Hannah Arendt on “ideology”

I just heard a great discussion with Masha Gessen about the autocrat’s (or cult leader’s) imperative to replace thought and inquiry with unthinking, unquestioning belief, based on an overarching worldview (or “ideology”). No totalitarian leader can come to power without convincing multitudes that debate based on so-called facts, truth, outmoded common agreement about empirical reality — what their eyes and ears may tell them — means nothing compared to the belief system their leader instills in them.   This destruction of belief in “fact” and its replacement with narrative-driving “alternative fact” is a precondition for any takeover by an authoritarian regime (or cult leader, though Gessen didn’t speak of cults, cults and autocracy have the same operating system).

The only sure route to the autocrat’s desired end is by instilling an “ideology,” a belief system that eliminates the need for doubt, instantly invalidates all criticism and cuts off the need for thought, replacing these things with loyal obedience to the inevitable historical imperatives dictated by ideology. The expression of ideology is often reducible to an easily remembered phrase.

Why do thousands gather on January 6th to enthusiastically support the outlandish and many times disproven proposition that there was massive voter fraud among Democrats and an illegitimate communist-puppet president is about to be sworn in? Why do 140 Representatives in the House and a dozen Senators stand to voice this baseless objection to certifying an election that was deemed fair by members of both parties and certified in all 50 states? Because tens of millions are angrily repeating these “ideologically-driven” allegations, tens of millions who voted to keep #Stop the Steal proponents in Congress, and therefore, those allegations of a rigged, stolen election might be true, must now be investigated! Before it’s too late!!!!

Here’s Hannah:

GESSEN: The way Arendt saw Hitler’s ideology – and she wrote about ideology a lot, but not in a way that you probably would intuitively imagine she wrote about ideology. She didn’t write about ideology as coherent thinking or as a system – as a worldview. She wrote about ideology as definitely a bad thing, as a kind of unthinking system.

SHULZ: (As Hannah Arendt) The last century has produced an abundance of ideologies that pretend to be keys to history but are actually nothing but desperate efforts to escape responsibility.

GESSEN: And she broke down the word ideology into its component parts, one idea taken to its logical extreme to derive from this ideological thinking the laws of history, right? So if history is inexorably moving in that direction, then we can help history along. And so they see themselves as agents of history. So then they go start – go about exterminating the other masses because the laws of history dictate that that be done. In the case of Germany, the idea that the Aryan race would come to rule the world…


Arendt broke down the word ideology into its component parts, one idea taken to its logical extreme to derive from this ideological thinking the laws of history.

With a client’s ideology on trial, and a sufficient number of jurors working with the defense and committed to acquittal, all a lawyer must do is show one incident where the other side is “lying” to prove his case that every enemy of his client is a fucking liar. As Mr. Trump’s lawyer, the sabbath observing David Schoen did with this arguable lie by Adam Schiff [1], who deliberately pronounced the commonly misspelled word “cavalry” in Kylie Jane Kremer’s tweet as “cavalry” [2].

You see how these filthy, lying socialist Jews do it?” asked last-minute Trump attorney David Schoen, silently, referring to the alleged trickery of his sick and dangerous co-religionist.

Of course, as any Christian knows, and any clever (or even just choleric) Jewish lawyer knows, Calvary was where Jesus Christ was crucified. So, obviously, when talking about the modern day crucifixion of Donald Trump… this Trump supporter clearly meant that the place where Jesus was crucified was on its way. Exclamation point!

You could argue, of course, that in the context of Trump’s December 19 call for a march (no mere protest rally) on January 6, retweeting his “be there, will be wild” promise, the tweet by the person Schiff deliberately and cunningly misquoted could refer to the troops Trump was calling for to march on the Capitol and Stop the Steal (which they, in fact, did).

Of course, “context” is just more lying bullshit, calculated to obstruct and distract, if there is sufficient fervor for your “ideology.” The Trump supporter’s tweet was clearly referring to Our Lord’s crucifixion, which was coming, lying libtards!!!

Meanwhile, in other news, youth around the world are suffering massively from pandemic-induced social isolation. The New York Times reports ‘What’s the point?’ Young People’s Despair Deepens as Covid-19 Crisis Drags On. We philosophical old bastards have years of experience to compare this disorienting, historically unusual situation to, a world before we were all locked down in fear of infection and death. The young have not had as much time to become this philosophical, yet.



But this [misspelling] is also a mistake that Trump himself has made. On Jan. 1, promoting the Jan. 6 rally, Trump retweeted a user who also used “calvary” — prompting Merriam-Webster to troll the president by publishing an article on the differences. “Although they begin and end with the same groups of letters, cavalry and calvary are not related in either origin or meaning,” the dictionary company wrote.


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