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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ideology: Good or Bad?

There’s a great deal of smoke and mirrors arising from the political landscape these days that makes it difficult to focus on what is really important in the presidential race. If you’re satisfied with the current administration and its policies, then this article will merely be so much extraneous information. But if you’re like me, you know we can do a lot better. Simply put: we need to cut taxes; reduce the size of government; and restore this country to its former greatness as the place where dreams are made possible.

Recently I heard a Republican senator remark that we need to “put aside all of our ideological differences” and come together in support of a certain candidate for the presidency. I found this comment to be stunning in its naiveté.

Let’s consider a good working definition of the word, Ideology: “A system of beliefs or theories, usually political, held by an individual or a group. Capitalism, communism, and socialism are usually called ideologies.” Hmmm. So, let me see if I have this right. I embrace a certain ideology. Why do I do this? Well, because it fits in with my particular world view. My world view is built upon my personal succession of life experiences, and the convictions that emerge as a result. Add to that equation my environment and the people I am exposed to and you have the basis for an ideological belief system. To arrive at such a point takes time. Life must be lived and savored. Life must be experienced daily. On the surface, this statement sounds absurdly obvious, but too many people are trying to hurry to the next phase of life, failing to enjoy the moments they have in the present. This can eventually warp and distort their ideology. But it is nonetheless their ideology. I may not agree with a person’s basic world view, and my world view may strike them as odd. So, looking back on the suggestion made by this Republican senator to put aside our ideologies for the sake of coming together in some sort of compromise to achieve some indefinable political end, is just so much nonsense.

In an opinion piece written for Fox News, October 10, Kyle Scott, wrote, “Mass movements require an ideology to sustain themselves over long periods. Charismatic leaders and slogans will only take a movement so far if it lacks a set of core values that people believe in. Getting people engaged is hard enough, getting them to stay engaged is almost impossible.”

Core Values. . . Now that’s a critical component in the process of establishing a group of people needing to unite around a cause. What we are witnessing with the worldwide movement of the “Occupy Wall Street” folks and their counterparts across the globe is a loosely held idea that might someday be considered a core belief in an effort to bring these diverse peoples together. That oft expressed idea is that “the rich are getting richer on the backs of the poor.” This plays well in the old canard that rich people do not deserve to be rich, and that poor people are poor because they are constantly pushed down by the rich. This class warfare mantra is as old as man himself. It is always pulled out when other arguments seem to fail when subjected to the light of truth.

Make no mistake – There are certainly people who make lots of money at the expense of those around them. They are greedy, self-centered, heartless, and in need of a life change. God is good at doing that! We all grew up watching a movie of any number of the various versions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Regardless of the portrayal by whatever actor, each story focused on the Ebenezer Scrooge character as mean, greedy and heartless. He was an ardent lover of money. In effect, he is the quintessential Wall Street “Fat Cat.” But in the end, he is changed from his wretchedness, to a life of loving compassion and selfless giving.

Because America has experienced such greatness is primarily because of God’s blessing our nation with the truth that emerges from the pages of the Bible. These are transforming words that utterly change a person’s outlook on life, the way they treat their family, the attitude they have toward others, and ultimately their entire world view. When a person subjects themselves to God’s love and control, they have to change their attitude! It is simply not possible to be a lover of God while despising those around you. You see, Jesus said you cannot love both God and money. You will serve one or the other. Many today are serving the god of money, wealth, prestige, status. They bow and worship at this altar, often sacrificing family, friends, and even their own lives for the brief moments in this life that such power gives them. But many others use their acquisition of wealth to benefit others and the nation as a whole, reinvesting the profits in order to grow the business, providing opportunities for others not to merely survive, but to thrive.

We recently heard of the passing of Steve Jobs, founder and developer of Apple Computers. Here’s a man who at first worked out of his own garage, experimenting in the process of developing what has become arguably the most lucrative technological industry ever. How many people are employed today because Mr. Jobs had a vision that his ideas could benefit others? How many others benefit from these handy devices which make communication so much easier? He had an ideology too. I, for one, am glad he did not compromise his beliefs.

After all the protestors on Wall Street and around the world lose momentum and return home, the Steve Jobs’ of the world will be working out of their garages with a vision to make this world a better place.

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