Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
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Issues relating to ideology

2024 Introduction

This is one of many texts written in 2012, long before this category was added, but only published beginning in 2023.

I publish it mostly as is, with a bit of polishing and the odd addendum, but without attempts to update the overall text in light of my many post-2012 readings and writings on topics relating to ideology, politics, etc., nor for any changes in opinions. (However, most of the observations and whatnots have seen more supportive than contradictory evidence and examples, e.g. the “holier than thou” and “the end justifies the means” attitudes so common in certain groups and, especially, on the Left.)

Two particular issues that I might have approached differently today:

  1. The framing in terms of ideology over, e.g., some combination of basic values and priorities might be suboptimal. This especially in combination with the narrow-yet-vague definition of ideology stipulated below, which, looking back, makes me uncertain where I had intended to draw the borders.

    In some new comments, I do not necessarily restrict myself to this definition.

  2. The take that ideologies (using this narrow definition) cannot be morally right or wrong. To some degree, this is correct; to some degree, it just shoves the problem around, as what is considered morally right or wrong is, it self, often highly subjective and/or a point of debate. It might be better to claim that “while a certain ideology might be incompatible with some set of moral/ethical/whatnot values, these values are subjective and cannot serve to condemn an ideology as evil (at all? without proper contextual clarifications?)” or similar.

    In addition (partly based on my own values):

    • There are ideologies that I find morally unsound, incompatible with basic human rights, or otherwise highly problematic.

    • Some ideologies seem much more prone to evil actions and/or to attract evil followers than others.

    • Some special cases of ideologies could conceivably fail in a near-objective manner through including ideas that simply go one step too far. For instance, a “the end justifies the means” attitude, if viewed as part of the ideology, would be extremely problematic through making later evil actions almost programmatic. Others could make evil outright programmatic through e.g. a “kill the rich” or “kill the Jews” component.

      (Here, the issue of definition of ideology might, again, be relevant. See below, and a great many earlier texts, for more on the crucial difference between opinion and action.)

The polishing includes some updates due to changed personal writing conventions, e.g. in that I capitalize more words today than in the past; however, chances are that I have not been consistent in such updates. (The same applies to other texts, usually without mention; however, it is particularly important for this text, as these changes to conventions affect “political” words unusually often, e.g. “communism” vs. “Communism”.)

There are strong signs that the text was not completely done at the time of the last 2012 edit, including a speculative to-do of “Leftists consider others evil because they fail to realize that others can come to other opinions of right and wrong??”. (While this speculation is compatible with much of what I have seen on the Left, and might well hold for large sub-groups of the Left, I have just removed the to-do without further action.) For obvious reasons, I do not know what further additions and other changes I had intended in 2012, but I suspect that some parts would have been re-thought/-written even from a 2012 perspective. At a minimum, the polishing would have been more extensive than the one that actually took place in 2024.

Original/2012 Introduction

Over the years, in particular during an intense period of blogging in 2010 and 2011, I have seen many examples of ideology being practiced with a “holier than thou” attitude, including condemnations of other ideologies on very flimsy grounds or with recommendations of entirely disproportionate actions. A number of examples have been discussed in an earlier article on Unfair treatment of Sverigedemokraterna leading up to the Swedish elections of 2010. (Many other pages, in particular on my blog, also deal with similar topics.)

In many cases, the situation degenerates into a “those others are so evil that we must do anything and everything to stop them—the end justifies the means”. The result is then that the self-proclaimed good guys do more evil than the alleged bad guys... (Committing a mistake that many others have warned against, e.g. Nietzsche).

Below I will discuss some related issues, centering on ideology being something inherently value-neutral, with actions being good or evil. The latter theme is treated more extensively in an earlier blog entry (and possibly a few others too).


By 2024, this idea has been repeated so often in my writings that the recurring reader might be bored with it. Formulations like “evil is as evil does” and “fascist is as fascist does” have been particularly common. (And, no, I will not even attempt to give a complete list of other texts.)


As might be suspected from the above links, this problem is particularly common among self-proclaimed anti-racist/-fascists/-whatnot. (Usually strongly Left-leaning persons; not rarely extremists or those willing to use political violence. In Sweden, e.g., there is a very large overlap with the old Communist party and Left-leaning organizations, as well as with the autonomew Left).

Their stance is often based on specious arguments about the need to kill the evil before it grows, with First they came...w being a favourite. This is the more depressing, because a true understanding of the principle behind the statement shows that those “coming” are, in fact, the self-proclaimed anti-racists...

