|Ideas or Ideologies?||
According to the dictionary, an "idea" is a "thought or opinion" which may be “formulated into a plan for action.”
An "ideology," on the other hand, is more like a "prescription for thinking" which prejudges whether an idea is "good" or "bad."
Liberalism, Conservatism, Judeo-Christian-Muslim-ism, Atheism, Anarchism, Capitalism, Environmentalism, Socialism and so many more... all are ideologies and many (taken at face value) seem diametrically opposed. Yet it seems to me that as diverse as these various ideologies may be, they all have one tenet in common: Ideologies promote opposition by sanctioning a “system of thinking” which preemptively pronounces that ANY idea which is different from its own is a form of forbidden fruit.
A short time ago, I chatted with a fellow editor about how it is possible for two intelligent, well-educated, mature and rationally thinking adults to look at exactly the same set of circumstances yet draw very different conclusions about what is going on. The subject of our conversation was the ongoing brouhaha at CWS… but our discussion could just as easily have been about religion, global economics or war.
And this conversation echoed in my head the other day when Skip, a reader from Texas, emailed me about my writings on liberty, expressing his strong opinion that I had “given aid and comfort to our enemies by promoting sites sponsored by socialists and Marxists.”
Being the first (and hopefully only) time that such assertions had been openly levied against me, I was somewhat taken aback. That is, as anyone who knows me “up close and personal” will attest, the only “ideology” I willfully subscribe to is “being true to my word.”
Yet somehow what I had written was provoking a thinking person to label me as somewhat Hanoi-Jane-Fonda-esque. Thus I took Skip’s words seriously, ferreting introspection. Had I unwittingly stepped into a box of proscribed (socialist/Marxist) ideology? Was I irresponsibly giving “aid and comfort to our enemies”? Or was I, in the most forthright sense, simply being true to myself (including my comprehension of what is expected of me by that greatly magnificent and profoundly intelligent energy of the Universe that many of us call God)?
I wrote back to Skip, who I must say was a perfect gentleman in raising his objections to some of the links I had posted, and I invited him to share with me links to sites that he felt would be more supportive of the ideals of liberty and justice that (I believe) we all hold dear. And Skip respectfully responded that Town Hall “would be a good start.”
So I went there this morning and had a long look around. What I found were a bevy of opinions, each of which the author thereof supported with his or her version of the facts and many of which ran quite contrary to the way I think about the ideas I hold dear.
And it became obvious that, in the mind’s eye of some beholders, my way (or your way) of thinking about some of this stuff is (patriotically) “wrong.”
Yet to me, there is no “wrongness” inherent to any differing point of view. There are, obviously, people with whom I may agree or disagree about the supposed value of doing (or not doing) certain things. And there are, of course, certain actions that I personally condemn as irresponsible, arrogant, deceitful and consequential of harm, just as there are things that resonate with me as beneficial, empowering, egalitarian and engendering of liberty, justice, dignity and trust.
And certainly, being human, I am definitely more likely to wantonly associate with folks who “see things as I do.” We all tend to “feel better” about life when the truths we hold to be self evident are being amplified back to us by our elected circle of friends.
But my personally preferred “ideology” has, for as long as I can remember, been to “damn the torpedoes” and move full speed ahead with positioning myself outside of any definitive box of ideology… which I know, at face value, seems like a contradiction of terms. And, I confess, it is a rather precarious position to hold, calling on me to willfully put aside conventional labels and traditional beliefs about almost every “idea” and essentially start “thinking from scratch” on just about every subject known.
And, in accord of my ideas about ideology, I must also be consciously aware that what I endeavor to do CANNOT EVER be PERFECTLY done because I am, as are each of us, a vessel filled with ideologies… most of which have been engendered in us since birth and thus, being dearly familiar habits, we shall never consciously question let alone logically explore.
But still my quest to do the undoable continues. Still I challenge myself to inspect the fabric that weaves together the coat of many colors worn by my soul and, perhaps more importantly, to look past this ideological cloaking device and discover the merit and virtue (or absence thereof) which resonates from the ideas found “within.”
Sincerely, this is the standard I use to evaluate any link I post to Gozarks… including the one sent to me by Skip. And for the act of doing this, I alone am accountable and thus duty bound to uphold my own ideas about the importance of “media” being a “conveyance” of “ideas” (not "ideologies)... especially when stumping “for” something in the overt capacity of “editor" because, whether I like it or not, I am aware that this is a powerful position to hold.
Thus I’d ask all of Gozarks readers, just as I request of myself, to evaluate the predisposition of the ideologies that each of us personally profess, considering:
In other words, look to see if what you're reading (and doing!) promotes "ideas" or "ideologies." And then, each in accord of our own unique heart, decide unto self which of these many ideas we as a civilized, God-loving people shall choose to put into practice, willfully enliven and patriotically claim as our own.
Anyway, Skip... Thank you!!! Sincerely I hope you enjoy and celebrate with me the ideas about ideologies that your email hath wrought!!!
Virtual March on D.C.
Did you do it? Did you call your legislator today and express your strong feelings about the prospects of war...???
Click here to learn more.
Victory is ours...
Yet the question begs, “Mastery of what?”
Have you read the
Declaration of Independence
lately? Well, you should. Especially
the part where those gutsy commoners, convened in representation of the
“good People” of the Thirteen Colonies, declared unanimous authority to
“conclude peace” and an everlasting dedication to the preservation and
enactment of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Which way is up?
