I was curious to see what I had posted on a year ago this week, so I went rummaging through the archives, and this is what I found. Apparently August is always ideology and Islamofascism month. Since ideology has kept cropping up in the last couple of weeks, here is an interesting post of mine from August 10, 2005 commenting on Mr. Bush’s unfortunate adoption of the habit of speaking in terms of ideology:
When Kirk first wrote The Conservative Mind in 1953, ideology was something principally connected with totalitarian regimes and was viewed as something exceedingly artificial and also something specifically Continental. Living philosophical and political traditions could not be compressed or compacted into programmatic bullet points, as in a manifesto, because there was a richness and breadth to real philosophy (in part because philosophy was interested first and foremost in truth, not power) that could never be distilled and boiled down into a simple political creed for mobilising supporters or made into a utopian scheme for reorganising society.
Almost by definition, such idea-shards and uniform plans for social engineering based on those shards were doomed not to take root in the rocky ground of reality, because they were the pruned and dessicated remnants of a once-living organism that were being taken as the essential organising principles of society. Anglo-American tradition had little to do with ideology, either in the Comte de Tracy’s sense or the Marxist sense, and likewise a conservatism nourished in that tradition could only be an anti-ideology.
A little earlier in August 2005 I took Joseph Bottum of First Things to task for, among other things, the habit of using the word Islamofascist:
First, I have a very hard time taking anyone seriously who uses the word “Islamofascist.” It occurs to me that anyone who uses this term as if it meant something either knows nothing about fascism and Islam or is simply using the ignorant label to redefine those who are a civilisational and religious foe as a repeat of the only enemy they find acceptable to vilify, namely fascists. (Besides, it is a lazy, leftist trait to see fascism everywhere that it isn’t and define all enemies in terms of being fascist, while simultaneously ignoring the extensive common ground between most leftists and historical fascists.)