Are all idealistic political ideologies roughly equivalent


Ideology / de-ideologization

“The wind scatters the seeds of life across the planet. He makes grass and forests grow. The eternal winds of space whiz away. What are they wearing? Nobody knows. But I am convinced that nature created us and endowed us with reason so that we - like its servants, the winds - carry life into the vast, infinite worlds of the universe. The reason of the good must prevail, on earth and thereafter in the whole universe. "(1) (2)

The preceding sentence does not describe an ideology. Even if the rapid reception would just as quickly make one think of the ideology of the good or the ideology of reason. Now we're not running a Lukács business here. Therefore, the sentence conveys something like hope. But also insight into necessity. Things won't turn out for the better on their own. Perhaps only in a world that has been abandoned by humans. When nature breathes again. Without harmful and annoying interventions. But the harmful principles and their mechanisms must be counteracted. This is how engaging in reason is understood. And so we are pointed to both a subjective and an objective level.

In the same way, ideology functions on a subjective as well as an objective level. Reason can only remain its adversary as long as it is not poisoned, holds on to itself. And don't make the mistake of falling into relativism. At this point, ideology is (predominantly) understood as a harmful principle, first in the form of possibility. The following thoughts will show that there is no clear understanding of the word ideology. And that, in a way, that's not bad either.

You can't do without thinking anyway. In this area, too, there is no ready-to-use term that we can use unambiguously and unambiguously.


However, ideology per se is bad in a discursive field. It demands for itself to be an exception to the binding rules. Or even to represent the entirety or binding nature of applicable rules. But law and discourse are two different things: there are good reasons for this. Binding rules can of course be controversial, also graduated, different to differentiated. The hypothesis of law as ideology and the business of discourse ethics are not pursued here either. The text neither asks about the ideal discourse and its conditions, nor is it about appeals to a right life and action. Based on simple quotations, the text tries to get to the core of a meanwhile obsolete matter of course, which we can understand and describe without a bad conscience and without much ado as wrong thinking and wrong action. Namely if it is or will be ideological (directed). And in this sense that stands out clearly from the question of whether something is or is being legally (managed). However, and we know this from social and other practice, the appeal to law or statute does not always mean what actually is at the same time. But that brings to light other thoughts that are left out here for the time being.

»The term» ideology «(from French: doctrine of ideas) is the subject of controversial, sometimes incompatible interpretations, primarily in the modern social sciences. Right from the start, it is burdened by an unclear meaning and dual use as a political and everyday language of battle and as a scientific analysis term. "(3)

Let's start with a positive, i.e. verbally affirmative, understanding of ideology. It will be seen that this understanding draws its justification from the fact that one ideology stands against another, that is, that the word ideology asserts a certain intellectual and practical magnitude, as it has historically either proven itself or is yet to prove. In Berlin's Treptower Park, the following sentence is carved in stone within a memorial, i.e. succinct in the most literal sense:

"The ideology of equality of all races and nations anchored in our country, the ideology of friendship among peoples, has achieved complete victory over the Hitler-fascist ideology of bestial nationalism and racial hatred." (4)

The sentence comes from Stalin's orders of the day. At the time he was the absolute commander in chief of the Soviet Army. And even as an (absolutely) critical person, one can admit at least two things: He will have known what he was talking about. And that conveys a historical fact. This makes the word ideology indisputable in this context. It not only acts as an outcry of reason, as hope, as, for example, many of Kollwitz's works could be interpreted. Precarious with ideology is its continued existence independent of specific people. That is probably also meant in the origin of the word that in an ideology not only actions and words are internalized, but ideas, entire complexes and systems of ideas.

