Ideology: I don’t like the term “ideology” and generally avoid it because it derives, in its modern sense, from Marxism—so to use it always suggests a Marxist framework, hence I tend to use the word “belief” (which is more neutral—and “ideology” is usually, per Marxism, a delusion; although it is true that some people use “ideology” in a neutral sense today to mean “what I believe”, as in when people on X post a collection of images they find aesthetically pleasing and say over the top “this is my ideology”).
However, there is something like ideology—something that is more than a belief. For example, per the previous article, it is clear to any alert person that there is a belief system in the West that holds: “All humans are derived from black Africans (sub-Saharan Africans), all sub-Saharan Africans, black women in particular, are uniquely wise and valuable—as, indeed, are women in general (along with homosexuals, the disabled, Jews, and other groups that were persecuted in the past). By contrast, straight white men are all uniquely evil and a curse on the human race—in fact, they don’t exist, white people don’t exist; but they’re also evil—and so are their cultural institutions, such as traditional Christianity and certain iterations of paganism”.
This view informs all academic and media discourse. However, it is more than a belief. Let’s say an ideology has two components:
1. It is a “subjective interest generalised”—so if we’re all ordering ice cream but, for some reason, have to choose one flavour then if I tell you “strawberry ice cream contains anti-oxidants that make you live longer”, when I happen to like strawberry ice cream and hate other flavours, then I have developed an ideology (regardless of whether the scientific information I use is supported by evidence or not).
2. Ideology is like “the water the fish swims in”—it’s related to the logical fallacy petitio principii in that it assumes the premises and then works out from there. If you reject the premises it’s hard to follow the ideology—and the premises are implicit and, further, it’s taboo to challenge them; hence, for example, if I say “it’s your premise that black people are uniquely good but have failed to thrive due to oppression, you just work out from that assumption and twist the evidence to fit this idea” then that itself is a “racist statement”—and it will cause reaction formation to have the premises challenged (because it reveals the premises are arbitrary).
These two factors give you an ideology. What makes it more than a belief is that it contains unconscious elements—it’s “the water you swim in”, it’s “just what ordinary decent good people think”. If you challenge the premises, you are seen as a trouble-maker and fall into “out-group”—“white supremacist discourse”.
Similar thought patterns exist in, for example, Christianity—for example, Christians have an implicit belief that Jesus came to save all people and that he is the only path to union with the divine; if you remove those assumptions, it becomes hard to be a Christian—and Christians defend these assumptions with dogmatic assertions (reaction formation, really) because deep down they know that to remove those premises collapses the religion’s power (i.e. Islam and Christianity dominate other people because they refuse to accept, as an axiom, there is any other way to achieve union with the divine—but that has to be implicit for it to work, if it’s made too explicit then people begin to question it and then the edifice weakens).
The scientific method tends to weaken ideologies because, per Newton, “I make no hypothesis”—i.e. Newton refused to go into the whys of how gravitation worked, or even the wider hows; he just confined himself to a limited scenario where his ideas had explanatory power. That meant he had less scope to draw in assumed premises (the mathematisation also helps to exclude, though not totally, “subjective interests generalised”).
Of course, you can make an ideology from something called “the scientific method” but that’s not the same thing—in general, the scientific approach removes assumptions and removes the personality; and that makes it harder to introduce ideology into scientific endeavours (especially in very quantified areas like physics)—but it’s not impossible, as we know.
Ideologies can critique other ideologies but cannot critique themselves. So there are endless academic papers about “Putin’s neo-Russian mythology: Orthodoxy, anthropology, and discourse in Russian politics (2000-2015)” and, of course, articles like “The invention of the ‘Aryan’: volk, culture, and community in National Socialist Germany”—and these will easily identify, often in a smug way, the “subjective interests generalised” and the unargued assumptions that become the taboo foundations for the ideology.
However, the people who write these articles could never write an article entitled “The invention of the ‘black woman’: the black woman as racial ideal in American discourse (1968-2020)”. Indeed, to conceive such an article is taboo—“the black woman” can only be oppressed within the hegemonic ideology, it is “unthinkable” to conceive an article where you talk about her as “a racial ideal”—to even begin to drift in that direction activates “think-stop” (the tennis court lines of the mind say “no!”, because if you go there, if you knock out that anchor, then the whole belief system begins to collapse).
If you ever feel you “can’t go there”—can’t think that black women aren’t axiomatically oppressed, can’t think there are other ways to the divine other than Jesus, then there’s a good chance you are trapped in an ideology which, as part of its function, inserts taboos in your mind so that you cannot “remove the software”. In fact, you’ll probably wince and feel revulsion even to “go there”—because it has been set up inside you as a repulsive out-group taboo, precisely to keep you on a leash to the system (that serves some subjective interest that may or may not coincide with yours).