Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ideology is Making America Stupid

I enjoyed this article on the XX Committee, Ideology is Making America Stupid.  It reminded me a bit of The Pervert's Guide to Ideology, currently streamable on Netflix.  At one point in the film Slavoj Žižek talks about the UK riots and says the left felt everyone needed to understand the rioters.  The right felt their should be more arrests.  The prime minister was just mad that people were taking things, like that was the biggest crime possible.  Slavoj says consumerism has become an ideology of it's own, so ingrained that the rioters don't even know what they're doing.  They just know they should have stuff.  And then there's video of the rioters all carrying televisions and other items.  It's a very good movie.  Lots to think about if no one is trying to talk to you while you're watching.

"This really all comes down to ideology, meaning the substitution of preset cliches over actual thought. I’m not here to knock down the notion of ideology altogether, since all of us have some sort of one (and if you don’t realize you do, the more powerful a hold over you it has), rather I want to point out the hazards of letting that framework shut down genuine thought, discussion, and debate, because you know the answer already. The German word Weltanschauung (worldview) comes closest to what I’m discussing here, and in 21st century America lots of people get their designer worldview, pre-fab, off TV and the Internet, without ever thinking critically about what it might actually mean. Contrary evidence is ignored, out of hand, as lies or propaganda – which of course only the other side has – and perhaps “hatred.” The problem isn’t that Americans have ideologies, it’s that so many of them have embraced a worldview based on self-deception. Simply put, they devoutly, unshakably believe things that simply are untrue."

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