Ideology is Not the Enemy

Ideology has become a bad word in public discourse. People often accuse others of being ideological, as if it’s a bad thing. But, what is ideology? Ideology is a consistent set of ideas, beliefs, and principles that one holds. Is it wrong to be consistent? Is it wrong to have ideas? Is it wrong to have principles? If you believe in free speech, then you may believe in the idea of freedom, and that makes you ideological because freedom is an ideology. If someone believes in equality, whatever that may mean to them, then that is an ideology. I’m more afraid of people who reject ideology and call themselves “pragmatic”. Behind every pragmatic or practical decision is usually a hidden ideology, and these pragmatists usually make very inconsistent decisions from one issue to the next. What is wrong in public discourse is not the concept of ideology in itself, but that certain ideologies may be wrong. Don’t accuse someone of being ideological, instead accuse them of having an incorrect or irrational ideology, and make your case that your ideology is more correct and rational. The analogy in science is this:  even though some particular theories may be incorrect, this does not mean that the approach of using theories is incorrect in itself.

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