Friday, January 29, 2010

The Cocoon of Ideology

I was thinking about the whole James O'Keefe situation and his apparent disconnectedness from any sense of right or wrong when it comes to pushing an ideological cause. His worldview is so distorted and disconnected from mainstream common sense and balanced critical thinking that I really think he perceives that the rightness of his ideological worldview, when buffeted and applauded by an uncritical, adoring cocoon of like-minded ideologues, justifies any behavior he might engage in. And I should say that I don't think this is the exclusive domain of the cocooned rightwing. There are a fair number of cocooned leftwing ideologues who think and behave likewise. In part, it's because of the unreflexive ideological polarization of our political culture, but it's also been entrenched and nurtured by an insular, but omnipresent ideological media -- ranging from talk radio to bloggers/twitterers/facebookers to alternative online media clearinghouses like Drudge, WorldNetDaily, and the Huffington Post.

The constant and circular reinforcement of the absolute certainty of the moral righteousness of their thinking and behavior leads these uncritical militants to do the crazy things they do. I'm not sure what can be done to counter this, but I think it is ultimately bad for our civil society and our political culture. Part of the reason why I am drawn to engage with the rightwing of the blogosphere and the new media is not only to "know the enemy" but also (and primarily) to constantly keep my own self from getting sucked into the ideological comfort of leftist groupthink.

2 comments:

andrew said...

Must be a hard battle given your place in academia.

Give the NAS a looking into.

www.nas.org

One must be wary of falling into groupthink. When you do, you lose your individualism, and thusly your reality becomes entirely perceptive and open for distortion. You become part of the mass identity. I'll write more about this later when I can organize my thoughts better. I'll also explain the extent to which people underestimate the true frightening power of the internet.

andrew said...

I leave one more thing.

http://www.contractfromamerica.com/Idea.aspx

Is the Tea Party really that crazy? Or are you already succumbing to the groupthink.