Ideology Exists and That Is Okay
The Federalist recently published an article called “The Paradox of Dogma: How the Left is Crippling Itself”.
I am sure this will get clicked and liked by a lot of people who are inclined to like the fiscal and social conservatism of the Federalist.
There is a lot of Ideology is the Enemy stuff out there. Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind tried to bridge the red and blue divide by explaining how liberals and conservatives place emphasis on different values. Our own Tod Kelley has a whole serious of posts on Ideology is the Enemy and worries that the Democratic Party and liberals are going off into the rigid deep-end like the Republican Party and conservatives.
I need to admit that I am always perplexed by ideology is the enemy discussions. I think ideology is part and parcel of what makes humans human. I am also perplexed about what my response is supposed to be when conservative media organizations like the Federalist publish “deep-thinking” pieces with titles like “The Paradox of Dogma: How the Left is Crippling Itself”. A conservative writer thinks I am being ideologically rigid and dogmatic, what am I to do? Am I supposed to abandon my belief in the morals and ethics of the welfare state including nationalized health-care, generous unemployment benefits, social security in old age and disability, food stamps, etc. Am I supposed to abandon my belief that African-Americans have been subject to systematic racism since the Colonial Days and it might take a lot of intervention to fix this problem? Or my belief in LGBT equality and the idea that we should not all be dominated by the morality and ethics of a handful of Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals? Am I supposed to abandon my belief in public schools, public parks, public transportation as being important to democratic and civic life?
The Federalist would seem to answer yes and that I should just become a conservative Republican. Many with some libertarian leanings on some stuff but forget all the welfare state and public goods stuff.
The problem is that I can do the same stuff to articles on the Federalist. A while ago they published an essay by a woman who was raised by two moms. The catch is that the woman wants the Supreme Court to rule against Same-Sex Marriage.
Heather Barwick writes about how children need a mother and a father but she also admits in her introduction “My dad wasn’t a great guy, and after she (Barwick’s mom) left him he didn’t bother coming around anymore.” Here is the problem! Barwick’s dad was an irresponsible shitbag! I can easily imagine a what-if where Barwick’s dad stays around and acts as a father even if Barcwick’s mom came out of the closet and left him for a woman. This situation has a bunch of outcomes. Barwick would support same-sex marriage because her dad was still around and it pained her to see that her mom and step-mom could not marry. Barwick could still oppose same-sex marriage because she saw how her dad was heartbroken at the situation. Barwick could support same-sex marriage and LGBT rights because she saw how needing to stay in the closet caused heartache because of all the secrets and lies that it requires. Barwick was not hurting because of SSM. Barwick isn’t hurting because she is the child of a lesbian. She is hurting because her dad is a jerk.
Perhaps it is simply human nature to think that ideological rigidity and dogma only exist on the other side and that your side presents a clear and cohesive world-view. We might also just be better off admitting that there are substantive differences in policy and in a nation of 300 million or so people, there is never going to be total victory and/or agreement. That might save everyone from hypertension.