July 14, 2014
Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire, commented that this is an interesting term whose meaning, or connotation has changed subtly through the centuries. By derivation of course, it means the “study of ideas.” That definition is now considered either archaic or belonging to the realm of philosophy. But its hidden, and increasingly not so hidden meaning has come to be something a touch nefarious.
Ideology has come to be associated with extreme left and extreme right political or social factions. To personalize the word, give it a little sting, the targets of this word are called “ideologues” (so and so is just another crazy ideologue – you hear this all the time). Well this pejorative use of the word, drives ME crazy. We ALL have a large set of notions that constitute the way we look at, make sense of, and understand our environment. And of course, ideas are not always true, which I guess means scientifically proven or validated? So the notion that ideologues often believe in myths, or fanciful speculation has developed.
This begs the question though, are the great masses of centrists in the world free of ideology? Of course not. Not even for us folks who split things down the middle, base our concepts on things we know, and things we think we know. It is especially popular for members of the extreme left to call members of the extreme right, ideologues, as though the term were a polite but definite slur. The right does the same to the left.
I am waiting for the day when a socialist calls me a centrist ideologue. The unkindest cut of all. I guess then I will be accused of being wishy washy, hopelessly undecided, or worse (rather than thoughtful, balanced, or eclectic – now wouldn’t that be a terrible thing?).