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I’m proud to be “ideological”

I.

I’m tired of ‘ideological’ being a dirty word – tired of Westminster suits weaponising it, having it thrown at me when I say Isla Vista had a context and skeptics who rail against feminists ‘importing an “ideology” into the crystalline purity of their movement’.

A coherent, connected set of principles that inform how you think is not a bad thing. Having concepts, words and ways of understanding based on them that frame your politics at large is a good thing.

This blog’s name reacts partly to the limp, illiterate brand of skepticism New Atheist ‘thought leaders’ have at times traded on, which prides itself on being ‘rational’, issue-by-issue and ‘evidenced-based’ at the loss of any context anywhere.

When others frequently have to explain to you the value of philosophy and social science, the best understandings of sex and race, the basics of consent or empire’s actual relevance to how religions are discussed, you are un-ideological to a fault.

That you don’t understand these things isn’t a sign you’re being a Tru Skeptic and resisting Orwellian brainwashing. It’s a sign you’re failing to think in enough depth.

II.

I’m tired of gay men who pride themselves on being apolitical; the soothing ‘but I’m not political about it’ whenever anyone marginalised says what they are, especially here.

It’s a glib, self-righteous reassurance to the powerful that you won’t rock the boat. ‘I’m gay, but not political about it – so as you were. Don’t let me talk too much about it or too forcefully for comfort.’

If you’re happy not to be politically queer, announcing your ‘thick skin and sense of humour’, the difference between us is probably that gay jokes do bother me; that I’m not alright with being assumed straight; that I won’t accept family members’ uninformed bullshit.

That wasn’t always me. I grew into it in adulthood, allowing anger to take hold; stopped acting over several years as if keeping my head down, being in on the joke and not posing a threat was what I had to do to get respect.

Not settling for the lowest possible standards takes grit. Summoning any when you’re queer in a straight world can be a trial – but when you say you’re not political about it, what I hear is that you haven’t yet learned how to say no.

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Comments

  1. says

    This is just to say well done. This is eminently clear, and sensible.

    My modest, I hope friendly, amendment: I think that ‘failing to think in enough depth’ may well be fair enough in some, excessively charitable, in other cases.

    In some, I figure, it’s more: this point of view will lead to the goring of sacred cows which, actually, I’m perfectly happy to protect. And since, realistically, I can’t protect my position of privilege on any logically coherent basis, I’m just going to try to tar your whole approach with this handy ‘ideological’ brush I have handy.

  2. unedited says

    Anyone who claims to have no ideologies is deceiving themself. The very determination to refuse ideological thinking is an ideology in itself. We need to be honest with ourselves and (mostly) open with others about our ideologies, than pretend they don’t exist. And the best ideologies are flexible, self-critical, open to change and improvement, in a constant state of flux.

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