by Jerry Richardson 11/30/14
Why have we become a society that desires, even demands, ideological outcomes? Why not outcomes guided by law, or by logic, or by tradition, or by reasoned-deliberations, or by any other rational nexus; but why outcomes dictated by political ideology?
The events and responses surrounding the events in Ferguson, Missouri have driven me to this question.
As much as the raw events themselves in Ferguson have demonstrated the persistent gratuitous-use of ideology; the resulting reporting of fabricated ideology-tainted narratives by major elements of the national press have unmistakably demonstrated that we are certainly not living in an age of reason; but in an age of lost-reason, or perverted-reason, or post-reason; an age of a closer mental-presence of radical political ideology which, for many people, functions on an everyday basis as a driver of individual and group thought and behavior.
We are living in an age of imminent-ideology.
In general any ideology is a set or collection of ideas and attitudes that comprise or formulate a person or group’s understanding, viewpoint, goals and expectations; hence ideology functions as a guide for actions. Ideologies are central to all politics because they are interpretations of abstract ideals such as “justice”, “rights”, “freedom”, “equality”, etc., ideals that are necessarily applied to public matters.
News organizations, universities, government officials, bureaucracies, as well as individuals and ethnic groups are demanding societal outcomes that fit pre-fabricated ideological narratives.
I don’t mean to suggest that any age has ever existed without ideology; none has; at least none that I know-of. But in our modern society something seems to have driven political ideology closer to many individual’s day-to-day decision-making processes. This is why I have chosen the term imminent-ideology rather than just the term ideology.
It is a well-known and much discussed fact that a significant number of modern employees have moved into the arena of “knowledge workers”—much of it in the sense of information processing—and much previous work that depended upon human skills, “tacit knowledge”, has now been automated. Aside from that, I believe there other important logical reasons for the increasing influence of ideology on modern human’s thought process.
There are many people in America today who do not need to exercise any knowledge or skills—they have no livelihood skills and need no livelihood skills, because they do not need to work for a living—government entitlement programs have created this arrangement, and it is a growing disaster; it feeds on itself and will only get worse if not eliminated. The Bible contains a perfect prescription for this disease of greedy laziness:
For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. —2 Thessalonians 3:10 NASB
Please notice this verse is not directed at someone who is unable to work, it is directed at those who are “not willing to work”; exactly the situation with multitudes in our entitlement-festering society today.
Is there anyone who actually believes that all the rioters, looters, and so-called “demonstrators” who continue to appear from places other than Ferguson and participate in burning down the town would actually show-up if they had to work for a living? Ask yourself this question: If you work for a living would your boss give you time-off to go and attend a riot?
When anyone lives at someone else’s expense—for example, taxpayer’s expense— with no productive effort on their part, political ideology seems to take-on an unbalanced importance in daily life—distant ideology has a way of becoming imminent-ideology.
Throughout known human history, idleness has been recognized as a great danger, both for an individual as well as for society. And while it is not so difficult to be physically idle, it is virtually impossible to be mentally idle. Human beings cannot turn-off their minds even in sleep; the mind will be doing something. The question is what. If our thoughts are not structured by the concrete necessity of earning our keep or of spending our time in targeted productivity, then our thoughts seem to wander restlessly, all over the thought-scape. A certain amount of leisure can be very productive, but voluntary idleness is not equivalent to leisure; leisure is intermittent by design; voluntary idleness is continuous by intent and is one of the classical seven deadly sins and is included in that list as sloth (a disinclination to work).
We are living in an increasingly slothful society.
I argue that it is fundamentally sloth that zooms-in distant ideology to imminent-ideology. So how does that work? Do we drive our thoughts, or do our thoughts drive us? Both; they interact; but an idle (slothful) mind does seem to easily turn to political abstractions, doubtlessly because those abstractions are ambiguous and can be molded into notions that please our wishes, our desires, and our fantasies—facts make for stubborn, difficult, and often painful thoughts; but inescapable facts can be avoided if we are dealing with ambiguous abstractions. People can, and do, make their own fact-free reality. Kind of like Gravy Train Dog Food that “makes its own gravy.” That is why, I believe, imminent-ideology thinking is on the rise.
Politics necessarily deals with ambiguous abstractions that have to be given operational definitions. These abstractions have always been the primary targets of political con-artists and agitators of every stripe; from out-an-out tyrants and dictators to seemingly benign populists. The weakness of our highest political ideals is that they are ambiguous abstractions that cannot be properly defined using only other words, but must be given an operational, e.g., public-policy (political) definition; and many individuals and groups want to control the definitional process to fit their own agenda—one of the most obvious examples is the redefinition of “justice” to mean so-called “social justice.”
