Once again, James Hankins kills it:
Ideology is therefore the enemy of reason. By definition an ideology is a system of ideas accepted for reasons other than the intrinsic validity of its claims. One embraces it because one finds it “comfortable”; it suits one’s prejudices, socioeconomic status, gender, race, or tribe. It constitutes a ready-made, holistic worldview, resistant to empirical refutation, that justifies groups in advancing their bid for power over others. Embracing a philosophy, on the other hand, is by definition the act of an individual, a free mind. To stick to a philosophical truth at odds with one’s own interests and background can be supremely uncomfortable. It requires moral strength and a deep commitment to reason. It disables partisanship, but also makes it harder for the philosopher to defend his interests in a political way.
The more tightly you embrace an ideology, the more you cease to be a free moral being. Serious thinkers, people who have coherent philosophical opinions of their own, do not receive them unexamined from groups of persons with an agenda. They read philosophers and scientists, and decide which claims or arguments they can accept. They do this by struggling with the thought of great minds, reconciling it (or not) with their own positions and their own experience and convictions. They know how to restate the opinions they are being expected to embrace as arguments, and to ask whether the premises are true and whether the conclusions follow from the premises. They also study history. They want to know how the beliefs they are tempted to embrace have worked out in practice in the past. They think through the consequences of holding beliefs and in the process find out whether their beliefs align with prudence or practical wisdom, phronesis. They tend to be eclectic. Even if they accept for a while some maître à penser or teacher, that person ultimately shows them how to think, not what to think. He sets them free to choose the true and the good.
Partisan ideologues do the opposite. Their mental processes are tribal. Their minds repose in their ideologies like a child in the arms of its mother. They resist being challenged. The manufacturers of ideology bid them show their loyalty by believing three impossible things before breakfast, and they will believe six. They are incapable of the independence of mind and strong character needed for philosophy, but that does not make them prepared to engage in a healthy democratic politics instead. The hyperpartisan has contempt for the type of sound politics in which citizens confront the beliefs and needs of others and find compromises or solutions that respect the common good. They are unaware of, or deny, the selfish interests driving their own embrace of political ideals, and so are incapable of taking part in political transactions.
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