The definition of the word “ideology” classifies it as a system of ideas. Both left and right wing ideologies are indeed systems of ideas, each with clearly identifiable components which work in concert to actuate a desired state of society. Thus, like any machine, ideology only “works” when all of its pieces are functioning, so that when one part fails, all of the other parts fail with it, leaving the entire ideology deactivated.
So keeping our “system” analogy of ideology in mind, let’s look at the American ideology, which is based in a very specific political philosophy; that philosophy being Natural Law which accounts for the political contribution to the Age of Enlightenment.
If you aren’t familiar with Natural Law, we’ll begin with a little background, starting with John Locke, the English philosopher who published his Two Treatises Of Government in the year 1690. In his second treatise Locke introduces Natural Law by explaining the natural state of all human beings as being free. Free to avail of all of the natural abilities that nature has endowed us with.
If you’d like a real life presentation of this natural freedom, then wiggle your fingers, hum a little tune or jump around the room. All of those abilities were given to you by nature and it is nature that made you free to use them.
And so we see, the first individual component of the American philosophy in the form of freedom.
Looking beyond ourselves, we realize that other people have similar natural abilities. At this juncture we use reason to determine the limitations of our natural freedom, understanding that we are completely free so long as we do not restrict the natural abilities of others. In other words, we are free to use our natural rights and abilities, with others being equally free to use theirs.
And so we find our second individual component of the American ideology presented in the form of equality.
Continuing on, we look at the most overlooked component of the American philosophy, which is named in a passage from Locke’s second treatise:
“The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions. In transgressing the law of nature, the offender declares himself to live by another rule than that of reason and common equity, [this] being a trespass against the whole species, and the peace and safety of it.” – John Locke
We see near the very end of this quote, our magical missing word, and our final sub-component of the American ideology; peace! And having identified freedom, equality and peace as the three main sub-components of right wing ideology we may then examine how they work in conjunction.
For instance, when one man attempts to rob another man, the freedom and peace of both men will be denied.
Next we could look at the relationship between freedom and equality, where perceived states of supremacy lead to the removal of freedoms. Take the unpopular issue of polygamy for example. Though polygamy violates no natural rights, we still feel superior to the polygamists, thus its practice remains illegal. And so we can show that our sense of superiority to polygamists has eliminated equality, which in turn has also eliminated their freedom.
Now we can examine our last relationship between equality and peace. Right wing ideology shows that all men and women were created equal, and are free to endeavor and to own their natural possessions. This freedom leads to certain inequalities. Not political inequalities, but material inequalities. And these material inequalities are what spur members of the left to remove political rights in order to engineer material equality.
In order to go through with the business of removing political equality, it only stands to reason that it would be done by people who consider themselves superior. This removal of political rights creates a natural conflict and we call this disruption of peace “politics.” A never-ending social free-for-all which takes place once the idea of political equality has been discarded.
So what is the lesson here?
Picture the American ideological machine purring away, all of its sub-components whirring with life as they maintain our natural freedoms, as the enlightened citizens of this society respect each others equality, and as this wide reaching respect transforms the idea of peace from an elusive dream into a very ordinary reality. And think in complete seriousness about why this peace would be attained, and how common it actually is when we as Americans live out the creed of our founding philosophy. And think lastly about why the peace is being threatened and by whom.
I’m sure there are lots of ways to illustrate how the mechanics of peace would work, but generally speaking “leaving people be” is a simple enough formula. When people seek to mold society in their own image, they aren’t leaving people be, and the perpetual acrimony of “politics” is the certain result.
Our founding American philosophy lays out the ideological blueprint quite satisfactorily. We should all have a keen understanding of this philosophy, being mindful of the mechanics of Natural Law, and we should always make clear which side it is that believes that “Peace is Patriotic.”
(Author’s note to cover all of the ideological bases: Right wing ideology is not perfect as it is understood today, however it is rooted in reason and has transformed the human experience based on the American experiment. The claim of the left that their ideology eliminates suffering is false, and right wing ideology can not make that claim either in theory or practice. No ideology can eliminate suffering but it is a necessary goal to pursue, and should be pursued upon the existing ideological framework of freedom, equality and peace).