She emailed to me a copy of a nasty note she’d received as an email pass-along (which I willfully refuse to reference further in the interest of NOT aggrandizing the proponents thereof), telling me that she found it upsetting. I found it disturbing, too.
On top of this, I had just received the umpteenth forwarded email request, plaintively beseeching me to "pray for our troops." And I was seething.
That is, at heart, I deeply understand the sentiment here. I have a man-child. Two, in fact. My heart shrivels with the thought that they could ever be commanded to make war. So of course, I would pray fervently in hopeful thankfulness for their well being. I mean really, I do this all the time.
But there is an equally deep part of me that feels offended and embarrassed by this continuing proposition that "we" are the "one and only good guys" and that God is thusly on "our side."
Moreover, I am annoyed that so many of us seem to be so aggressively eager to spread and endorse this brand of propaganda. Because it is ALL propaganda, you know. Even these words you are now reading which, at base line, do little more than express my own uniquely particular point of view.
It is all propaganda, and of this we must be critically aware.
I am frustrated that these massive efforts at "propagandizing" are not being focused on what I see as things which deserve to be propagandized about...
Ideas about liberty and justice, for example. Thoughts about our personal responsibilities to uphold our sacred creeds. Encouragement to be “accountable” by measuring and judging our every word, deed and interaction alongside whatever edicts we claim as our resonant standard of integrity, honesty and truth.
As one particular example of this, according to the Center for Public Integrity (which seems, if you'll take the time to check them out, like a highly purposeful and factually oriented group), is a report that:
"The Bush Administration is preparing a bold, comprehensive sequel to the USA Patriot Act that will give the government broad, sweeping new powers to increase domestic intelligence-gathering, surveillance and law enforcement prerogatives, and simultaneously decrease judicial review and public access to information."
As Dr. David Cole, Georgetown University Law professor and author of “Terrorism and the Constitution,” said in the above referenced article, the legislation “raises a lot of serious concerns. It’s troubling that they have gotten this far along and they’ve been telling people there is nothing in the works.”
This proposed law, Cole added, “would radically expand law enforcement and intelligence gathering authorities, reduce or eliminate judicial oversight over surveillance, authorize secret arrests, create a DNA database based on unchecked executive ‘suspicion,’ create new death penalties, and even seek to take American citizenship away from persons who belong to or support disfavored political groups.”
What I want to know is... where are the email chain letters alerting us to such facts and thereby empowering all of us "we the people" to shoulder our civic duty and safeguard our Constitutional heritage, as is our obligation and right…???
And at baseline, if it is NOT in defense of our Constitution, then for what other purpose do we as a nation rightfully entertain any thought of going to war? Because, Constitutionally speaking, the edicts of our Constitution are what we are, by citizenship, mandated to uphold, cherish and guard.
Moreover, even when
focused on the theoretical eradication of a particularly malevolent
"force"... what everybody seems to be forgetting is that (according to
high school science) "the Universe HATES a vacuum." So, until there is
enough "good stuff" going on to <<<PUSH>>> and >>>SQUEEZE<<< all the
"bad stuff" out of existence (by attrition)... thus "filling up" the
space this ugliness has occupied since the dawn of time.... well, once
we've blown everyone's asses to bits, the electromagnet cyclotron with
which we are all inexplicably intertwined will further bolster that
which we've expelled and before you can say "Jack Rabbit," it will be
sucked by the vortex right back into our face, "bigger and better than
ever" all over... and over... and over... and over again.
"What is greater than God, More evil than the devil, The poor have it, The rich need it, And if you eat it, you'll die?"
Know the answer? Well, here's a hint: If I'm doing my job, you'll NOT experience it by reading this page, yet it is here in the text printed plainly for anyone to see. Anyway...
Getting back to those prayers, propaganda and war, sincerely, I thought we'd all grown up enough to KNOW that we are de facto planting the seeds for an increasingly abundant harvest of whatever crop we choose to sow. War grows war. Period. There are NO exceptions.
In light of this I want to know, where are the scores and scores of email chain letters that propagandize us to have total recall of this overwhelming education and dun us to enable ALL troops, every world leader and each person everywhere to live safely, be healthy and engender unanimity?
Where is the pass-along prayer that plaintively beseeches us to petition God to anoint ALL of us -- each and every one -- with wisdom, courage and loving fortitude, thus enabling us to wage, convene and celebrate global Peace…???
In other words, I want all of us to look in our hearts and ask ourselves the question: "Which way is up?" And, when we know the answer, I want is to "go for it!!!" (Over, and over, and over again.)
Happy Birthday Alice!
Standing, left to
right: Larry Williams, from Bee Branch, Joanne Webb, from Mountain
View, Lula Holeman, editor of the
Pack Rat Gazette, from
Formosa, Christine Weiss, editor of Gozarks.com, Lori Freeze, editor of
the Stone County Leader and
Buzzwords literary newsletter, from Mountain View, and Daniel Weiss,
from Shirley. Seated, left to right: Joyce Slaughter, from
Clinton, Alice Chambers, "the birthday girl," of the Van Buren County
Democrat, and Sonja Oliver, editor of the
A harrowing experience...
Wishing all of us the future we prefer, desire and deserve to enjoy...
Hey! Come visit us at SassafrasWilds!!!
Winds of change
spread seeds of peace in Ireland, planting hopes for global things to
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