Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Undersatnding Ideology

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everyone knows I support Obama*
(see bottom)


Some assumed that all the groups on my chart were meant to be hate groups. I said they were "ideologies." I am distinguishing between the two. Everyone has an ideology, that doesn't make you a hate group. By including communism I was demonstrating this because I don't see communism as a hate group. I was an communist and while I think communism as a whole was a mistake, I still have a certain fondness for different aspects and groups such as the fourth International (the "Trots"). I certainly would not lump myself in with a hate group. Now I think the hate group segment of atheism, which is very real, I call them "Dawkamentaists," are very ideological. Ideology is a basic staple of a hate group. But having an ideology does not make you a hate group.

To a certain extent Churches have ideologies, Christianity has an ideology. I will include Christianity in my next chart. I'm going to do the next chart on groups that it would be absurd to claim as hate groups: Christian Evangelicals (not fundie extremists, not abortion clinic bombers but just regular conservative Christians), hippies (non communist counter culture guys) Democrats, Republicans. These three mainstream groups and a non violent group. I think there was consternation becasue I put atheists in the same chart with Nazis. But I also put communists and Black Muslims and extreme feminism in the same chart. How could Black Muslims and Femists be Nazis? They could be Nazi-like (I'm not saying they are) but they wold antithetical to Nazi ideology. Same with communists.

Ideology means we view the world through one lens and everything is filtered through that lens, that one idea that defines all. One Idea defines all that's how I would defines ideology. Of course come groups are more ideological than others. Internet atheists are one of the most ideological, and they may be the most self deceived about their own ideolgoical nature. I think that find that in general atheists are very very touchy. They see everything as a criticism they chafe at the slightest analysis. They are always looking for an insult. The most ideological groups are the least open minded. To be an ideologue is to wear blinders so that one can see only the one idea, everything must be defined through that idea. I find atheists on message boards who can't conceive of religious experience apart from mental illness or delusion. They can't conceive of religion as a positive thing. Even though some of them admit there are positive things about religion, they can't possibly conceive of a net advantage. They cant' possibly conceive of anything that one might associate with the word "G-0-d" as anything but impossible and ridiculous and illogical, even if they can't show a single reason by the rules of logic why it should be illogical. It just has to be illogical to think about God, if there's no real reason they can give. These are clearly examples of ideological assumptions at work.

Of course not all atheist think this way, I know that. i never said otherwise. We are all at different levels. Some of us free ourselves from ideology to a greater extent than others. Its' all a matter of to what extent one are willing to use other lenses to look at the world. When we can't use any other lens, everything is so clear with that one lens that we use to define it all, then are trapped in ideology. made that chart one day on the bus coming back from class AT UTD when I was a Ph.D. student in history of ideas. I heard the black bus driver talking about Black Muslim ideas with a friend who was also a Black Muslim. It hit me "they have all the elements of their view that communists and anti-communists have." I had long been aware that communists and anti-communists are mirror images of each other, (as fundamentalists and atheists are to some extent mirror images at times). I began to think how many groups can fit into that chart? I fitted feminist separatism into it right away (in Arts and Humanities department there was a culture war going on at that time--early 90s--and the feminist quasi separatists were giving everyone hell). So I eventually came to realize that almost all groups can be put on the chart. Now you might think at that rate there's no difference in being on the chart and not being on it. Well to some extent I think everyone does have ideology. But there are a couple of differences that would make say Christian fundamentalism in the "quiver full" group a candidate for the chart and not the Southern Baptists. Just as there is a reason to put "Dawkamentalists" on it and not all atheists.

The first reason is becasue not all elements are going to be represented fully. To explain what I mean let me go through the chart and explain what's on it and why.

Ideology:

The first element is "ideology." That's a paradox like Kant's list of lists becasue the whole chart is illustrating ideological groups, so to put ideology on there assumes we know in advance they are one so we don't need the chart. That's a logical mistake, I didn't think it through. All of these characteristics make up ideology. So I will reformulate the chart. What i should have said rather than ideology is "exigence." That is each group has a mission, they see a problem that needs solving and they have a name for that problem. Usually that problem involves members of the group feeling victimized by soemthing. For example communists see class struggle as the operative problem in society and themselves feel victimized by class struggle. With Nazism I said "Aryan Supremacy" but I should say "racial struggle." Nazis saw themselves as racially superior but begin victimized and help by by "inferior races."
I did not put the group's own victimization on the chart, that should probably be there.

