What do Adolf Hitler, Bill Gates, and the Spice Girls have in common? Reasonably expecting the answer to this ostensibly irreverent question to contain a sexually oriented punch line, many people might overlook a less obvious — though intriguing — possibility: ideology. Although media pundits of the latter half of the twentieth century tended to pursue a fairly uniform — and pejorative — definition of ideology, the term possesses a rich, contentious history that covers far more terrain than the contemporary sound-bite version suggests. According to this dominant representation of the concept, ideology primarily manifests itself as an unthinking — whether brutal and oppressive or merely selfish — other, whose rigid, irrational adherence to an overdetermined system or policy defies common sense. As characterized by various western media outlets, then, the ideologue sacrifices open debate for a hermetically closed set of values, and, thus, will refuse to listen to — and may attempt to destroy — anyone with an opposing viewpoint. Ideologues prey on weak and hungry nations. Ideologues reject human rights. As CNN and the BBC would have it, ideologues behave quite like Hitler and not a bit like the Spice Girls.
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- Introduction to ‘Ideology’
James M. Decker
- Macmillan Education UK
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