by Right Wing Fighter
The ideologues are people that value a particular principle above everything else.
For instance, there are ideologues that value the principle of equality over everything else. No consideration of practicality, or sometimes basic humanity, will stop them. They want to reorder society to fulfill their principle.
Needless to say their heedlessness to any other consideration can make them dangerous. Not always, of course. It depends on the principle in question and the ideologue’s particular circumstances.
Say for instance you’ve got a pacifist leading a country that is at war. Disaster is clearly on the way.
But say you’ve got someone that values kindness as the supreme principle, and he is the director of a ward in a children’s hospital. His desire for kindness may be impractical at times, but clearly it will do very little harm, and probably a lot of good, in such a circumstance.
Today, there are more than a few wackos that are running around with their lousy “principles.” The radical environmentalists, for instance, with their radical anti-humanism. They want to end all industry, and wish to reduce the world to a state of “nature,” which is to say, carnage and disease.
Then there are the radical feminists, that literally regard childbirth as some kind of conspiracy against woman. Seeing as it is the females of every animal species that give birth to children, I wonder why they should consider their situation such a departure from the norm. But nevertheless they have their principle, and year by year they fight to divide men and women, parents and children, to forward their “principle.” Some principle! Some goal! Some legacy!
Then there are the radical individualists that think any kind of authority is tyrannic. Never mind the public good. Heck, they don’t even recognize the public good. “That’s just a lie to chain the individual!” Again, these ideologues don’t consider anything other than their particular “principle.” No matter how absurd it is, they stick to it and devote their lives to it.
There are two problems with ideologues when they come to power.
First, is that they frequently sacrifice every other important consideration on the altar of their “principle.” So for instance, Thomas Jefferson and his anti-authority principle led us to be so totally unprepared for war that in the war of 1812, most of our battles with Britain were shameful disasters “fought” by militias that didn’t have half the discipline they needed to fight a battle.
Second, because ideologues are single-minded, they ignore everything not related to their “principle.” So that if they are elected, they are out of their depth in everything not related to their principle. They are then either (a), incompetents nevertheless in charge of very important portions of the national interest; or (b), the pets of “advisors” who are completely unaccountable to the public. It is a question which is worse: rule by an incompetent or an unaccountable clique.