IDEALISM, IDOLATRY AND IDEOLOGY Radical Bleeding Heart image


Liberal ideology is just as pernicious as conservative ideology. For example, the fundamental idea behind feminism is merely that men and women are equal. But women are as varied in their attitudes, values, and ambitions as are men. Certain feminist ideologies, which privilege career women over homemakers and have open contempt for such things as child-rearing, have alienated many women as well as men. As a result, many young women, who have greatly benefitted from the social gains of the feminists, reject feminism out of hand.

If liberalism seems somewhat less encumbered by the stultifying baggage of ideology at the present (2012) it is partly because of the long decades it has spent in the political wilderness since the ascendancy of Thatcher/Reagan conservativism. Right-wing ideologies became the accepted conventional wisdom while left-leaning ideologies were mocked and derided. That caused many craven and opportunistic Democrats to themselves endorse milder versions of Reaganism, while liberals who remained true to their values were forced to become more thoughtful and pragmatic. The latter was a good thing, but it did not go far enough.

It did not because the left had become terrified by its failures and unconscious of its successes. The successes (in the U.S.) were Roosevelt's New Deal and Johnson's Great Society, a collection of programs that promoted a thriving economy and put its fruits increasingly in the hands of those whose labor had created it. But the left had lost its intellectual bearings and allowed the right to belittle those programs as “safety nets,” protection merely for those who fall. Capitalism was thus presented as the real engine of prosperity, the “safety nets” being of value only to the failures in the great game of free-market competition. Liberals allowed themselves to be presented as the defenders of “losers” instead of the champions of the hard-working sources of economic prosperity — which is what in fact they are.

The failures were failures of ideology, especially Marxism, Leninism, and Stalinism. The right really ought to build a monument to Stalin in gratitude for all he did for their cause by discrediting the aspirations of the left. Stalin's crimes have so thoroughly discredited Marxism in the eyes of the great majority that they have nearly obliterated what Marx (and other like-minded thinkers of his time) actually had to say. For many, these ideologies have been turned inside out: from idols to be worshiped they have become idols of evil.

That is a great shame, because what they said is still of great value. Marx was not a Marxist, and his insights into modern economics have great relevance for today. Unfortunately, they have been buried under the rubble of the destroyed ideologies perversely erected in his name. The left has been terrified to return to its core ideas, to go back to its roots, for fear of being associated with those failed ideologies. As a result, hardly anyone knows what capitalism — or socialism — really is. The study of economics has been conquered by right-wing ideologues. The control of economic ideas means control of the economy, and control of the economy is control of the world.

It is time to expose the lies that have allowed the few to control and exploit the many.

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