We are well advised to remember a bon mot by the English writer and journalist Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), a friend of George Bernard Shaw: “The worst thing about losing faith is not that people stop believing, but that they become so willing to believe everything. In other words, they fill the vacuum of not believing with all kinds of stupidities.”
That is a great danger today.
Even modern, fear-driven individuals are susceptible to conspiracy theories and ideologies of all kinds. These are reinforced by protagonists who recognise the potential of social networks and their algorithms.
People often do not evaluate political rationality with their minds, but instead with a lot of emotion from their heart rapidly confronting them with a false alternative between good or evil. There is no longer truth or falsehood, but rather a creed frequently fortified by moral pathos plus hatred of the non-believers. It is a kind of moralising dictatorship attemp- ting to dominate citizens` attitudes. This is often linked to a sense of entitlement and prohibition: some want to arrange other people’s according to their own personal standards. The vegan does not want another person to eat meat. The next person does not want Muslims, migrants or coloured people in its country. The third does not like cars in the city. The fourth wants to carry his weapons openly.
Human nature too often reveals a broad spectrum devel- oping from gentle recommendations to brutal dictatorial pro- hibition and command. But this leads to a restriction of free- dom setting free totalitarian poison. This attitude endangers diversity, plurality of opinions and thus the foun- dation of democracy.
Every ideology is poison:
First, ideologies always endanger freedom and humanity. Free citizens are initially restricted by ideological guidelines, then harassed by bans and, in extreme cases, imprisoned as enemies of the state or even killed. Ideology never focuses on the individual, but on an idea. It is defended by ideologists even at the cost of human beings when they come to power. This inevitably leads to lack of freedom ending up in poverty and death. Whoever wants to create paradise on earth will always establish a cruel dictatorship.
Secondly, ideologies narrow everything down to a few exaggerated state goals and thus forget the totality of political tasks.
Thirdly, they eliminate open discussion and creativity with authoritarian concepts. They do not tolerate contradiction and reform but demand unconditional faith and obedience.
This is the conclusion drawn from the many experiments over more than a hundred years with all variants of totalitarianism, like communism, socialism, national socialism, fascism and nationalism with 125 million victims.
The ideologies of the nationalists and the socialists are essentially old conspiracy theories with a simplified perception of an enemy and hate-propaganda, because they always blame either the foreigners (like Jews, Muslims, or coloured people) or the rich (capitalists) as the source of all evil.
Some people today still seek their salvation in socialist teachings which at first sound logical. But let us look behind the façade: Socialism is ultimately (as with pure capitalism) only about the possession of goods and their alleged ‘just’ distribution. The desire to have and distribute is pure materialism. Here Marx was wrong. Man does not live on bread alone. Whoever has more is not happier. Socialism is in essence a deeply materialistic ego-ideology. Nonsense, because if something belongs to the ‘state’, only the politicians at the top have the power of disposal, the core of property. So, the people do not own anything, look at Cuba. The result is fatal: we see as well in Venezuela, the country with the world’s largest oil deposits, where hardly anybody owns something, except the rich socialist nomenclature with its black money accounts abroad and beautiful villas. Due to their ideological mindset, socialists forget not only reality but also the heart and freedom of peoples` free choice. Human beings need much more. Humanity: Dignity. Freedom. Air to breathe. Love. But that is exactly what this radical left-wing ideology cannot produce. On the contrary: in the beginning envy and resentment of the rich, later persecution of those who think differently. Secret police and prisons have been its trademarks for over 100 years. Socialism is therefore a deadly dead end of evolution and totally unsuitable as a recipe for a better future.
Nationalist ideologies put supremacy and race first and ignore the rights of minorities and foreigners. True patriotism is good – but nationalism is poison. We can strengthen the value of our homeland, but at the same time remain tolerant and open to the world. Migration can be sensibly managed with Realpolitik and humanity. Extreme nationalism and xenophobia are hostile to our fundamental values and God-given diversity. Without humanity and freedom everything is worthless. Radical right-wing ideologies, with their xenophobia and narrow-mindedness, are incompatible with a good future. Their garden gnome nationalism is naive. No one can stop the networked world by building walls around nations. Especially not in the digital age with permeable borders. In our networked world isolation is not possible. Such a position would jeopardise the future and prevent the erection of an internationally competitive structure thus poisoning the source of our humanity. Right-wing nationalism is totally unsuitable for the future.
Religious extremism negates the true rules of God’s love and mercy in the major religions.
For a convinced radical socialist, nationalist, extremist and fanatic of every kind, the core idea is the personally desirable paradise on earth. This goal dominates everything and is worth fighting for with all means. Extremists strangle the dissenting opinions with totalitarian ideology, thus killing democracy and freedom. They are the extremist’s enemies. A wall that seems white to everyone can be black in an extremist’s vies. This cannot be argued away. That is pure faith.
All ideologies try to divide man into fixed categories, to transform him and create a better man. Diversity becomes uniformity and compulsion. A new policy must principally reject ideological ideas. This applies to any kind of dictatorial approach, however good, necessary and progressive it appears at the beginning.
Today we need more “Courage For Freedom” and more humanity with a „Mission Future“:
Not ideologies, but new politics of happiness.
No hatred and no violence towards those with dissenting positions, but instead vivid diversity, tolerance and a vibrant democracy.
Creative and open-minded new thinkers no longer hold extremist ideological positions but cultivate pragmatic thinking and acting with heart and mind.
We need a policy for a better, more humane and dignified life for all citizens.
Under the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Both freedom and security.
- Tolerance and respect.
- Joy of life and people’s happiness.
- A socially balanced market economy.
- Prosperity as well as environmental protection.
- For this action plan we need a new generation of politicians with fresh thoughts and acting on the basis of humanity, creativity and effectiveness.