March 31, 2007 § 10 Comments

I had an interesting discussion with Mark Shea about the terms “indoctrinate” and “ideology” in the comments at his blog the other day. I tend to be a bit nonchalant about the use of those terms, while Mark resists using them to describe positive and useful acts (as in “indoctrinate children into an ideology”). In the particular case in question I thought the objectionable thing was what was being taught to children, not how it was being taught.

But upon reflection there is probably more to Mark’s objection to ideology than just the fact that certain ideologies are false. Even true ideology has the tendency to place abstract truth above the actual incarnate world. And that is backwards in terms of priority, turning the truth into a lie: truth at bottom isn’t about What, it is about Who.


§ 10 Responses to Incarnology

  • m.z. forrest says:

    <>Even true ideology has the tendency to place abstract truth above the actual incarnate world.<>Ideology cannot be a moral actor, so it can’t place itself anywhere. Those that subscribe to a given ideology may indeed look to place the abstract truth above relationships in the world. (The idea of abstract truth overpowering basic human interaction seems a bit cliche to me.) ISTM that there is some base stealing being attempted. Would not the defects of actual interaction be a product of the ethical guides of the ideology and not be the product of actually having an ideology? This seems to ignore the equal problem of stating that certain men lack ideologies. While certainly many men subscribe to ideologies that aren’t coherent, amongst rational creatures I don’t believe one could find a man lacking an ideology.In regards to indoctrination, this is something the post-Enlightenment rejects. (One could probably make an argument that the Englightenment itself rejects indoctrination.) The modern argument against indoctrination is that it quells our ability to gain knowledge. Such a mindset lends itself to a relativistic understanding of the world where no truths should be understood a priori.

  • zippy says:

    Well, that probably wasn’t the most coherent way to state it. If an idealogue is one who tends to put ideas above his actual encounter with incarnate reality, and particularly incarnate persons, then ideology is something to be rejected. But I do agree with you that getting too worked up over ideology-qua-ideology or indoctrination-qua-indoctrination (as opposed to their truth or falsity in a particular instance) is a problem, which is why I got sucked into commenting on the thread in the first place.

  • Mark says:

    Zippy:Hboitel, in my comboxes, has been sent by God to serve as an illustration of my point and to serve as a warning to others.

  • zippy says:

    ROFL! (Is that an incarnate, as opposed to ideological, illustration?)

  • Mark says:

    Antichrist will be Ideology Incarnate. The devil is the ape of God.Speaking of incarnate faith, nothing says “Catholic” like a shared meal. If you ever get to Seattle, we gotta have you to our house for supper. Jan makes an awfully fine salmon here in the land of Many Waters.

  • zippy says:

    When that day comes I will accept your invitation with pleasure.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    Hey, chaps, could you help a technophobe to find the link to the orignal post, not just the comments? Okay, a partial technophobe. I wanna read about the kids being forced to make all their lego houses the same, but I’m just getting everybody _talking_ about the kids and the legos…

  • zippy says:

    The lady’s wish is my command. < HREF="" REL="nofollow">Here<> is the NRO article, and < HREF="" REL="nofollow">here<> is the blog entry at CAEI.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    Links to CAEI just seem to turn out oddly. They never seem to turn up a specific post but only the page generally. Somehow.Anyway, I read the NRO piece. What strikes me is…Have these guys _no_ sense of humor? Answer: No. It seems to me that whether one is making oneself ridiculous or not might be a good test of “good” vs. “bad” indoctrination. It reminds me of how my mom (whom I love) used to insist on rewriting the words to nursery songs to make them “Christian.” She didn’t like “This Old Man” because she said “came rolling home” sounded like he was drunk. So she wrote Christian words for the tune. And so forth. Even the hymns in the hymnal were scrutinized theologically and their words sometimes changed to make them more TC (theologically correct). Now, there’s just something ridiculous about that. It isn’t as bad as indoctrinating kindergarteners in “social justice” for months before letting them have their legos back. That should give anyone the creeps. But it would be a start just to ask, “Can’t you guys tell that this looks silly and pompous and over-serious?”

  • <>Links to CAEI just seem to turn out oddly. They never seem to turn up a specific post but only the page generally. Somehow.<>I’ve learned that they will eventually drag down to the relevant post, but there appears to be no consistent timing for the event. I’ve often found myself thinking, “ah, there’s the post <>parousia<>.”

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