use of laws known to the human heart and of the lessons of history.These errors must inevitably and did in fact lead to the rule of bloodthirsty men." (Moniteur - 21December 1812)The disease apparently caused illiterate people to think they could constitute a brotherhood of equals under a free republican government. John Adams, a highly educated Federalist, theworld's leading authority on the history of constitutions, dubbed ideolo
gy “idiotology.” He
expressed his disdain for the quality proposition in a On July 13, 1813, letter to ThomasJefferson, who had caught the dementing disease during a visit to France:"Dear Sir.... The first time that you and I differed in opinion on any material position, was afteryour arrival from Europe, and that point was the French Revolution. You were well persuaded inyour own mind that the nation would succeed in establishing a free republican government. I waswell persuaded in my mind, that a project of such a government over five and twenty millions,when four and twenty millions and five hundred thousand of them could neither read nor write,was unnatural, irrational and impracticable as it would be over the elephants, lions, tigers,panthers, wolves and bears in the royal menagerie at Versailles. Napoleon has lately invented aword which perfectly expresses my opinion, at that time and ever since. He calls the project
 
IDEOLOGIE
 
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Ideology; and John Randolph, though he was, fourteen years ago, as wild an enthusiast forequality and fraternity as any of them, appears to be now a regenerated proselyte to Napoleon'sopinion an
d mind, that it was all madness….
 "... Inequalities of mind and body are so established by God Almighty, in His constitution of human nature, that no art or policy can ever plane them down to a level. I have never readreasoning more absurd, sophistry more gross, in proof of the Athanasian creed, orTransubstantiation, than the subtle labors of Helvetius and Rousseau, to demonstrate the naturalequality of mankind.
 Jus cuique
, the golden rule, do as you would be done by, is all the equalitythat can be supported or defended by reason, or reconciled to common sense...."... When the French assembly of notables met, and I saw that Turgot's 'government is onecentre, and that centre the nation', a sentence as mysterious or as contradictory as the Athanasiancreed, was about to take place, and when I saw that Shay's rebellion was breaking out inMassachusetts, and when I saw that even my obscure name was often quoted in France as anadvocate for simple democracy, and when I saw that the sympathies in America had caught theFrench flame, I was determined to wash my hands as clean as I could of all this foulness...." (1)Of course Jefferson was not persuaded by Adams. In his March, 14, 1820 letter to Adams,Jefferson praised the leading Ideologue, Destutt de Tracy, the man who called his science of ideas, Ideologie, as one of the "ablest metaphysicians living." Jefferson included Tracy'sIdeology in an outline of a college curriculum he sent to Peter Carr in 1814. Ideology wasincluded in the curriculum finally established at the University of Virginia in 1824:I. Latin and Greek, higher grade, Hebrew, Rhetoric, Belles Lettres, AncientHistory, Ancient Geography.II. French, Italian, Spanish, German, English (Anglo-Saxon), Modern History,Modern Geography.III. Higher Numerical Arithmetic, Algebra, Trigonometry, Plane and SphericalGeometry, Mensuration, Navigation, Conic Sections, Fluxions, or Differentials,Military and Civil Architecture.IV. Mechanics, Statics, Hydrostatics, Hydraulics, Pneumatics, Acoustics, Optics,Astronomy, Law and properties of bodies.V. Chemistry, Mineralogy, Geology, Rural Economy, Botany, Zoology.VI. Anatomy, Surgery, History of Medicine, Physiology, Pathology, Materiamedica, Pharmacy.VII. Mental Science, Ideology, General Grammar, Logic, Ethics.

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