Party line:

That's a hall mark of ideology. The part Line is what the leadership chooses as a propaganda device for all their members to say. This is in complete contradiction to everything atheists like to think about themselves. Free thinkers do not follow party lines. Of cousre if you look at what atheists actually say on the net almost all of them do follow a party line. On the chart I reflect upon who is in charge of setting the party line so I should probably change the category o "arbiters of party line." For communists that's easy, the soviets, the governing body of the Soviet union and that was ran by the Polite Bearue. That category is rather murky for atheism because they don't have a set part structure, unless we count the leaders of national organizations. Not nearly enough has been done to study the national atheist organizations. I have a feeling they set the agenda even more so than Dawkings. On the Chart I left it up to "atheist stars" such as Dawkins and Harris. Of course atheists will object to all of this saying they don't follow the dictates of an organization. But I think they clearly do, but it's diffused because it's spread about through atheist stars like Dawkins.

Scapegoat:


this is important aspect. This is one of the distinguishing features that makes the difference between a mild ideological gestalt for a mainstream group and real ideologically driven group. The scape goat is the corollary to the exigence. That is it's the agent which persecutes the ideolgoical group in its victim hood and makes the problem (the "exigence") a problem. For atheists of course that wold be religious people, primarily fundamentalists. For communists its a capitalist, for anti-communists guess what it is? A commie of course! Of course to Nazis it's the Jews. The scapegoat is the one to blame it all on. We see the scapegoating aspect so clearly in Zuckerman's study where he finds that major reason we don't have a social democracy paradise like Sweden is because of religion. Religious people are holding us back and if we just didn't have them we would have paradise. Never mind that America is firmly entrenched in capitalism and vast monetary interests have profit motive reasons for not supporting social democracy, why without religious thinking those guys would be greedy. Religious thinking just causes all problems of the world.

Vanguard:

The antithesis of the scapegoat. The noble knight who will enact the party line, battle the scapegoat and solve the exigence. For the communists this was the party members for sure, but especially the party leaders. Some of these groups that don't have strong party structure have ambiguous leadership. There is no atheist party structure to speak of so there are no officially designated atheist leaders, unless of course you look at the national organization. That's not a party and it doesn't represent very many atheists on the boards. Nevertheless, I used to see this a lot, when I would say things about when I was an atheist and they would say "you were never an atheist, because true atheitss wouldn't think that way. In the next breath they would claim that I was doing the "no true Scottsman thing!" Be that as it may one can pick out a Vanguard in atheist ranks. That would be first and foremost the atheist stars, Harris, Dawkins, Dennett, Doherty and so on. Leaders of atheist message boards, but board hosts (Infidel guy, leaders of the sec web) and posters who a lot of attention. If atheism was an army the posters on the boards would be the non commissioned officers.

Eschatology:

This is another hall mark. Mainstream groups seem to have this less clearly defined. I think that's becasue everyone has a veg a idea of the pay off of a particular belief system but only those groups very grounded in ideology have to so clearly defined that it's a positive goal. For the average Christian perhaps it's going to heaven. Heaven can be anything for anyone, that's not very clear. But for Christian extremists it might be returning America to the golden (non existent) age when 99.9% of Americans were conservative Christians. For party structure groups is very clear: communists the worker's paradise when capitalism fades away. Then we have a new humanity (another hallmark) and we will go fishing in the morning make a bit of steel in the after noon. For less clearly defined groups in terms of structure the goal my be a bit more veg but still pretty sharp. For atheists I said "Sweden." That's according to Zuckerman. He sees the Social Democracies of Europe as paradisaical lands where no one is poor, all sick people receive care, they never have wars and all because they rid themselves of the evils of religion. This is clearly a watered down Marxism.

Marx' eschatology was a watered down Biblical promised land. Marx had a long line of Rabbinical ancestors and it's long been observed that he just naturalized and politicized the Biblical notion of eschatology. There is a final battle between good (socialism) and evil (capitalism). The workers arrive in the promised land but instead of the Messiah returning for a thousand year reign its the party who enacts the big big version of the five year plan. For atheism Zuckerman is the prefect expression of an atheist eschatology. The promised land for him is the religonless social democracy of Sweden, and all that Sweden represents for him: no religion, (supposedly) no poverty, social welfare agency see to all our needs, sterling educational sysetm, and great humanistic society.

All the elements of the chart fit together. There's an exigence that must be solved, ti's caused by the scape groat who victimizes the heroic group, but a vanguard of that group will form a party, carry out a party line and usher in the parsdisic state by ridding itself of the scapegoat. These are the hallmarks of all ideological groups. They all fit on there. The fact that Dawkamentalism fits on doesn't make it a hate group, but it means that it's so heavily ideologically laden that it's members think in sterio types and the notion fo "free thinking" is a joke among them.

I'm sure that people will give me flack on each one of these observations. The overall point is that atheists seem to be hyper annoyed by any insinuation that they have an ideology. I think most atheists on the net who argue on message boards are heavily ideological, not all of them are necessarily unable to make any coherent observations. I'm not saying this precludes anyone from being right about a lot of things. It doesn't make them a hate group. But does make the very stereotype oriented in their thinking. Now I'm sure a lot of people will call this a conspiracy theory. I am not talking about a conspiracy. It's a gestalt. It's an impetus that emerges from social interaction of many many like minded people (all hooked on the same steriotypes) and that develops into an ideology and takes on a life of its own.

