If belief in one and only ideal and ideology is the sine qua non of one’s identity, then how does one evaluate one’s progress or worth versus others?
If you have heard or read anything, you will understand that whatever you “gather” of what you have heard or read is not what was actually said or written – but your interpretation of that. You interact with the world through the prisms and windows of your own prejudices and paradigms.
Now let’s go back to our question above. If there is one ideology or book or ideal that is promoted and you have to believe in it then how do you measure your worth and ensure uniformity of that belief? You will understand that just as a book is what you make of it, the ideology of your belief is also what you make of it.
So, the belief of one person in an ideology is not the same as belief of another in that same ideology. It has never been and it can never be. That is the curse of our minds which is nothing but a ball of prejudices gathered over our lives – thanks to our upbringing, society, readings and influences.
If one ideology does not provoke the same understanding of it in everyone, then how do you:
(1) Ensure uniformity?
(2) Find distinctions?
The answer to the first is – make the hues as starkly black and white as you can. Any presence of hues/greys will introduce interpretations and therefore further divergences within the ideological group. That is why the aim of all the leaders of every belief system is to create stark contrasts. “With us or Against us”. “Believers or Non-believers”. and the list goes on.
In stark duality lies the way to uniformity, despite the prejudicial intellect of a mind.
No human endeavor is without the urge to be better than the other. Even two siblings fight over who is loved more by a parent. There is a race for distinction over the other in whatever way one can make it possible. When all else fails, the shade of one’s hair color will do as well!
So, when the drive of the belief systems is towards uniformity of minds borne out of stark contrasts, how do you ensure distinction?
The answer is a simple one. Fanaticism.
The drive for stark contrasts fuels fanaticism, while the urge for distinction takes fanaticism to fatal extremes.
How better to swear your allegiance than to be killed and kill others for your belief that knows the world in only contrasts? “With us or Against us”.
I can only become a better believer if my fervor is more than the other. Leading to fanaticism. Otherwise, its just a world of prejudiced minds full of hues being forced to a world of stark contrasts. In a world of forced uniformity – how else can you achieve distinction?
And this has been the conundrum that most states which stitch their governance mechanism to a religion – the most potent and feared of all belief systems – face.
The world of Islam has seen this issue for many centuries now. And, it has been the most obvious in the last 30 years or so. As the specter of Jihad was created in Pakistan and the US along with the Saudis created the infrastructure of hatred – the mujahids were the feared warriors who defeated the Soviets. Then came the Taliban – fueled by the hate-filled Madrasas of Pakistan, who defeated every other group of Jihadis to emerge the greatest monster unleashed in modern times.
But they were moderates compared to what was yet to come.
One very perceptive Indian politician – Bal Gangadhar Tilak – had once said “Revolutionaries of one era are moderates of another”. Its important to say that firebrand Tilak was the first to call for India’s independence from the British. Yet, he didn’t allow Gandhi – yes the iconic symbol of moderation! – to start his first Civil Disobedience movement (the Noncooperation movement), because… it was an “extremist step”! Gandhi waited until Tilak died. Two days later Gandhi went live.
After Taliban came the Al Qaeda and the many extremist Jihadi groups. In the last 2 years however, all of these groups look decidedly moderate. What we have now is ISIS. They want to destroy all the others.
Republicans and the Right Wing movement
There was a time, way back in the early 2000s when George Bush was the epitome of the right wing Christian mindset and the rest of the Republican ideologies that derived from the positions that the Republican party thought suited their business interests! Otherwise, how can a mind be so concerned about violence against a foetus calling itself “Pro-life” and also be fanatically backing guns? Or put another way – how can someone pump in money for everything in the name of Jesus – a being who had not an iota in him that called for survival or violence – and hold him as the “Savior”, the “Greatest man” and all the rest of it, and YET be mindlessly backing guns? The problem is that Jesus is a belief. So is the concern for the foetus. Such concerns and love do not spring from the consciousness, but from belief. Jesus and the concern for the foetus is an ideology. Given enough money and the right nudge, this belief system can make enough space for guns.. bigger and terrible guns as well. Even wars. Terrible wars fought based on outright lies (remember Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame?). Torture and violence unspeakable.
The buffet of ideological components predicated on belief do not sit with each other at the level of consciousness. The reason why such a thing happens is because the passion for belief created by numbing of the hues of the minds into stark contrasts – also freezes the inherent life of consciousness.
Once the fervor of belief and freezing of ideologies was set in motion – most put in place by money and many by even baser elements of the human mind – the new tools of promotion and communication afforded by the internet and the monies that came with it – created an even more potent cloud of Fanaticism.
From Bush to Ted Cruz and Tea Party to now Trump, is the snow balling of the components in the ideological menu of Republican right wing. Pro-life, guns, wars, no government, no immigration, no social security.. etc.
Trump is reaping what Reagan sowed.
The ideological components which used Jesus as a convenient platform now have a life of their own. Trump is as far from Jesus as the Earth is from the farthest star in the Universe, but who cares? He has all the rest of the ideological components pat down. Jesus can wait.
A party which paid dearly for having prejudices against the Hispanic immigrants aired so openly and brazenly in the media and otherwise, Trump pushes its chances further down. If Tea Party’s fanaticism did Mitt Romney in the last time, this time Trump has taken the prejudices to another level on the scale. And, the masses brought up on the ideolgical cocktail of those “components” are lapping up. The guy is leading!
Trump is trumping reason and any sense that may have still been left in the party’s constituency. And with that Republicans have become their own caricatures.
Revolutionaries of one era are the moderates of another, as Tilak once said. And, Ted Cruz is the moderate of today. If that doesn’t present a conundrum damning enough, one doesn’t know what will?