"Ideologies are also presented as unavoidable and ubiquitous widespread directive and ordering measures of cultural symbols and political terms that one has to know in order to understand their power for the formation of collective convictions." (3)

If this were not the case, one would not speak of neo-fascism or Stalinism etc. as a result of Stalin, depending on how one turns the view. In this respect, the victory achieved is historic in both senses. He had brought something forward, but so that the process of a supra-individual community of ideas and thoughts could not be completely abolished. The word historical therefore also means a (historical) transition stage, not just a historical sign. Abolition, in particular, is a critical (problematic) procedure, as it lifts thoughts etc exactly to where the ideologies are originally suspected. Namely in the realms of a supra-individual rationality or irrationality. Nevertheless, one can add: don't be afraid of ideas!

»The genesis of the term reflects the Enlightenment idea of ​​a new empirical science of social technology that reached further parts of the emerging political public through the modern education system. In this context, systems of ideas or ideologies could now serve as important elements for mobilizing increasingly active political citizens and form the core of convictions of social movements «(3)

The entire science, starting with Stalin and following in his footsteps, was probably considerably wrong if it suspected the devil in the details of the ideas. To this day, for example, an understanding of German idealism has been significantly distorted and dented as a result. One can understand that German ideas could quickly be identified with what historically became the addressed fascism, even without a great examination of the individual situation and thoughts. And this narrowing doesn't seem right. This text hardly offers any further discourse on the contrast between materialism and idealism.

Materialism / Common Sense

Materialism has also become ideological, in a variety of forms, as long as it was started innocently before antiquity. However, material atomism (Leukippus, Democritus) was actually charged with ideological content from the start. In this sense the atom was a spiritual conception, a creation, an idea. Even if it found its confirmation in later natural science.

The core of political convictions, which is a pretty equivalent to the atom as a word, is of course based on all sorts of structures, be they thought, be experienced or experienced, be they wrested from the desire for something different, for something better. And there is also the tradition of forging core convictions here. How easy it seems to think something is right because others and possibly important people close to you thought it was right or still do so. Transmission always becomes part of the discourse via the form of communication. No topicality simply cancels the traditional character of content. The opposite assumption transfigured the now, spontaneity itself, into ideological magnitudes.

"Today's use of the term" ideology "follows on from the considerations of Marx and Engels, who use it in different ways, but always deal with the problem of the relationship between interests and ideas, base and superstructure. ... Beyond the still recognizable subject-theoretical idea, the consideration goes beyond whether the social conditions themselves necessarily produce ideological thinking. ... Going further, Marx defines the contradiction between productive forces and production relations as the cause of ideological ideas, since the "legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophical, in short, ideological forms" are the medium "in which people become aware of this conflict and fight it out" (On the Critique of Political Economy) «(3)

In a certain open position, we are constantly surrounded by ideologies and ideological attitudes. To see it, we don't have to make a big digression on consumption and advertising. It is psychological thoughts that tell us that we want things because we prefer to perceive the idea systems behind them.

And the question of why someone has, for example, a small silver car as a key fob, cannot be answered unequivocally, not from this perspective. It is not necessarily the ideology or utopia of a free ride for free people on the endless highways of this world, not the memory of the frenzy of getting faster and faster. It would therefore be premature to infer the ideology of bloodshed for petroleum. Maybe it's just the practical shape plus weight that gives the object meaning. Possibly the memory of the friend who picked me up in a similar car in order to reach the orchards behind the outskirts together. Do we really want to speak of an ideological influence? The criticism of the term ideology also sensibly reaches its limits.

Who, for example, really recognizes empirically that the world / earth on which we live is a sphere or an irregular spatial body in space ?! We can hardly avoid believing it. With this we make a concession for ideological thinking, i. to a system of thinking, ideas and explanations. We then consider it normal to harmless. Yes, call it common sense.

This is precisely (but possibly) a point of departure for further ideologies. Don't just build on absurd demands, on irrational moments, but sneak in through the door of the plausible or so-called authentic. That already sounds like in the word of empirical science. And who, as a result of Marx or Hegel, for example, would not say that becoming conscious is a necessary to excellent matter.