Indeed, these persons are quite similar to those who helped Hitler gain power in Germany—not the stalwarts against evil that they naively think themselves to be: Easily lead by propaganda and emotional arguments; intolerant of the opinions of others and without doubts of their own righteousness; willing (in the case of at least a large minority) to actively hinder their opponents through foul-play, ranging from ad hominem to physical attacks; ... Certainly, “useful idiots” abound(ed) in both groups.

Note on the use of “ideology” in this article

For the purposes of this page, I will mostly refer to ideology in a narrow sense of core convictions of a non-pragmatical nature and of “political interest”. For instance, support of equal opportunities for the sake of justice and fairness would be a matter of ideology. In contrast, the same support in order to achieve an optimal resource use in the economy would not be a matter of ideology (but of pragmatism).

Choice of ideology


The first paragraph below is sufficiently poorly written that I am not entirely certain what I had intended in the first half. (Note remarks about polishing, etc., in the 2024 introduction.)

However, based on my thoughts in general, as well as the overall text, I likely intended a contrast between (a) ideology as something chosen in a more deliberate manner or developed over a longer time (be it through own thought and study or through e.g. propaganda and indoctrination), and (b) ideology as something coming from circumstances, experienced/observed unfairness, experienced/observed problems, etc. (Also note the examples that follow.)

I suspect, however, that I have understated the differences in in-born preferences, e.g. in that any developments (cf. the examples) might be limited to what is compatible with some in-born drive for e.g. fairness, while someone with a lesser or absent drive for fairness might be open to other developments.

A common (usually implicit) opinion is that one’s own ideology is necessarily one’s own, at least in broad strokes—certainly, this was the case with me as a teenager. (Alternately, that the own ideology is inherently superior to others.) However, with time (as my understanding of myself, humans in general, different ideologies, different circumstance of different humans, etc., has grown), I have come to the opposite conviction: Ideology is to a large degree determined by circumstances (often early in life) and the same person in different circumstances could have developed a radically different ideology.

Specifically, persons with strong ideological convictions are almost invariably strongly idealistic, strongly convinced of belonging to the “good guys”, and having a strong wish to improve the world or remove injustices. (Something all-too-often forgotten where the ideologies of others are concerned—or even deliberately ignored for the sake of evil propaganda. Examples are plentiful on the European Left and among both Republicans and Democrats in the US.) However, these factors will depend on both subjectiveness and circumstances: What problems are most noticeable? What injustices are most common? Etc. The answers to these questions will, in turn, depend on factors like what specific injustices the individual, himself, has been subjected too (here I suspect that some Maslow-like hierarchy would be present on closer inspection).

For instance, if the same young teenager were put in alternate reality scenarios, we might find that “if X, he becomes Y”, where X and Y takes values like:

  1. X = The rights of the individual are constantly set aside for the benefit of the state or the “people”.
    Y = Libertarian.

  2. X = The broad masses work 60-hour weeks, yet can barely pay the rent and put food on the table.
    Y = Social-Democrat.

  3. X = Crimes are rampant and the streets unsafe.
    Y = a believer in law and order.

  4. X = Censorship abounds.
    Y = a proponent of free speech.

  5. ...

(With a stronger effect, as the personal exposure to the respective X increases. In particular, different persons in the same society can come away with a different Y based on different personal exposure.)


A major complication is that this need not even base on a correct view of reality or actual own experiences, because the massive distortions that can take place through propaganda, selective news reporting, etc., can win out. Note e.g. how Feminists push propaganda of “poor oppressed women” even when it has nothing to do with reality—and how the Feminist success is largely based on too many falling for this propaganda, too few actually checking the facts of the matter, too few applying critical thought, etc.

(TODO import and link to the various Wordpress texts on the X-cents-on-the-dollar fraud.)

Own experiences should, of course, be taken with a grain of salt in general, as they need not be representative. However, with e.g. Feminism we often have an additional risk, namely, that events are interpreted in a distorting manner, e.g. in that a woman who has spent decades hearing about “poor oppressed women” construes a firing as “I was fired for being a woman!”, while the true reason was that she was lazy and incompetent.

(TODO import and link to the various Wordpress texts on such misinterpretations.)

Even worse, all too many might build their view of the world more on fictional depictions than on the actual world. A text on this is in planning. (TODO link after publication.)

(A shorter original side-note was removed as redundant in light of this addendum.)

While a person’s ideology (even more so, political preferences) changes over time, it is my impression that these changes will mostly affect the resulting conclusions—not the underlying core values. (Provided that they are sufficiently developed in the first place.) Changes to the latter tend to be rare and require long time-periods (sometimes decades) from the first doubt to the eventual point where someone would classify himself differently. The road from (hypothetically) Socialist to classical Liberal/Libertarian could be very long; however, the mere step from being in favour of nationalization of private enterprises to being opposed would be far easier and faster, often even an issue of pragmatics rather than ideology.

