On ideology – part 1

I do not know why I want to ramble with this ideology thingy. Probably it was started when I was sick to see debate on TV with no ideological substance.  Then I questioned myself: do you know anything about ideology? This note is an answer to myself.

Ideology can be simplified as the view to regulate interaction among member of society. It is started with two basic questions. First, what is the ideal society looks like. Second, how are we going to get there.

However, before we answer these questions, it is important to differentiate sources of power legitimacy.

Basically, in early civilization, King and other type of rulers used to claim they have the legitimacy from God. Since they were the representation of God, then they had absolute power over their people. In last four centuries, these type of government had been received a huge challenge and I guess only several countries (mostly in middle east) in which the systems are still in use.

In this kind of totalitarianism, ideology is not an issue. Religious based totalitarian will use their own interpretation of Book to decide what is good or bad for the country. So actually, they will not welcome any ideology other than their religion. They even do not welcome a different interpretation of the Book.

Other than that, we still have a different kind of absolutism or totalitarianism: military dictatorship or pseudo-democratic. in this case, the legitimacy comes from military power instead of God.
These rulers may have different ideologies, but they make sure that they are always be in power.

Totalitarian is bad. No question about it. History has shown us that only few of totalitarian government brought prosperity to the country. Even if they do, people have to pay it in form of repression.

The opposite of totalitarian is democratic government, in which legitimacy of power comes from people. it is not a perfect system. but it is far better than totalitarian. It is important to note that Democrat is not an ideology. It is simply a way or process to elect and run a government.

In a democratic country, ideology becomes relevant because a group of people may have differences with other groups on what is important. In an ideal situation, different kind of ideologies should compete to win approval from people. Each ideology should come up with its own solution to the problem at hand. As said earlier, we don’t have that in Indonesia.

Upon establishing the difference between totalitarian (where ideology is not relevant) and democratic system (where ideology play an important role) we are ready to discuss the differences among ideologies.

(to be continued)

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