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IDEOLOGY - word coined by Antoine Louis Claude Destutt, comte de Tracy

Reader comment on item: A Century of the Muslim Brotherhood

Submitted by Robert (United States), Sep 22, 2022 at 22:12

In your open paragraph you use the word "ideology." And you often use it as part of your vocabulary, particularly in the contexts of Islam (the Religion), but more so in the context of Islamism. But I cannot imagine how you would use it in the context of Judaism or Zionism (I do not mean to be critical - it's an issue of understanding).

I my education in the 1960's at the City College of New York, and the City University of New York, I did not get exposed to it, and it is not part of my vocabulary.

However, merely a look at the Wikipedia article on the term shows that it was coined by the Frenchman (French Philosopher), Antoine Louis Claude Destutt, comte de Tracy, during the French Revolution. It was subsequently adopted by Napoleon Bonaparte and used as a pejorative against his adversaries. Subsequently, it is claimed that Karl Marx also used it as a pejorative.

The history of this term continued, and it was adopted into American English, which you speak. But I really do not understand how you use it, especially sin your are not known as a Marxist.

All religions have sects, and all sects pick up or develop one Dogma or another. And there are Heresies too. But I cannot imagine you discussing the Ideologies of diverse Christian subdivisions or sects. What, for example, is the ideology of Protestantism? Most people would distinguish Beliefs, not Ideologies.

Perhaps you have so internalized the term in your vocabulary, that you never though about it. But the term has a rich theoretical use (as I instantiated above, not even mentioning Karl Mannheim) that I am inspired to ask you how you what you mean by this word in your activist work and writings?


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Daniel Pipes replies:

Oxford Dictionary defines ideology as "a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy." That works for me.

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