In groups where many individuals do no productive work, imminent-ideology has coalesced into a virulent form of group-think (decision making by a group that discourages individual responsibility). This group-think is being encouraged and promoted via ideological narratives, and the narratives are currently the shameless, staple output of numerous so-called news organizations. These organizations do not provide news; they simply advocate for a specific political ideology. The form of their advocacy is ideological narratives that are created and trumpeted to the public via television, Internet, and newsprint—the narratives are nothing less than propaganda based upon half-truths, omissions of truths, and outright lies.
One of the many disturbing aspects of the “Obama riots” that have occurred in Ferguson, Missouri, is that they present very clear evidence of group-think in that black community; and unfortunately that community is not unique.
Reports from the testimonies of numerous blacks to the grand jury concerning the shooting of Michael Brown confirm that the black citizens who were courageous enough to tell the truth concerning the shooting expressed fear that there would be reprisals against them—their testimony did not support the black-community-desired result of guilt for Darren Wilson. One of the witnesses reportedly mentioned a well-known warning found on the Internet: “snitches get stitches.” This is unmistakable evidence of group-think. Here’s an example of how group-think played-out in Ferguson in a partial conversation between a prosecutor (P) and an unidentified witness (W):
P: “You told them a story that had a bunch of lies, isn’t that right?”
W: A bunch of lies?
P: “Well, you told them that you saw the officer stand over Michael Brown and empty his clip into his body and finish him off, didn’t you say that?”
W: “I did say that, but it was based on assumption.”
—A Ferguson Group-think Witness
America has witnesses, publically on television, a group-thinking segment—a mob—in modern American society that has demanded a pre-determined, ideological outcome from the US legal system regardless of any contrary facts. And if and when their demands are not met, and they haven’t been so far, they terrorize, pillage, and burn. I have argued elsewhere that this is terrorism:
The Black-Victimology Coalition
Our age of imminent-ideology has immersed us into a landscape of ideological narratives and meta-narratives. Our minds quite literally swim in a sea of narratives on a daily basis. It is still true as was first observed by Marshall McLuhan that “the medium is the message”; but this truth has been eclipsed by the larger and more dangerous truth that the narrative is the message and imminent-ideology is the motive behind the message.
In the on-going “Obama riots” in Ferguson, the so-called news-media (the drive-by media as Limbaugh calls them) have fabricated and furnished the nation with false ideological narratives—still being recited—that have served to enflame already raw, existing, racial hatred. The media has been the prime culprit in the destruction of property and law-and-order in Ferguson, Missouri.
Surrounding the reality of Ferguson violence, the drive-by media has given us, among many others the following false narratives:
|A Sympathy narrative:||“The Gentle Giant”|
|An innocent-youth narrative:||“The unarmed black teenager”|
|The white-guilt narrative:||“Racist, white society”|
|The racial-victimology narrative:||“The mistreated, black society”|
|A compliant-victim narrative:||“Hands up, don’t shoot” iconic theme based on a lie|
|The anti-black police narrative:||“Biased, killer cops”|
|The poverty narrative:||“Poverty is to blame for black criminality”|
|A violence-justification narrative:||“Blacks have a reason to be angry and to riot and loot”|
|The peaceful-protest narrative:||“The Ferguson protestors are peaceful”|
All of these narratives (sub narratives to a larger meta-narrative) have been repeatedly used, by the media and assorted race-hustlers, to concoct the outlandish story—completely at odds with the evidence—that the white police officer Darren Wilson shot the black 18 year black man, Michael Brown because of endemic white-police racism and because the officer wanted to kill someone. In truth, Michael Brown was shot due to his own freely-chosen criminal behavior, including robbing a store and attacking, striking, and trying to take a firearm away from police officer Darren Wilson.
The conclusion of these pre-fabricated narratives has been aimed, from the very beginning, toward the pre-determined conclusion that in order for “justice” to be achieved, Darren Wilson had to be arrested, tried, found guilty, and jailed or executed—facts be damned. The reason of course for the drive-by media’s need to force the “Darren Wilson”, “guilty…guilty…guilty” conclusion is that any conclusion must, simply must, support the overall Progressive race-card meta-narrative concerning black American society:
White racism is to blame for all of black-society’s irresponsibility and trouble; hence, blacks or black society must never be held accountable for anything—any thought, mention, or insistence on black accountability is racist.
In the Conservative world, “Facts are Stubborn Things.” But in the world of imminent- ideology facts are completely unwanted things unless they fit a blessed, ideological narrative.
Democrats and Progressives have consistently used this race-card narrative in response to any criticism of President Barack Obama. And the saddest thing about this perpetual playing of the race-card is that it has been a politically effective lie, due to the support and acceptance of much of the Progressive-biased media, with the group it hurts the most: The black community.
We are living in an age of imminent-ideology which motivates narratives.
