Against ideology

Have you noticed how the common usage of the word “ideology” has changed? I find it unsettling when I hear someone today talk about his “ideology.” To my way of thinking that is like advertising that you cannot be convinced by any evidence to the contrary.

I am of a generation that learned from Sister in eighth grade that we should cultivate ideals rather than ideology; that we should strive to be reasonable rather than unreasonable, “ideology” being defined by Sister as the latter, while “ideals” were principles that stood the test of right reason.

We rightly expect our laws to be based on ideals, not ideology. Ideals denote a process of deliberation, a search for truth that involves a willingness to recognize error and to self-correct. Ideals presuppose transcendent truth and our ability to discern it.

Ideology requires none of that; it merely requires a pledge of allegiance to a preferred idea with no need for correction. In fact, correction is unthinkable because ideology, while often scorning objective truth, relies on the concept for its own justification.

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