- For elites, politics is driven by ideology. For voters, it’s not.
- Brains and Beliefs
- Rank beliefs not according to their plausibility but by the harm they may cause.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
An ideology is nothing but a complicated set of assumptions that has the same flaws in the complex, rapidly changing, and unpredictable world we now all inhabit as all the other concepts I have described in the last few slides. The fact that people are willing to die for an ideology is no different than the willingness of an adolescent risking death by riding on top of a car with tie-downs at 80 miles an hour, or someone who never leaves their house because of a phobia.
I have come to believe that all belief systems are like membership cards for participation in some human community, with the accuracy or consistency of the beliefs being a low priority concern. Belief serves social but not predictive purposes.
An ideology SEEMS different because it has a much more sophisticated meaning framework attached to it, but it is no more accurate nor useful as a guide to future behavior than any other driven behavior. And ideological belief is as clearly driven as any drug addiction.
While modern political/religious ideologies all tend to talk about rights, the rights they variously support as critical are actually obligations. Someone who takes an ideological position of weapon ownership or freedom of speech is OBLIGATED to use that right. Freedom has nothing to do with it. The ordinary use of the idea of a right is that it opens up an arena of possibility, not that it imposes an obligation. Hence, ideologies are driven, though not all for the same reasons.
The substitute for an ideology is to work hard to improve life for yourself and others through creative and persistent effort with no prior assumptions about what might work. But such an approach seems hard to do (it is) and it is so much easier to delude one’s self that the truth is clear and easily understood. We don’t have to make real choices once we have chosen our overarching System of Truth and Obligation.
Real deep change isn’t easy. It requires that you create something genuinely new for a real-world test. Variation requires creative action even when it just involves bacteria. It most certainly is required to deal with the forces at work in our lives.
No easy answers…..