The Power of Ideology



hey everyone in my last video I talked about how powerful culture is and how the pressures on us from culture create a kind of dictatorship it's hard to escape from this video is kind of a part too it's about another intangible source of oppression ideology when people hear the word ideology they think of things like Marxism maybe liberalism maybe an unorthodox political party something like that but an ideology is just a system of ideas and the dominant ideology of anywhere forms the backbone of the culture the dominant ideology ideology of most cultures are also a kind of dictatorship but like culture ideology can be changed and even used to liberate people how let's talk about that – I'm Chris and this is what had to be said ideas are just as alive as we are they are live in us and they're more powerful than us as individuals because if one of us dies the idea lives on that's what's so appealing to people about these right-wing ideologies like patriotism nationalism racism white supremacy they make us belong to something bigger than us even though it's that something doesn't really exist they apparently belong to the people even though any thorough reading of history would show that's nonsense and they're an exclusive club hmm so there there's something to believe in and even something to fight for but are they surely it depends on your values and if your values line up perfectly with the dominant ideology you might want to question them I don't know how old you are but I remember 9/11 quite well and I remember George W Bush coming on TV a couple of days after and telling Americans the terrorists hate us for our freedom for our democracy for other things we supposedly value and he said quite plainly that terrorism is a threat to our way of life my way of life he meant to encapsulate anything an American thinks of when they think of America the less specific he is the more the individual can fill in the blanks this speech had several uses for one it told Americans there's a global Muslim terrorist conspiracy out there they should be afraid of that part worked millions of people still believe that thousands of people have made millions of dollars off of this lie you might even say it's become part of the ideology of the american right ii like many political speeches it appealed to and reinforced what people have been told are their beliefs we're a democracy and that's why we're fighting we believe in freedom and that's why we're fighting of course this this this supposed belief they all fall apart when you actually examine them but nobody ever does examine them americans went to war because they were afraid really and if you're scared enough you'll cling to any belief or hope you've been given the only way to feel safe is to wave a flag while watching kids go off to kill other kids on the other side of the world the third thing the speech did was manufacture consent for the coming war on terror by saying this attack was caused not by a foreign policy that can be easily changed to stop creating more terrorists but by our values they want to kill us because of who we are well we don't to change who we are so a nation of sheep trotted into war because one one terrorist attack was painted to look like an attack on the national ideology so ideology is powerful stuff some people think where they're from doesn't have an ideology that they weren't indoctrinated into any ideology or several overlapping ideologies and instead have an accurate understanding of the world those people are wrong in fact they exemplify good as observation that no one is more of a slave than one who falsely believes that they're free not realizing you've been indoctrinated or denying it is a sure sign you believe someone else's beliefs think someone else's thoughts and dance to someone else's beat in other words your ideas serve someone other than you and that's most of us we've all been dumbed down by someone else's ideas and I'm going to do a whole series of videos on those ideas and so on but let's see if I can summarize them here what does your culture value remember from my last video culture is largely assumptions and beliefs about every aspect of life and they're largely below the surface so how do you know what your culture values is it because somebody told you and you keep hearing the words I hear the word freedom come out of the mouths of Americans whose actions show they clearly hate freedom or at least everyone else's freedom so words are not enough to understand a culture do people in your culture actually live the values they say they do and wouldn't they be better off questioning some of those values let's look at some of the things we believe or say we believe in we believe in democracy because democracy serves as a fig leaf for who really runs things we don't spend much time thinking about what democracy means or what it means to be represented or even what the people means surely if we really wanted the people in charge we wouldn't have States controlled only by the richest and most influential among us but we've been told all our Weiser that's democracy and democracies the best way to organize society so obviously so obviously the best in fact that we elevated almost to the status of a God people are willing to kill and die for it and the only conceivable alternative to so-called democracy is authoritarian rule it's never getting rid of the so-called democratic state and just letting people be free because as everyone knows chaos we believe in the rule of law for all the same reasons we need other people making laws over us or else we'd be running around killing each other because apparently the only thing that holds back the cruising tide of human nature is the magic of the law and the police we believe in capitalism because we've been told all our lives the alternative to capitalism is for tens of millions of people to die by some mystical process called socialism and I don't know what socialism is but I know capitalism is better so it's fine that we have a class system where some people have enough money to end poverty around the world and spend it on boats and jets and houses and ski lodges or else just leave millions or billions of dollars in bank accounts while other people are digging in dumpsters because capitalism is a big part of the dominant ideology it basically goes unquestioned along with the belief that the poor are poor because they don't work hard enough and because we believe in capitalism we believe in jobs have some kind of financial problem get a job got a job and still have financial problems get another job make money for someone else that's freedom start your own business even it only costs thousands of dollars most people don't have you could go into debt to start a business maybe take out a second mortgage I'm sure most businesses fail but that's okay just pick yourself back up dust yourself off with a kiss try again and we apparently believe in jobs because they're the means to getting what we are we're all told to dream about buying a house growing a lawn raising a family with one member of the opposite sex buying a car vacationing for two whole weeks in the year and generally being a bland middle-class straight white family if you don't have all those things it's considered acceptable to call the police to kick you out of a neighborhood full of people who do we believe in countries I didn't even know what countries are and nation states that we somehow belong to a nation state because we've been told that our nationalism and even war are normal natural the right way to be where are you from I was born in a nation-state that's the imagined community who gave me my identity how about you yes I was born in the nation-state