As powerful and as dangerous as disjoint ideology can be, when ideologies are articulated in terms of a connecting narrative they become exponentially more powerful than un-narrated ideologies. And of course the reason is that humans love and respond powerfully to stories; that seems to be the case whether the stories are true or false. A story seems to have the power to disarm our normal protective, skeptical defenses. Humans apparently will often accept a story even when they would reject a simple recitation of the same facts that the story purports to span.
Progressivism lives and thrives on narrative ideology. The flaw in Progressive narrative ideology is that it attempts to force the future (as well as the past and present) to fit a desired, pre-determined result. This is impossible; and it is why Progressivism has, is, and will always be a failure.
One of the most persistent, and false, Progressive meta-narratives is that elite thinkers, cut in the pattern of a Jonathan Gruber, with governmental power at their disposal can plan, direct, and control modern society in a way that is best (best how and for whom is always misrepresented or lied about).
If any observing American citizen does not recognize that the failed Obama administration, with its stable of elite Czars, has completely put the lie to the ideological narrative that governmental elites can best “plan, direct, and control” modern society, then nothing is likely to convince them. Indeed, nothing you can say to a modern Progressive ideologue is likely to be convincing because facts and reasons don’t matter to them, only ideology matters; and in their ideology all the conclusions are pre-defined.
The race-card narrative, so often played by Progressives attempts to force-fit a verdict of “racism” on all of America for now and the foreseeable future; unless multiple coercive and expensive steps are taken to remove whatever Progressives and race-hustlers define as “racism.” This is perhaps the most egregious example of a modern ambiguous political abstraction. Conveniently, major parts of radical ideological narratives are always ambiguous abstractions, undefined “variables”; that can be defined to fit any situation a privileged user (such as Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, or Barack Obama) chooses.
Our nation is in much greater danger than an optimist, such as me, likes to believe. America is in danger of losing its ability to maintain a just and civilized society; because we have individuals and groups who have basically jettisoned—or more likely never had—respect for the rule of law and have adopted an insistence upon adhering to their own chosen narrative ideology with its pre-determined conclusions.
The rule of law means, among other things, that decisions concerning criminality must be dealt with according to a prescribed legal process. The rule of law simply cannot permit ad hoc decisions being made to gratify certain segments of a society. Segments of a society cannot vote, after the fact, on what constitutes justice—that is simply mob rule. In the past it has been well understood that mob rule is vigilantism—an explosive danger that must not be tolerated in a just and civilized society. What has been happening in Ferguson, Missouri has been nothing less than an attempt at mob rule via threats and terroristic destruction; and it must not be tolerated if America is to remain a just and civilized society.
Reflect on what, the hopefully soon to depart, Head of the Department-of-(In)Justice, Eric Holder, said about the wanton torching, looting, and destruction in Ferguson: “acts of violence by members of the public cannot be condoned”—“condoned”?, “condoned”??—this attitude from top officials, including especially President Obama and Eric Holder is a major part of the problem. The only acceptable attitude toward what can only be properly labeled as terrorism is NOT that it “cannot be condoned” but that it will not be tolerated. The actions of savage criminals has been both condoned and tolerated in the streets of Ferguson; and this will spread to more cities unless determined steps are taken by responsible officials who respect the rule of law—the rule of law cannot just be written rules; the rule of law requires respect for the rule of law.
Supposedly our nation operates on the rule of law. President Obama proclaimed that in one of his latest statements directed at the violence he has helped foment in Ferguson, Missouri: “We are a nation built on the rule of law, so we have to accept this decision was the grand jury’s to make.”
But the unlawful actions of President Obama—the latest being his unilateral rewriting of immigration law by executive order—clearly illustrates the inadequacy of his characterization “nation built on the rule of law”—written rules are simply not enough, not sufficient, there must be respect for the rule of law. And when the President of the United States mouths empty platitudes about rule of law, but does not, himself, respect the rule of law, the result is what we are seeing in Ferguson, and across the face of the nation: Lawlessness.
America is faced with the actions of various citizens and groups who do not respect the rule of law. Anyone who cannot see that President Obama’s lack of respect for the rule of law contributes to the decisions of self-serving agitators in Ferguson to follow-suit with their own law-flouting is plainly not able to connect the dots, even when there are only two dots to connect:
Dot 1: Obama’s disrespect for the law Dot 2: “Obama riots” in Ferguson.
We are living in an age of imminent-ideology, and we have become a society that desires, even demands, ideological outcomes.
One of the major casualties of desiring ideological outcomes is a growing lack of respect for the rule of law. And there is a logical reason for that. The rule of law has to be applied in a prescribed manner to specific matters of law; the rule of law cannot be applied in a roll-your-own, generalized fashion as is inherently necessitated in an ideological narrative.
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