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Ideology

1. What is an ideology? How does it differ from philosophy?


2. Is politics still motivated by ideology?
3. Have we reached an end of ideology?
The word ideology first came to the prominence in the work of Antonie Destutt de
Tracy. In his Elements dIdeologie he proposed a new science of ideas, that he took to
be a positive science that related ideas to the facts of experience.
Marx and Engels were resolute in their deprecation of the status of ideology. For them
in the German Ideology, ideology represents a distortion of the relationships forged in
the productive process.
Minogue holds that ideology is essentially the deployment of abstract theorising to the
complex world of concrete political action, and that this process is one in which there
is alienation from the practical world in which human beings are at home.
Eatwell in Contemporary Political Ideologies identify ideologies as involving specific
programmes of political action supported by general beliefs about human nature, the
process of history and social and political arrangements.
In politics there is no clear, uncontroversial way of deciding on the right thing to do.
There is no easy way of disproving political values to which one is opposed. Political
ideologies, then, are sets of beliefs about politics incorporating specific proposal and
general ideas about human beings.
The involvement of political ideologies with a world of practice means that they are
involved in a world of change. This link between political ideologies and a world of
change means that political ideologies do not stand still. Circumstances change with
the passage of time, and proposals and ideas canvasses at one time seem inappropriate
at another. Practical circumstances also changes from place to place, and so
ideological views display a local variety. This means that the identity of political
ideologies is somewhat problematic for those who want to keep things neat and
timelessly tidy.