Ideological Thought

Political ideology can corrupt the mind, and science.
– E. O. Wilson

Another interesting (and dangerous) part of ideologies and bias are the effects on thought. Ideological preservation implants itself into the mind quite easily. People obviously have their biases and read things how they want to, leading to blatant confirmation bias. However, ideologues go much farther, not allowing or giving any possible thought to alternate explanations most of the time. Otherwise, they risk their narrative being shattered. Thus, ideologues need to practice this far more than normal individuals.

Let’s take a simple example: the second amendment.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

The process goes something like this: the statement is read in the base language. Additional information such as context are thought of as well. This goes into the mind to be processed by the brain. Then, it hits the “ideological part” of the brain. An NRA member will read the 2nd amendment will focus on the “right of the People to keep and bear arms” segment. An gun control activist will focus on the “well regulated militia” segment. The other parts of the statement will most likely be ignored. Again, we read what we want, but ideologues have a bigger duty to preserve the narrative, and thus the typical bias is enhanced.

Another example is the controversy and narrative around the new Ghostbusters movie. The narrative is that anyone who does not want to see the movie is just a sexist. Any other explanation can be given, such as the movie is not funny or the special effects are bad, but this goes against the narrative. The narrative must be preserved at all costs.

On a different note, the narrative becomes pervasive when it is mixed with identity politics. The narrative needs to be preserved, even with non-arguments. For example, a male saying that the wage gap does not exist would be declared a sexist. One can point to a female saying that the wage gap does not exist, and the answer is usually “internalized misogyny” or they are “uneducated”, all of which are attacks on the individual instead of their position. The narrative implants itself in the brain. There is no possible way a female or a “true feminist” could argue against a feminist narrative or argument. So there has to be some kind of alternate explanation. It is difficult if not impossible to argue against non-arguments. Ideological preservation is the only thing that the ideologue cares about. It again goes deeper than bias, because the bias is necessary for the ideology’s survival. There is no possible way for an ideologue to think neutrally.

False Offense Offends Me

If someone tells me that I’ve hurt their feelings, I say,  “I’m still waiting to hear what your point is”

– Christopher Hitchens

The words “that’s offensive” or “that’s a sensitive subject” have no place in academia or universities, and in blunt honesty, the world. Many things that need to be debated are these so called sensitive issues, such as abortion rights or whether Islam encourages violence. If we are not debating sensitive subjects, what are we? And yes, you can use that right to ignore that people tout so frequently. Either ignore or debate with ideas, however. Do not attack the other side with “I’m offended”.

A similar tactic is to say that the person can not debate a subject due to their race or gender. The whole “you don’t know what it’s like to live as a woman!! ” card. Firstly, this is what ideologies like feminism hinge on. If men can’t criticize / analyze females or feminist ideals because they haven’t had experience as a female, then women can not criticize or analyze how men act because they have no idea what it is like to live as a man. But of course, men can criticize how other men act in a female or feminist perspective. Secondly, there are women who disagree with modern feminism. There are blacks who disagree with Black Lives Matter’s tactics or ideology. This aspect should not matter. But that’s ok. You can just tell them they have internalized misogyny or racism. This entire argumentative device depends highly on polylogism, the same reasoning that brought us actual racism.

Even so, these words bring us the idea that no ideology can have holes. That some issues are too big to criticize. What does this bring us? Things like A Feminist Glaciology or (because I hate it so much) postmodernism in general. It brings grandiose, insane, illogical, and ill-argued ideas. But you can’t criticize them! After all, A Feminist Glaciology is a feminist paper! You wouldn’t understand, silly white boy! There are critiques. There are critiques of critiques. There are critiques of critiques of critiques. This is how academia operates.


As a side note, two of the articles on the front page of Google when searching for “A Feminist Glaciology” say it was criticized by conservatives and climate change deniers. Yes, they have criticized it. Anyone with a brain can because they have that right. Always label your opponents and their arguments with the most extremist point of view possible. Especially when you haven’t even heard their criticisms yet, silly white male conservative!!

Political Tribalism and Identity Politics

There were people attending the Republican convention in blue jeans. Some asked if they were lost and if they needed directions to the Democratic convention.

– Newt Gingrich

    One of the many divisive aspects in politics has been the two party system. Especially in the modern age, everyone is all too eager to label their ideological opponents. This is clear despite the recent surge of people calling themselves independents. These labels have become increasingly hostile over the years, almost to the point of them being slurs in some areas. It’s clear that something is at play when Caitlyn Jenner says she gets more hate for being a Republican than for being transgender.

    The reason why Trump is attractive to many people is that he appeals to moderates that have been pushed out of the left by this increasing hostility. For example, I disagree with tight gun control. I’m not a second amendment freak, or think we should arm nine year olds. I just think that it would be ineffective. If people want drugs, they will get drugs. If people want guns, they will get guns. But then the leftist media will spam you with that story of that gun activist who was shot by her 4 year old son. Because it’s not like accidents happen or one person disregarded gun safety, it’s those evil guns and those idiot gun owners!

    You can’t criticize policies for policies’ sake anymore. You can’t argue against an idea because you think it’s wrong. You can’t take a slice of cake without having to eat the whole thing. There must be some ulterior motive. When I argued against the idea there is a wage gap or a rape culture on campus, I was asked by my resident heads if I was part of any conservative groups on campus. When Milo Yiannopoulos and Caitlyn Jenner are against gay marriage, there must be something really wrong. When latinos are against illegal immigration, they must be secretly racist.

    Identity politics have indeed divided more than it has brought us together. Viewing people as labels has made it easier than ever before to dismiss arguments without making any points. Admittedly, this also happens with the GOP who say Trump is not a “real conservative”, whatever that means. (But stereotyping and profiling people is wrong. We shouldn’t judge people based on their identity, unless we think their identity is wrong!) When this is combined with the idea that when you say you support a candidate, you support them 110% on everything, it only leads to mass anti-intellectualism. Especially with the current 2016 election, it is all too simple to label all supporters as the most extreme, distorted version of what they stand for. Trump supporters are all Nazis! Look at this picture of a Trump supporter doing a Nazi salute with no context (see side note)!! Honestly, it is only 5 or 6 words: “I support X as president”. You don’t know why they are supporting a candidate or if they even agree with them completely. Because there can’t be different reasons for liking a candidate. We must all be divided into individual camps that are clearly incompatible with each other.
Side note: The picture of the old white lady doing the Nazi salute at the Chicago Trump rally has been described by various sources as: an evil Trump supporter, a Hillary Clinton supporter doing it as a false flag, and a Trump supporter doing it ironically to piss off the protestors. Nuance is dead. But the good thing is it still represents all that is wrong with the Trump movement, right?