On Compromising One’s Ideology “For the Good of the Country”

This is always an interesting perspective on ideas to me. (I’m being kind in the use of the word “interesting”.) This blogger speculates on what will happen if the Republicans take over the Senate in November: “Will congressional Republicans, especially in the House, want to rack up some legislative accomplishments or will they be more interested in putting their 2016 presidential candidates’ interests ahead of the country’s?” http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2014/09/08/would-republicans-compromise-if-they-had-a-senate-majority/

Notice how the assumption is that if you have a political ideology, in this case, the 2016 Republican presidential candidate’s ideology, which I would assume Republicans in the House agree with, then people expect you to give up that ideology in the “interest of the country”. But, presumably, the reason you hold a particular political ideology is because you think it’s implementation is for the “the interests of the country” -although even that expression is a little vague, and smacks of an implicit political collectivism in which some people’s interests are sacrificed for the interests of others. Whether the Republican ideology is, in fact, “good” is another story -and Republicans are vague and contradictory as to what their ideology consists of, exactly.

Most reporters don’t ever want to address the actual substance of an ideology, because that would take more thinking than most of them are capable of. Instead, they speak in vague generalities about “putting your country’s good ahead of your ideas” -which makes you wonder what they think political ideas, or any ideas for that matter, are good for? Ayn Rand gave some interesting commentary on precisely this point in her essay “Selfishness Without a Self”, found in Philosophy: Who Needs It: “If the politician is convinced that his ideas are right, it is the country that he would betray by compromising. If he is convinced that his opponents’ ideas are wrong, it is the country he would be harming. If he is not certain of either, then he should check his views for his own sake, not merely the country’s -because the truth or falsehood of his ideas should be of the utmost personal interest to him.”

If the above-quoted Wall Street Journal article were substantial, the writer would talk about the substance of the Republican ideology (as best as that can be discerned) and then discuss whether those ideas are right or wrong. But truth doesn’t matter to most reporters or newspaper editors.

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I am Dean Cook. I currently live in Dallas Texas.