Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Danger of Ideology

Sometime in my college career (I'm getting old; I can be vague like that) I took an Economics class, not from any Interest in the topic, but because it would fulfil a requirement for my major. And...well, I respect the fellow who was teaching the class, Dr. Van Mobley, to the point of a Man-Crush.

To that point...not beyond.

Shut up.

Anyway, he said something in that class which stuck with me. I asked him one day after class, "Dr. Mobley, are you a free-marketer or a Keynesian?"

(For those of you unfamiliar with economics and things, that's the equivalent of saying "are you conservative [free-market] or liberal [Keynesian]?")

He said to me--and this is where it gets good--he said, "Ian, I don't believe in having ideologies, except in one area. I suppose you'd call me a Muddle-Headed Middleman."

Naturally, I asked for an explanation, and he said that with a lot of things, "what works" is the most important, not "what's right." He said that especially with economics, religiously clinging to one or another "camp" could really hurt everyone involved. And then I had a class, so I raced off and sorta forgot about the whole thing.

But...well, it's summer, and I have nothing better to do than Think, sometimes, and I began thinking about ideologies, and how having Ideologies can be really very dangerous.

Explain, Ian! you shriek with your creepy, nonexistent, disembodied voices.

Well, let me start by explaining the one ideology I do hold, and proudly:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no end. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church, I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Yes, that's the Nicene Creed. Deal with it.

I live by what that document summarizes. Actually, I live by the rules of the Bible, but that was too long to put in here. The Nicene Creed is a bit shorter.

Where are you going with this, Ian? you shriek again.

Just hear me out: this is an acceptable ideology--even, it's a GOOD ideology to have. The problem arises when people start adopting ideologies about things which should not be ideologized. Like, democracy. Or...economics.

Now, I recognize the Bible does touch on how governments should interact with God (humbly, pretty much) and how money should be handled (responsibly). But when people start talking like Democracy or Keynesianism or NoCopyrightLawsIsm or any other Ism or Ocracy or whatever is on the level of the only worthwhile Ideology, red flags should go up.

Ah, it's hard to explain what I'm thinking. Christianity has its ardent apologists, as well it should; but should capitalism have as ardent apologists? Aren't those apologists perhaps slipping into idolatry? The only thing that can save us is the atoning blood of Christ; reduced emissions can't save us, deregulation of gun ownership can't save us, lower taxes can't save us...

Nearly all ideologies are chiefly concerned with bettering the human condition; it's my contention that if we live at peace with all men and wait for the Better Country, God will Iron out our problems here in this brief pale for us.

There's a Bible verse which talks about this, but...well, I can't find it.

Long live Dithering!

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