Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bell -The end of Ideology in the West

Bell, Daniel. "The End of Ideology in the West." From Alexander, Jeffrey C., and Steven Seidman. Culture and Society: Contemporary Debates. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Originally written in 1988

Ideology arose from the Hegelian ideas of Feuerbach (in striving and achieving true consciousness, man should and will replace God) and Marx (Men were divided into classes which must be thrown off in revolution to create a utopian society). A key factor in the rise of ideologies was the demythologizing of God.

Religion always offered more than ideology - it offered a way to cope with the problem of death. Still, ideology has managed to rouse people in its 1.) simplification of ideas, 2.) claim to truth, 3.) demand for a commitment to action in the union of 1 and 2.

As the Cold War peters out, ideologies are exhausted. (See also: Moscow Trials, Nazi-Soviet pact, concentration camps, suppression of Hungarian workers) (And, socially, see: modification of capitalism, the rise of the Welfare State) (And, philosophically, see: decline of simplistic, rationalistic beliefs and the emergence of new images of man from Freud and others.)

Still, Bell accepts that new ideologies are arising in Africa and Asia (note: pre-Tiananmen Square).

Bell concludes with a call for intellectuals to lead the way to making the world better today, not into an ideology that promises a better life with time and the passing of generations.

No comments:

Post a Comment