I'm going to revise the old chart where it is posted it wont be a major repair. I'm going to change ideology to exigence. especially now that I know how to spell it. Here's the new chart that shows groups which are clearly not hate groups in my view to prove to Hermit that being on the chart does not make one a hate group.

The brand of christian fundamentalism on the new chart is just general mainstream televangelism. These groups the first three are clearly ones I could belong to or have some semblance of connection to and that i clearly don't see as hate groups.

For example I list global warming as the exigence for the Green Party but I actually believe global warming is not only true but is our no one problem in the world today. So this is not say that any of these things are necessarily wrong.










































across = group down = charactoristicChristian FundamentalismGreen partyGhandi's movement (Satiagraha)
ExigenceSinEnvironmental degradation (global warming)Violence
party lineSet by TelevangelistsRalph NaderGhandi
scape goatLiberal humanismPollutorsUnenlightened people
VanguardTelevangelists and other preachersEcologically aware hippie typesSatiagrahis
eschatologyThousand year reign of ChristEcologically balanced worldPeaceful world




Unfortunately the atheist side of the talbe didnt' show the answer there are:

exigence= free from religion
ideology = free from religion
set by = Dawkings and other atheist stars
scape goat = Christians
Vanguard = new atheism
eschatology = Sweden (enlightened atheist country)



*about the graphic. This was used on a right wing site on the net called "The American Thinker." I use it here not because I think it reelects truth but just as an example of ideology at work.

5 comments:

A Hermit said...

My objection to your first chart (the one I saw BEFORE you edited it...)was the way you lumped the general term "atheism" in with radical subsets of other belief systems. We had, on the hand. "atheism" and on the other "EXTREME feminists" (not just "feminism") Communists (not the more generic 'socialists) and Nazis (not merely nationalists).

Coming on the heels of your defense of the bigoted Cardinal and his dehumanizing insults, and given your past rants against atheists and atheism I don't think I was over-reacting at all.

By the way, I was sociology major back in my undergraduate days; that was a long time ago, and my life took me in another direction so I certainly don't claim to be an expert in the subject, but neither am I totally ignorant of it as you implied in another comment; I've actually read some Durkheim, Weber's "Protestant Ethic" as well as Marx and Engels.

What you were doing in that last post was not an exercise in sociological categorization, it was an attempt to pigeonhole atheists into your imaginary "hate group", motivated by your anger at Zhavric. Like I said, I'm no expert but I know enough to spot the difference...

J.L. Hinman said...

I shouldn't have said extreme I should have said feminists separatist. But I compensated for that by changing atheist to Dawkametnlist. so I'm not talking about all atheists but the Dawkes.


Coming on the heels of your defense of the bigoted Cardinal and his dehumanizing insults, and given your past rants against atheists and atheism I don't think I was over-reacting at all.

Hes' not bigoted. That's your ignorance. you are stilling to capitalize for propaganda.

By the way, I was sociology major back in my undergraduate days; that was a long time ago, and my life took me in another direction so I certainly don't claim to be an expert in the subject, but neither am I totally ignorant of it as you implied in another comment; I've actually read some Durkheim, Weber's "Protestant Ethic" as well as Marx and Engels.


If I did imply that I apolgoize.

What you were doing in that last post was not an exercise in sociological categorization, it was an attempt to pigeonhole atheists into your imaginary "hate group", motivated by your anger at Zhavric. Like I said, I'm no expert but I know enough to spot the difference...


that's your jaundice reading. you can't see the ideology because you are a brainwashee. I'm trying to show the ideological nature of atheism and I think I do that pretty well.

A Hermit said...

" I'm trying to show the ideological nature of atheism and I think I do that pretty well."

You're so blinded by your own hatred that you think people objecting to being called "less than fully human" is evidence that they belong to a hate group.

Not much left say, really...

J.L. Hinman said...

you are so ideologically motivated you refuse to the take the comment in th proper context. you want to think of yourself as a oppressed by evil forces (you are so noble).

A Hermit said...

"you are so ideologically motivated you refuse to the take the comment in th proper context."

I already gave you my my response to that "context"; it's no excuse.

How about responding to my concerns instead of calling me a whiner?

"you want to think of yourself as a oppressed by evil forces (you are so noble)"

No, I'm just objecting to the offensive comments of one bigoted asshole and your defense of those comments.

Actually, that's pretty funny coming from you...you're the one telling me I'm part of a "hate group" because I don't like being told my beliefs and I are "less than fully human", that atheists on the internet are out to destroy you, that atheists at large, although by your own reckoning only the tiniest of minorities, represent some kind of dire threat to religion...

Get your own martyr complex under control instead of projecting it onto me.