Rights and wrongs were ideology is concerned

A core realization is that ideologies, per se, cannot be morally right or wrong. Likewise, unlike opinions in general, ideologies can not be factually right or wrong—they are inherently a matter of taste. (They might, however, be strongly influenced by misinformation, misleading propaganda, and other distorting effects. Cf. above.)


While such “opinions in general” quite often are factually right or wrong, they typically share the characteristic of being morally neutral. Correspondingly, much of what is said here applies to other opinions than those of an ideological nature. Further, even when a factual truth appears to be present or absent, appearances can be deceiving—and the prudent should err on the side of being tolerant towards alternative opinions in that they are given fair treatment, including being countered with factual arguments and not being ruled out before the evidence and reasoning for and against have actually been examined. (In the case of e.g. new scientific hypotheses, there might even be a stage of conducting research to gather original evidence.)

Correspondingly, it is important not to deem someone good or evil based on his ideological opinions, but only on his actual actions—say throwing stones or eggs at political opponents, using unfair argumentation methods, or trying to prevent others from fair participation in political debate. (What is good and evil can in turn be somewhat subjective, even a matter of ideology; however, extremists aside, I do not expect large disagreement with the above use—and even if there is disagreement, it will likely be of a more semantic character: Even those who do not agree with the phrasing will likely agree that the above actions are both unjust and posing a danger to, for want of a better word, the democratic system.) Obviously, the issue of actions is not limited to the treatment of those with another ideology (although highly pertinent in context), but applies in general.

The need for freedom of opinion

The conclusion is that we must have freedom of ideological opinion (and opinion in general). Further, that everyone should have the right to argue for his ideology and e.g. run for political office with the corresponding ideological message.


More recent developments have shown how important this is. Note e.g. the COVID-countermeasure era, how the government-pushed censorship silenced those who spoke up against the likes of Fauci and Birx—and how the censored ultimately were proven right and Fauci/Birx wrong. Also note e.g. the immense damage done by “cancellation culture” and the abuse of the justice system to per- and prosecute many who have taken a strong stand against the insanities of the modern Left.

Several items from the below list are illustrated by the COVID-countermeasure era.

This for at least the following reasons relating to the above:

  1. Without an objective ability to speak of correct/faulty or good/evil ideologies, restrictions would be arbitrary and unjust. (Apart from being evil per se, this could also have negative side-effects in other areas, including frustrated ideologues drifting towards other spheres of action, notably political violence.)

  2. Such restrictions would violate the individual’s right to form his own opinions. (Another issue that is not only an evil per se, but also risks negative side-effects, including that attempts at indoctrination into the “right” opinions become more likely.)

  3. Restrictions would limit the room for changes, new developments, and new thinking—including questioning of the established “truth”. This will have negative pragmatic effects and can cause great damage.

  4. The presence of restrictions can provide a dangerous precedent (legally or just in terms of thinking about opponents), which over time lead to harsher or wider restrictions or restrictions in other areas. In a worst case scenario, this could lead down the road of dictatorship.

(Similar reasoning could apply to the risk of creating an atmosphere of intolerance, with corresponding side-effects.)


Some restrictions could be needed in at least two areas, where politics is concerned:

Firstly, politicians in office take actions—and actions can be evil. Correspondingly, it does not automatically follow that the political program proposed by a certain group would be kosher. A party that proposes killing Jews or those who have a higher education is on a very different level from “normal” parties. Even here, however, it is potentially dangerous to take action against a mere proposition, considering issues like subjectivity and where to draw the line. (Notably, members of different ideological extremes will often consider actions proposed by their opponents to be unacceptable or evil, even when a more neutral observer would not: Killing Jews for being Jewish or the highly educated for being highly educated is clear-cut—in many other cases, opinions will be severely divided.)

Secondly, the means used to gain and keep power must be sufficiently kosher, e.g. with regard to correctness and fairness of argumentation.

In neither case, however, is this a matter of the ideological opinion.

Irrational or nonsensical ideologies

Are there ideologies that are so irrational or nonsensical (resp. so unfounded in fact, to the limited degree that fact applies) that they could be exempt from the above? Ideologies equivalent to astrology or homeopathy?

Possibly, but I see no entirely clear-cut examples. Further, astrology was once a proto-science, believed even by many philosophers, and did result in astronomy. Homeopathy, in turn, is sufficiently disproved that e.g. patients should be strongly discouraged—but there is no reason to actively ban further research in the area (no matter how pointless it might seem). In the analogy, it would not necessarily follow that such ideologies were worthy of e.g. a ban.

