What Is It
Political polarization seems to be deepening, both in the U.S. and around the globe. Some believe that the rise of ideology is to blame for growing polarization. But can increased polarization really be attributed to ideology? What is exactly is ideology, and how is it different from dogma? Is ideology a kind of political or philosophical thinking? And how might our understanding of ideology affect how we practice politics? Josh and Ray ideate with Marius Ostrowski from the European University Institute, author of Ideology (Key Concepts).
Are ideologies always wrong? Can you subscribe to one without even knowing it? Josh believes that ideologies are false systems of belief that are opposed with reason, but Ray pushes back by offering the example of liberal democracy. However, they still believe that ideology stands apart from objective truth. Furthermore, they argue that ideologies help us understand the world, since they act as a framework through which we view and interpret the events around us.
The philosophers welcome Marius Ostrowki, Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute, to the show. Ray asks if ideologies always have to be false, to which Marius replies that they are true “as far as we are concerned,” since they help us simplify the world and build a narrative. Josh observes how ideologies often fit into -ism’s, such as fascism, progressivism, and socialism. Marius examines the relationship between polarization and ideology, since Ray points out that polarization today is at an all-time high. He believes a shift has occurred because of the way that the party system and the ideological system have mapped onto each other.
In the last segment of the show, Josh, Ray, and Marius discuss how privately held ideologies play into our present global situation, since average citizens are barely connected to policies decided by their political representatives. Marius provides a more nuanced conception of thinking about how ideologies differ from our political preferences. Josh is curious about how people adopt and change ideologies, as they follow a pattern of subjection followed by resistance. Ray wonders how we can prevent bad ideologies from harming democracy, and Marius emphasizes that the most important aspect of judging an ideology involves determining how good it is at helping us effectively get on with our lives.
Roving Philosophical Reporter (Seek to 3:55) → Sarah Lai Stirland asks people what living in a different country made them realize about the ideology of their country of origin.
- From the Community (Seek to 44:01) → Josh and Ray respond to Mira’s question about how the geometry of the classroom impacts learning.
Are ideologies always wrong?
Can you subscribe to one without even knowing it?
Could we imagine a world without ideology?