ooh I also consider subservience two lines on a map of virtue like capitalism the nation-state is a relatively new invention yet it's given the air of a primordial truth something we've always been and will always be that's one way to keep these ideas alive we believe things like poverty war racism and so on are inevitable or natural because we live under a system that necessarily creates and thrives on things like war poverty and racism when in fact their inventions unnecessary only harmful to most people but very useful to our rulers we believe in progress so that more people can accept their shitty conditions and not fight back with the blind hope that things are gonna get better everything will be okay and so that destroying the environment or watching the stock market go up and down can can become good things that bring progress and growth and prosperity to everyone layoffs stagnant wages crashes collapses don't worry things will be better than ever before you know it I don't even think of proposing an alternative because then the deep roots of ideology take over the conscious brain and you get branded an unreasonable and dangerous extremist the idea that the economy can and indeed must grow infinitely is hammered into us in every turn we have to believe in progress or the whole economy will collapse what else do we believe and we believe in school because the only way anyone can even think a child should be taught anymore is by sitting them down and throwing facts of them for eight hours a day curbing their every natural impulse by means of discipline and punishment our belief in jail isn't that different concentrate people in one place discipline them so they act like us ignore all data saying it doesn't work after all we're talking about belief when you have belief data facts just counter-arguments our heresy if you don't believe in all your cultures beliefs you'll get into arguments you'll be ridiculed you'll alienate friends maybe even face exile if you don't think the same way the rest of us do you must be a bad person I've been saying we hear to mean I guess white North Americans which is pretty much the closest thing to a group I know and can talk about but these values have spread quite far around the world so that activists all around the world talk about democracy free markets the rule of law jobs money schools and nation states if you've read much by Antonio Gramsci you might already get it but if not to summarize it's largely because places like the US and UK which embody these ideologies have spread them around the world but if these things aren't in our interest or let's say are not necessarily in our interests and it should at least be rigorously questioned before we choose to agree with them why do so many people believe in them the short answer sounds like a kind of conspiracy to into getting us to believe in all these things but it's not always conscious believers in ideology spread it unconsciously our parents induct us into this cult by teaching us all the things we're supposed to believe and point them out to us throughout all our lives get a job get money buy a house get married don't worry about the wars and the Poor's just make money so you don't have to think about them in school we're told we're being prepared for getting a job they're actually open about the fact that school kills independent thought saying its purpose is to reduce you to another obedient taxpaying law-abiding worker because that's all our parents are and that's all their parents care about and that's what the people in power what universities just an extension of school in that way contrary to what most right-wingers claim the vast majority of academics follow follow the ruling party line making them me you know mostly they're vaguely liberal or center-right the media uncritically plays speeches by politicians or others who talk about our supposed values and our interests what what they say our interests are an election results show that people like to hear words like family and democracy and tough-on-crime with no regard to what the politicians actually do so people who consume a lot of news imbibe the ideology of those news sources which hardly ever strays too far from the dominant beliefs of society as you can see a social order does not need to be based on facts as long as enough people believe in enough of the myths of the culture the current order can continue but ideology isn't just for you to accept and embrace your own servitude they can be Liberatore too they can enlighten people to their condition they can provide a flag for resistors to rally around it depends what they say and how you use them after all people use the hope of democracy and jobs and bread to rebel against dictators what I propose aside from reading and discussing theory and applying it to your situation which I end a lot of other people like me think is very important is at least questioning those values you're told you believe in and considering whether they could and should have more more than just jobs and bread and democracy socialism was soup always supposed to be Liberatore liberation for the workers from the horrors of capitalism it's good that it's supposed coming back into fashion now it's got a long history of theory and practice and I hope people who call themselves socialists know some of it rather than just supporting Bernie Sanders and Alexandra or Cassio Cortes and thinking that makes you a socialist though many revolts in the name of socialism have failed as in they've failed to hand the workers ownership of the means of production it doesn't make socialism impossible it just means people with socialist ideals need to learn from past mistakes it's not easy to supplant one ideology for another it's a long struggle against oppressors and oppressive thinking anarchism is a particularly radical form of socialism but it's so far away from the dominant international ideology of capitalism and nation-states that most people would reject it out of hand it's blasphemy but there might be elements of a culture you can use as a wedge issue to plant a seed most americans are closed to ideas like anarchism and communism but you could still appeal to their belief in freedom by showing them all the ways they're not free and why and there's belief in democracy by pointing out the true democracy would be the grassroots level and maybe rebellion the way so many American cultural icons were rebellions and why you can't be a rebel if you support Donald Trump the police or the military you can reintroduce heroes from history and show them how they for instance fought for unions against bosses strikebreakers the police and even the FBI in KKK you can teach people about other cultures throughout history that have avoided subjugation how they did it like in the book the art of not being governed by James C Scott or Anarchy in action by Colin Ward or maybe the work of George Woodcock you could just google examples of resistance for that revolution and anarchy I bet your history's full of them you can challenge people's dominant views on the dominant ideology I don't know how much time is the right amount to spend but I wouldn't spend too much time on people who aren't interested in listening because ideology is a mental prison and most people unfortunately are quite comfortable there but you can keep the key within reach most people need to be told something several times by several people before it makes sense to them if it ever does but they can learn I'm here and so are you if there are enough of us we might just be able to turn the world into one that actually lives the values that it preaches thanks friends see you next week




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