Against Ideology, in Favor of Pragmatism

My first opinion column of the new year has been posted up at my brand new blog, Untimely Meditations. It is a remix of something I wrote several years ago, which I felt was in need of updating but was still very relevant. Enjoy!

Against Ideology, in Favor of Pragmatism
By Michael Kleen

Originally, the concept of ideology was not very alarming. The National Dictionary of 1939 defines ideology as “the science of ideas.” Since that time, however, ideology has taken on other connotations—specifically of dogma and of a rigid, doctrinaire understanding of the world. After the Second World War, both communism and fascism were said to be ideologically driven, but the same could easily be said for a wide variety of political beliefs. Ideology, as I will use the term, constitutes a rigid set of political or social doctrines and ideas that frame a ‘black and white’ worldview.

Ideology is particularly harmful because it seeks to reduce the complexity of human life and society to ultimates. It substitutes conscious reflection and careful consideration with axioms meant to apply to all situations. To an ideologue, for instance, ‘X’ will always supply an answer or explanation for every problem. “One simply turns to the ideological vending machine,” Daniel Bell once wrote, “and out comes the prepared formulae.”

Read the entire column here!

About Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and freelance columnist. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He lives in Rockford, Illinois, where he was the 2013 Republican candidate for mayor.

Posted on January 7, 2011, in Columns and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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