Oppression / identity

The ideology, which would also consist in suppressing subjective consciousness, because it would be suspicious of the origin of the insight into the medium of ideological forms, acted in progressive self-contradiction. It is precisely this self-contradiction, along with other questions of domination or power over people, that is a clear indicator of ideology, especially in its overturning from a socially descriptive and questioning function to its negative. And common sense depicts this negative where the social, communal, social element, the actual object of common sense (sensus communis), becomes compulsion, leads to coercive community.

"But ideologies as ideological knowledge appear with absolute claims to truth." (3)

In this respect, the social element is the social form, the context in which we live. In the negative then, have to live. And that someone must or should something because everyone else must or should do it too, that in no way loosens the situation, does not automatically make the ideology smarter or more humane or whatever.

But just distinguishes the context of life as still ideological. And the omission of the absolute (absolute claims to truth) does not make the situation any more transparent. One faces one system or several systems of truth claims. If you ignore the truth, what remains is tangible: the claims. Or, what is much more demonized, the identity or the establishment of identity takes the place of the truth claim.

Here the subsequent thinking branches out into needs, interests and assertions; everything as claims. Who would not think that they have a claim in life, to ask, to be able to and to be allowed to make a claim on life and on themselves. But one quickly realizes that these ideas, too, come from the center of the personality, from a so-to-speak honest will, certain other constants or ideological patterns (one has an understanding of the imprecise word), are obliged, wrested or borrowed. Or can be. This ability as a form of possibility also revolves problematically around identity.

If claims can be derived from identity alone, it is almost inevitably an ideology. The consequence of this insight has by no means been understood as binding in the current discourse. And that can be formulated in such a general way that it would come into play in various example fields.

Demands can also be demands that are made of this identity. It quickly becomes clear that identity can mean an ideological narrowing of the complex appearance. For example when a person is narrowed down to their social status. And there is no end to the list of examples. The class consciousness from below was an attempt to reverse this ideological component of political life. To turn a disadvantage into an advantage, so to speak. To this day, the ultimate break-up of the ideological housing has only been achieved in rare cases (in relation to society as a whole). Even the diverse systems of socialism had never got over a fixation of the individual on the basis of ideological values.

Self-determination / reason

But those who only speak or start out from ideologies misunderstand the reality of ideologues. Because that an ideology, regardless of its nature and orientation, reproduces itself completely on its own, is probably the glaring error of thinkers who accept a world of free actors as a given. Freedom does not necessarily make free.

Self-determination and everything that can be connected to it (to think) is a classic example of this per se. And this is suppressed by current theories on self-determination, in some cases fundamentally and radically. In contrast, only equally radical thinking can help, for example in the form of radical philosophy. Or a fundamental exposition of a true basis of coexistence, or even the recourse to the foundation of a current way of life, as it has manifested itself in the basic rights, the human rights. The instrumentalization of injustice, on the other hand, remains sisterly to injustice.

"Because the bourgeois class wants to maintain its rule, which is objectively already overdue, it must, as Marx explains, pass its particular interests as universally valid and therefore cannot attain true knowledge of itself, as it expresses itself in philology, law, politics, etc. reach; this would reveal the interests of one's own thinking and relativize one's own claim to power. Your thought products are therefore ideology. "(5)

The application of the general to the particular is probably not the only function of ideology. The word of necessity here rushes senselessly towards social support. From this perspective, truth is certainly a problem concept. However, renouncing the truth does not solve the problem in any way, it only makes the basic ideological presuppositions of life and thought much less insightful. Which brings us back to the simple concealment of facts. Without truth, without a concept of truth, we put down a suitable tool. Without getting a better or different one for it. That's rather foolish. And truth is not a static or statistical measure - just a reminder.

