Ideology Is a Choice

I love how this article sums up an important qualitative intellectual difference…one that is often ignored in debates and in attitudes towards others.

There truly is a difference between something that can be chosen…and something that cannot…and how those things are treated.  Please read the entire article to get the full picture, and I have given a sample section below:


“…Being “conservative” is an ideology. Unlike race and gender and sexual persuasion, it is an intellectual choice. It can be changed at any time. Also— more to the point—unlike race and gender and sexual (orientation), an ideology such as conservatism makes claims about how others should be treated. This is why it is a proper target of examination and scorn.

“A person having a different skin color does not materially affect you. A person being a different gender does not materially affect you. A person having a particular sexual orientation does not materially affect you.

“But a person who holds an ideology that says that, for example, the public should be free to discriminate against people in your particular demographic category, or that society should be bent so that we all serve the whims of the extremely wealthy, can certainly materially affect you, particularly if that person is attempting to spread that ideology so that it becomes more powerful and therefore gains a greater ability to exert its influence over your life.

“And that is exactly what is happening in the cultural spaces about which McArdle is whining. The “marketplace of ideas” that makes up the sort of cultural space that McArdle is demanding access to is not one in which all ideas good or bad are supposed to float forever in stasis.

“It is one in which ideas are supposed to constantly evolve and progress based on mutual criticism. It is amusing that “conservatives” will strenuously argue that people who find homosexuality (an inborn trait, not a choice) to be immoral should be free to discriminate against gay people, then also argue that people who find modern “conservative” ideology (an intellectual choice) to be immoral are obligated to practice ideological affirmative action to allow those they believe to be immoral to spread their views more widely.

“One might suspect that such arguments are driven by petulance and self-interest more than high-minded appeals to human dignity.  The fact that Megan McArdle seems to have a secure job for life at the highest level of the elite media despite the quality of her work goes to show that the exclusion of conservatives is not as bad as she thinks…”

Source: Ideology Is a Choice

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