Monday, December 7, 2015

What do Jeremy Corbyn (2015CE) and St Jerome (415CE) have in common?


No, Jeremy Corbyn did not translate the Hebrew Bible into Latin and St Jerome was not an early Leader of the Opposition in the UK. And no, the link is not that Syria looms large in both their lives.
 
Nor are the two unkindly, still less designedly, named together; there is no special link between the two. You could as well twin Lenin with Loyola and John Calvin with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. And you could go on twinning as many names as you choose from all over the place and all ages: Urban II and Hitler; MaoZedong and Phillip II of Spain; Eugene Terre'Blanche and Thomas Muntzer; Robespierre and Pol Pot; Mosley and Malema.
 
For however far away from one another all these leaders stand in space and time, what they share is inflexible belief - or, to use a more academic term, ideology.
 
The purpose of ideology is to substitute a governing set of ideas, whether religious or political or both, for a reality the believer finds unacceptable, no matter how real it is to others. That is why 'the facts' never trouble ideologues, or are easily denied by them; that is why 'the revolution' can never compromise, be accomplished or assuaged.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this sentence. I'm probably missing something....
"The purpose of ideology is to substitute a governing set of ideas, whether religious or political or both, for a reality that is unacceptable to the believer, no matter how others find it."

I would however like to understand it.

Paul Whelan said...

Thanks, Anonymous. Perhaps I should have put it like this. Our beliefs (ideology is just another word for a set of beliefs) are so powerful and personal to us that we prefer them to the way things actually are - you could say, to the 'facts'. If you think of how religious people are convinced of their faith, or how - say - communists are of their political ideas/ideology, I'm sure you'll see what I mean. Belief is helping these believers to live with 'a reality that is unacceptable' - not perfect like they believe it should be. And nothing others say will make them believe otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Thank you