Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ideology's Bad Rap

In his recent state of the union speech, President Bush stated that the secret of America's strength "lies not in our government, but in the spirit and determination of our people."

I am not a historian, but I understand that the founders of our great country were influenced by ideals that they gleaned from Greek writers, the Protestant reformation and Judeo-Christianity, and enlightenment philosophy.

John Adams, believing in the values of a republic as the best form of Government, said, “They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men.”

So I disagree with the platitude expressed by the President. Determination is not a virtue if one is misinformed. "Spirit" is too vague for me to even comment on.

My point is not to dive into political ramblings, but rather to point out that I believe that ideology has gotten a bad name. I think this is because ideology has become misassociated with dogma. One can hold to an open-minded ideology. Such an ideology is exemplified in the humility of the idealist.

In fact, any expressed belief that rejects ideology is an ideology by definition.

I believe in an ideology that has been birthed from the questioning of an objective open-minded person who loves the truth over being right and who sees that truth as a liberating force to set one free.

If one believes only in empiricism, you won't be able to say you can know anything, because none of us can read all of the books written on a given subject. And even if we could, what about all of the wealth of knowledge on a subject that is NOT contained within books, but is contained within conversations with knowledgeable people and empirical research? As finite human beings we just don't have the ability to know anything comprehensively. However, we can know the world meaningfully...

It is ideology that has the infinite ability to see beyond our finite eyes and hear beyond our human ears. I am not a psychic, but it is my simple ideological view, informed from my limited empirical experience, that tells me that if I get a treat for my cats out of the kitchen cabinet, they will both come running to the kitchen in anticipation.

It was from a well informed ideological worldview that believed in the fallen state of man as taught in Christianity, that formed the basis for our system of Government, that has proven to be the most successful in the world.

In one of the Federalist papers, one of our founders expressed this ideology this way in support of our system of checks and balances. "If men could be angels, or if angels could govern men, we would not need our form of Government..." - Greg Jones paraphrase.

They turned out to be wisely informed by their worldview. And thank God they had an ideologically informed worldview. Although empiricism supported their claims, our founders didn't have a good historical example of the Government that they forged.

I am convinced that the successes and threats to any successful Government, are a validation of the Christian "Fall of Man" ideology.

When I wrote of the "humility of the idealist" above, do you see the connection between belief and the character of the believer? There is an intrinsic relationship between our character and what we believe. This is often called objectivity or subjectivity. I have discussed this in previous blogs....

In the old t.v. series the X Files, the main character Moulder had signs posted in his office that read, "The Truth is Out There" and "I Want to Believe".

What do you want to believe?

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