ideology vs. interests

lisa rogers lisa.rogers at m.cc.utah.edu
Tue Apr 11 20:55:19 MDT 1995



On Tue, 11 Apr 1995, Kenny Mostern wrote:
>.......
> The broader marxist category in which interest is usually discussed is
> "ideology"--that is, ideology is often the explanatory category regarding
> why people act against their own interests.  (Eagleton believes that
> ideologies are structured like Freud's picture of the psyche.)  Does
> anyone want to have a discussion about this term?
>
> Kenny Mostern
> UC-Berkeley Ethnic Studies Graduate Group

And not only in marxism!!  It is a full-blown epidemic in all the social
sciences and popular thought.  "Explanatory category"??  My objection is
that to label something
"ideology" is not to explain it -not for me.  For instance, one of the
common problems is that the
source of ideology is not addressed.  Marxists usually have an answer for
that, but I don't always find it sufficient.  Some ideology seems to
serve the rulers, but why do people suck it up?

Perhaps because it also often serves their own immediate interests?

Yes, propaganda exists, but its consumers are not passive, dead sponges.
They are people just like everyone else.  I'd be interested in discussing
the reasons that people do or do not adopt ideology, sincerely believe it
or just go through the motions (a la Mark Hoffman, oops, you non-locals
might not know him by that name - the "Mormon Bomber", late 1980's, who
acted like a
pious member although he did not believe, which was a facade he
maintained because it helped him to bilk the Church
out of a lot of money for faked historical Mormon documents, and then
turned to murder when he was about to get caught.)

Did my parents send me to church just to learn how to work hard for
capitalists and respect their private property, in those capitalists'
interests, and against our own?

Or, rather, to gain the ideological tools I would
need to defend my own property when I became someday hopefully a
landlord, developer or business owner?  Because the Sunday School
teacher would teach me that God really wants me to obey my parents?
Because they will look bad to other members (including business contacts)
if I don't go to church?  Because they hope to advance in office within
the church, with all the local prestige that entails?  They wanted me to
marry a righteous (local, mormon, white, upper-middle-class) man?

My answer: all of the above.

Lisa Rogers


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