In certain times – ours is one of them -- war among different understandings of the world produces a fear of ideology.  In the name of getting along, the cry then goes up that we must all become non-ideological.  People who admit that they believe in something are called fanatics.

This does not really do away with ideology, because it is impossible for a rational being to live in the world without trying to understand it.  Nor does it do away with the differences among ideologies, because every understanding of the world is some understanding of the world and not another.  It doesn’t even do away with fanaticism, because people who hold ideologies they are unaware of holding are unable to be humble about them.

What the call for an end to ideology does produce is world-views which deny that they are world-views -- for example, the John Rawls sort of liberalism which pretends to be “political, not metaphysical.”

So in the name of peace, world-views which deny that they are world-views make war, which denies that it is war, against the world-views which admit that they are world-views.

This is a particularly dishonest kind of war, which spawns a particularly dishonest mode of speech.  We say we’re not for abortion, just for “choice,” not against marriage, just against “discrimination,” not against good character, just against “being judgmental.”

Is there a solution?  Of sorts.  Give up the pretense to neutrality and nonjudgment.  Admit to understanding the world this way, not that way.  Go ahead and argue about how the world really is, what is really true, what is really good.  But use the weapons of reason, not deception.

This solution is effective only among those whose world-views recognize that truth is accessible to reason, and that it is more than the word of the winner.