To look closer at the two most obvious candidates:

Nationalism: Seems inherently and absolutely pointless on a superficial inspection—why should anyone prefer one country over another based on an accident of birth? (Rather than some more rational set of criteria, e.g. the similarities between the personal view of an ideal society and the actual society.) Indeed, outside of sports, I verge on being anti-Sweden (and can be quite critical of Germany). However, on a deeper inspection, reasons can be found that give a degree of legitimacy to nationalism that appears sufficient for the purposes of this page. Consider e.g. the wish to ensure a good life for one’s own family (towards which a nationalist government could help or seem to be a help), the wish to preserve a certain culture (no less worthy than preserving a particular species from extinction—but also no more likely to succeed in the long-term), or the genuine (but likely misguided) belief that one’s own society is the ideal.


Here there might be a great many issues to discuss in an addendum, but to focus on one:

If I am “anti-Sweden” or “quite critical of Germany”, what entity or whatnot do I object to? To a large part, it amounts to the respective government, as opposed to the respective country in a more abstract sense, and as opposed to the people. I am, for instance, not anti-Sweden in the sense that the genocidal freaks of Hamas are anti-Israel—but I am of the opinion that a great many government-caused problems need to be cleaned up, including some Feminist-driven laws.

There are, however, many problems outside government, including some instances of very weird attitudes in the respective populations, be it of a political/ideological nature, e.g. the, in light of past history, absurd strength of the Left, or independent thereof, e.g. the absurd German carnival or the absurd prevalence of dubbed movies and TV series in Germany. (The word “absurd” seems the most apposite in all three cases, even at the cost of repetition.)

However, when we move away from the government, we have to ask what negative is something specifically Swedish or German and what is just human nature/stupidity/irrationality/whatnot likely to be encountered in some form or other in any country.

Looking at further developments: (a) I am likely more “anti” relative Germany than Sweden at this juncture, in light of a number of very poor experiences in the intervening years, including, but not limited to, the way that Germany botched the COVID-countermeasure era. (b) The political problems of e.g. (Gender-)Feminism that have done so much damage to Sweden as an “early adapter” have gained a massive worldwide spread and been joined on a large scale by similar movements in the “New Left”, “Woke”, and/or “PC” families.


Note that “legitimate”, at least in this context, does not imply e.g. “good”. It is not a matter of what opinions a highly educated and intelligent human should have, but more a matter of what range of opinions could conceivably be present in a human without the need to consider him entirely unreasonable.

Feminism: Is, in its current mainstream form, based on grave prejudices, incorrect statistics, highly dubious or outright faulty results from the pseudo-science “gender studies”, and is generally out of touch with reality. The argumentation methods used are often inexcusable, based on censorship, ad hominem attacks, grave intellectual dishonesty, etc. Other problems abound.

(Search my website or blog for “Feminism” for dozens of more detailed discussions, including many links to more information.)

This makes Feminism both nonsensical and evil, but only in the currently dominant shape (of gender-Feminism and what I call “political” Feminism). Most of the problems are issues with evil actions, not evil opinions. Further, in as far as the opinions are nonsensical, there are two hitches: Firstly, it does not follow that Feminism in earlier forms was, or by necessity is, nonsensical to a higher degree than e.g. Communism, including that even a reasonable person in the right circumstances might see Feminism as a legitimate answer. (However, these circumstances would have to be very different from e.g. modern day Sweden, where sexism and discrimination come down solidly in favour of women.) Secondly, Feminists typically work from a position of honest conviction based on conclusions that are not entirely unreasonable in light of the alleged facts that they have been fed—the problem is that these alleged facts (e.g. relating to biological differences between men and women, statistics on earnings, statistics on rape and domestic violence, etc.) are actually faulty, which makes the conclusions equally faulty. In this, modern Feminism is just as flawed as astrology; however, unlike astrology, it does not trivially follow that even an educated and rational human will be aware of the scope of the flaws.


Feminism is also a good illustration of another problem area, that is neither truly ideology nor truly method, namely the stubborn failure to adjust opinions in light of new information, new arguments, whatnot. Modern Feminism is very strongly based on a set of pre-conceived opinions that are held with a near religious conviction. What is contrary to these opinions is faulty—period. (Be it logical arguments, statistical investigations, or any other thing. At an extreme, I have seen evidence against some idea interpreted as support for the idea, e.g. in that differences in behavior between the sexes are observed at a very young age, that the possibility of a biological explanation is (still) rejected in a blanket manner, and that the conclusion, instead, is some variation of “See how powerful gender-stereotypes are!”.)