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I already know what I'm implying. It implies that I'm compromising my own values by collaborating with other people with different (wrong) ideas. But I accuse Obama of the same thing. He is an ideologue, let alone the fact he lies and hides what he truly believes in. Ayn Rand supported and defended her ideas militantly, and she did it openly and directly, and I love that. I love her ideas, and I agree with her completely, and I understand why I agree with her. Today, someone said Ayn Rand, though noble in her goals, was an ideologue who was inspired to put her thoughts to paper during a time when socialism became a big deal.

When you hear on Fox News "bipartisan," are you hearing a good thing or a bad thing? Are both sides compromising their values and integrity, or are they doing what they're supposed to. Howard Roark would never give in to other peoples' wishes. Should politicians?

asked Jun 29 '12 at 22:35

Collin1's gravatar image

Collin1
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edited Jun 30 '12 at 17:53

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦
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Here's a definition of idealogue:

idealogue:

  1. an impractical idealist
  2. an often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology (Merriam-Webster.com)

Note that the definition implies impracticality or even blindness. But note how the definition also implies that an idealogue is an uncompromising idealist.

This can mean two things:

  1. that an idealogue is an idealist who happens to be mistaken only because he adheres to false ideas
  2. that every uncompromising idealist is inherently mistaken.

In today's world, #2 is what is implied by the term idealogue. It almost goes without saying that if you are consistent and idealistic, most people today will consider you terribly misguided.

By this view bipartisanship is considered a virtue, and consistency a vice.

Bipartisans are of the opinion that to be uncompromising is to be mistaken -- that uncompromising idealism is essentially fallacious.

"Idealogue" is a smelly word. We are tempted to use it to refer to valiantly uncompromising individuals, but the word implies that such people are loonies.

Ayn Rand created a term for such a word: an anti-concept. An anti-concept, in its very use, contains a false proposition. For "idealogue" that proposition is: "Consistent idealists are necessarily dangerously mistaken." Every time you use the word, you are implying the proposition which the word was invented to propagate.

Here are some other anti-concepts:

  1. "extremist", implying "consistency is dangerously mistaken"
  2. "simplistic", implying "the world is too complex for a simple theory to accurately describe"

Was Ayn Rand an "idealogue"? No. She was an idealist.

Any time you are tempted to use an anti-concept, there's actually a more precise (and certainly more honest) way of saying what you want. For instance, if you are temped to say "that theory is simplistic", you are much better off saying "that theory is over-simplified; it fails to take into account important factors X, Y, and Z".

And if you want to call Ayn Rand an idealogue, you should either say "She's an overly consistent nut-job" or say "She's an idealist." Both are more honest than saying "idealogue", because when naive admirers of Ayn Rand hear "idealogue" their mind interprets it as "consistent person", and when other people hear it, their mind interprets it as "off-the-deep-end person". Any form of discourse which is intended to create different meanings in different minds is anti-communication.

The word "idealogue" exists to obliterate, in people's minds, the possibility of a consistent person who is not mistaken.

Anti-concepts are a way of dishonestly smuggling premises into conversation.

"Bipartisan" is also an anti-concept, with the following smuggled premise: "compromising is rational".

Note the pairing: we have "idealogues" and "bipartisans". Both concepts imply nearly the same thing: that consistency is impractical and compromising is rational.

The precise terms which should replace these are "idealists" and "pragmatists". These are, obviously, much older terms, which objectively specify a particular approach to ideas, rather than smuggling in premises which smear one or the other side.

About whether idealism is practical, one can now have a discussion. And also, about whether pragmatism is practical (or moral) we can have a discussion too. The conclusion isn't contained in the word. Anti-concepts discourage discussion about the smuggled premise. By doing so, they destroy objectivity in communication and thought.

answered Jun 30 '12 at 12:26

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦
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edited Jun 30 '12 at 18:19

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Asked: Jun 29 '12 at 22:35

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Last updated: Jun 30 '12 at 18:19