18 / CHRONICLESnTHE UNNATURAL HISTORY OF GIANTnIDEOLOGY by Russell KirknBorn in a Parisian coffeehouse during the first year of then19th century, Ideology has grown gigantic in our time.nInfant Ideology was consecrated to an educational reform;nthe colossus Ideology that now bestrides the world isnengaged successfully in the extirpation of culture.nThere comes to my mind often, when someone innocentlynutters such phrases as “ideological framework” andn”ideological consistency,” a passage in Evelyn Waugh’snsatire Scott-King’s Modern Europe (1943). Two Britishnscholars, just arrived in the capital of Neutralia, are beingnconducted to a cultural congress. Neutralia is limpingntoward recovery from the devastation of a civil war broughtnon by ideological passions; the memorials of that strife lie onnall sides:nThe underling leaned towards them from the frontnseat and pointed out places of interest. “Here,” hensaid, “the anarchists shot General Cardenas. Herensyndico-radicals shot the auxiliary bishop. Here thenAgrarian League buried alive ten TeachingnBrothers. Here the bimetallists committednunspeakable atrocities on the wife of SenatornMendoza.”nAye, the accomplishments of ideology are at once horridnand farcical: Democritus might laugh at them, but there isnmore than one sort of laughter, and one’s sense of humor isnsorely tried when the ideologues move in next door. Innessence an attempt to thrust down the throats of allnhumankind a set of abstract political dogmas, ideologynA seventh edition of Dr. Kirk’s The Conservative Mind isnforthcoming from Henry Regnery Company.nnncontinues at this writing to slaughter the masses in Indochina,nin half of Africa, in Central America, in Afghanistann—in the name of the masses, of course. The very realnMarxist sectaries of the Yemen cast into shadow thenimaginary bimetallist ideologues of Neutralia.nNo longer is it fantastic to suggest that all civilization maynbe brought down by furious ideology; nay, that by ideology’snfrenzy the globe itself may benWhirled in a vortex that shall bringnThe world to that destructive firenWhich burns before the ice-cap reigns.nSince I9I4, ideology has undone in many nations allnthose benefits of humanitarianism that John Stuart Millnand the other Saints of Rationalism expected to tumblenfrom the cornucopia of Rational Progress during the 20thncentury. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride hardnin much of the world just now; you know the faces of War,nFamine, Pestilence. And who is the Fourth Horseman?nWhy, Giant Ideology, who commits such atrocities asnwould have horrified medieval men.nThis being so, it is sufficiently amusing—at least it wouldnhave amused Democritus and Evelyn Waugh—to findneditorial writers referring to “the ideology of free enterprise”nor television newspersons instructing us that a “democraticnideology” is lacking in South Africa. It is still moreninteresting to encounter in Washington lion cubs of thenReagan Administration who seek conformity to an allegedn”conservative ideology.” And one murmurs nil admirari onnconversing with certain well-known journalists of advancednyears who declare that America and the Free World requirentheir own common ideology to set against Marxist ideology,nfire fighting fire.nAmerican confusion about this sinister word—NapoleonnBonaparte, by the way, was the first to call it sinister—nbegan some decades ago. Early in the 50’s, a youngishnhierarch of the late Moral Rearmament movement publishedna book entitled America Needs an Ideology—thatnideology being MRA, naturally. Yet Moral Rearmamentnactually was no stern ideology, but merely a deliquescentnpseudo-religion; and happily it has vanished from this land.nIdeologies are made of sterner stuff. Also there have beennnumerous, and continuing, attempts to create an ideologynof American democratism: four legs good, two legs bad,nparticularly in foreign affairs. Lyndon Johnson’s peoplenjustified the sending of many American divisions to Vietnamnin the name of this ideology of democratism. But whatnAmerica needs is distinctly not a good five-cent ideology.nJohn Adams knew this in 1813, when he wrote to a friendnof the new term ideology, “Our English words, Idiocy ornIdiotism, express not the force or meaning of it. It isnpresumed its proper definition is the science of idiocy. Andna very profound, abstruse, and mysterious science it is. Younmust descend deeper than the divers in the Dunciad tonmake any discoveries, and after all you will find no bottom.n