»The task of a critique of ideology as part of an epistemology would be to investigate the dependence of philosophical thinking on historical-social circumstances and its possible function as a justification for what is only factually given and thus precisely the critical function of philosophy in relation to itself as complete (just, free) to secure the social reality that is spent. "(5)

The simplest, of course, would be to replace the must and ought with wanting. And, if one subtracts all the fine talk from reason: this, too, can be reasonable. That will remain the problem of reason until now: That the individual renounces freedom for the sake of freedom. But between the renunciation and the compulsory renunciation there may be more than one world, more than light years of thought, more than one bloody social divide or whatever. In between lies the whole question of free will.

Can one assume free will?

And only the answer to this question, which everyone has to provide for himself, can make a decisive contribution to the persistence and effectiveness or ineffectiveness of ideologies. And will bring very different intelligences to light.The fear of intelligence = ideology is used more and more problematically to justify existing ideologies. You don't have to call it fear. From reservation to aversion, everything is possible. Also, the insistence within Marxist or materialist forms of thought on the striving for or falling into the camp of the so-called exploiters is more than banal / precarious or less than that, and fails to recognize the actual self-educating mission of a group called for liberation = self-liberation of people. In this context, clinging to social identity is more than a hindrance, in other words: ideological.

In addition, the possibility of discourse, criticism and dialogue is already far too widespread to strive for a return to the unsocialized days. There may be areas of life that are not characterized by the massing of people, but communication is not a technical manipulated variable that we can neglect or turn back undamaged and imperceptibly.

Communicativity and sociality can be distinctive features of a common way of life, which, for the sake of simplicity, we could still call the state as a whole, or quite differently, depending on the context, e.g. also a discourse community, which no longer needs any ideological definitions. (7) Neither for self-determination nor for external determination. With this, the essential categories of the friend and foreign group in the sociological sense no longer existed.

Everything else is more or less a private matter and has little or nothing to do with social theory. Or we continue to assume a certain superiority of certain groups of friends or enemies. But is it useful? Then the form of the ideology might only be softer at the edges. Humanized, apparently domesticated, so to speak.

We certainly do not want to admit that friendship is an ideological term. But where friendship correlates with social identity, suspicion arises. And: in transferring private categories to the social, a possible form of ideologization can be recognized. Even if one cannot conclude that there is bad intent.

“It cannot be denied that philosophical knowledge is indebted to the social conditions in which it is carried out; at the same time it remains true that these are to be measured against norms and to be changed in response to them, which are not yet given with the factual.

Nowadays, political facts must be justified and substantiated above all in a communicative way. Therein lies the use of a possibility of de-ideologization (de-ideologization). Anything else would be (just) a decree. In this respect, communication is also a practical intelligence. And whoever prevents it is (with a certain probability) guilty of dismantling ideology. Man is not an ideology. The good humanism knew this, the bad had it exactly wrong. (6)

And it shouldn't be a bad idea at this point that we're talking about humanism. In this conception, in this terminology, there is a dispute of ideology from the beginning: the human being as an ideom, as an idea, as an idol. The cut man today contributes a lot to ideology, to ideologization, be it as chauvinism, be it as feminism, in so many forms. That concerns questions of the creation of identity.

2014 © R A in June in Berlin.


(1) Cosmonaut Yuri Glaskov

(2) Ernst R. Sandvoss, Space Philosophy, p.204

(3) De Gruyter / Handbook of Political Philosophy and Social Philosophy

(4) documented live.

(5) Brugger / Herder, Philosophical Dictionary

(6) This continued into anthropology.

(7) Or one would stop at the criticism of political economy. Which might not yet or no longer be the broad horizon that one (at least analytically) hoped for. How about Arcadian feelings or philosophizing, i.e. thinking / speaking / listening / acting in the open air ?! Outside the historic cubicle.

Small anniversary edition for my one year existence in the community.

Essay. Treatise.

For those who still know the spirit of dialogue. And appreciate.

The text is intended to show an approach to political theory. To that extent, it paves the way for others. And unfolds knowledge beyond the cultural and everyday field.

Keep moving!