October 24, 2013


The errors of ideology: Pope Francis, Russell Kirk, the Religious Right, and the Tea Party (Stephen Bainbridge, 102213, ProfessorBainbridge.com)

The Pope continued, Jesus told us: "You burden the shoulders of people [with] many things; only one is necessary." This, therefore, is the "spiritual, mental" thought process of one who wants to keep the key in his pocket and the door closed: "The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people, distances, distances the people and distances of the Church of the people. But it is a serious illness, this of ideological Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new, eh? Already the Apostle John, in his first Letter, spoke of this. Christians who lose the faith and prefer the ideologies. His attitude is: be rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness. This can be the question, no? But why is it that a Christian can become like this? Just one thing: this Christian does not pray. And if there is no prayer, you always close the door."

It calls to mind, of course, Russell Kirk's wonderful text on the errors of ideology:

Ideology, in short, is a political formula that promises mankind an earthly paradise; but in cruel fact what ideology has created is a series of terrestrial hells. I set down below some of the vices of ideology.

Ideology is inverted religion, denying the Christian doctrine of salvation through grace in death, and substituting collective salvation here on earth through violent revolution. Ideology inherits the fanaticism that sometimes has afflicted religious faith, and applies that intolerant belief to concerns secular.

Ideology makes political compromise impossible: the ideologue will accept no deviation from the Absolute Truth of his secular revelation. This narrow vision brings about civil war, extirpation of "reactionaries", and the destruction of beneficial functioning social institutions.

Ideologues vie one with another in fancied fidelity to their Absolute Truth; and they are quick to denounce deviationists or defectors from their party orthodoxy. Thus fierce factions are raised up among the ideologues themselves, and they war mercilessly and endlessly upon one another, as did Trotskyites and Stalinists.

Ideology is the great moral, spiritual, and political failure of our time. Democrats have alsways been ideologues, of course, as are their fellows on the left. [...]

As we have just seen in the government shutdown, these new pseudo-conservative ideologues reject compromise out of hand. And, of course, they drum anyone who dares deviate in any way from the prescribed path out of the conservative movement. Precisely the characteristics Kirk identified as the attributes of ideological partisans.

Posted by at October 24, 2013 7:29 PM

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