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John Adams Quote:

Posted on 07/21/2009 10:59:53 AM PDT by valiant4thetruth

John Adams Said :Ideology = an organized collection of seductive hopes and wishes ,a systematic way of going wrong with confidence.

TOPICS: History; Humor; Religion; Word For The Day
KEYWORDS: foundingfathers; ideology; johnadams; presidents; quotes
This seems like a great quote to re circulate,Hope and Change you can believe in.
1 posted on 07/21/2009 10:59:54 AM PDT by valiant4thetruth
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To: valiant4thetruth

This from a man who spent his entire life in the service of establishing a free, independent, and representative American republic.

2 posted on 07/21/2009 11:08:47 AM PDT by americanophile (Sarcasm: satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language.)
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To: valiant4thetruth

Don’t you think Ronald Reagan had an ideology? One I happened to agree with almost 100% time.

3 posted on 07/21/2009 11:09:45 AM PDT by traderrob6
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To: traderrob6
Don’t you think Ronald Reagan had an ideology?

Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.

------------John Adams

4 posted on 07/21/2009 11:22:27 AM PDT by cbkaty (I may not always post...but I am always here......)
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To: valiant4thetruth
All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.

------------John Adams

5 posted on 07/21/2009 11:24:37 AM PDT by cbkaty (I may not always post...but I am always here......)
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To: valiant4thetruth

What is the source of this quote, and what is it exactly? I like it, but I can’t find it anywhere else.

6 posted on 07/21/2009 11:25:51 AM PDT by Dan Middleton
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To: cbkaty

Ideology is any fixed set of beliefs. Everyone has one.

7 posted on 07/21/2009 11:40:29 AM PDT by Borges
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To: Dan Middleton
I humbly apologize as i went back to check my source

I was reading late last night Passionate Sage By Joseph Ellis

pg. 172 The word Ideology was in quotes ,the quote came from Ellis

Here is Adams quote:

John Adams to Thomas Jefferson
13 July 1813Cappon 2:354—55

The first time, that you and I differed in Opinion on any material Question; was after your Arrival from Europe; and that point was the french Revolution.

You was well persuaded in your own mind that the Nation would succeed in establishing a free Republican Government: I was as well persuaded, in mine, that a project of such a Government, over five and twenty millions people, when four and twenty millions and five hundred thousands of them could neither write nor read: was as unnatural irrational and impracticable; as it would be over the Elephants Lions Tigers Panthers Wolves and Bears in the Royal Menagerie, at Versailles. Napoleon has lately invented a Word, which perfectly expresses my Opinion at that time and ever since. He calls the Project Ideology. And John Randolph, tho he was 14 years ago, as wild an Enthusiast for Equality and Fraternity, as any of them; appears to be now a regenerated Proselite to Napoleons Opinion and mine, that it was all madness.

The word came out of the french revolution it appears

Again i am sorry and i appreciate the vigilance of the people here.

8 posted on 07/21/2009 11:52:47 AM PDT by valiant4thetruth
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To: valiant4thetruth
As much as I respect John Adams, his comments on ideology are nonsensical. Adams was one of the biggest ideologues in American history. He was such an ideologue that he almost cost us the support of France. We all hold to absolute ideologies.
9 posted on 07/21/2009 12:44:52 PM PDT by Nosterrex
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To: Borges
Ideology is any fixed set of beliefs. Everyone has one.

Yes...and words mean things....

Say what you mean...which is contrary to the democratic party....example: ‘‘America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009’’

This is BS.....the words do not describe the's that simple....and the dem followers are's that simple.

10 posted on 07/21/2009 1:23:45 PM PDT by cbkaty (I may not always post...but I am always here......)
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To: valiant4thetruth
John Adams Said :Ideology = an organized collection of seductive hopes and wishes ,a systematic way of going wrong with confidence.

This isn't a John Adams quote. It's the author's characterization of John Adams's attitude toward ideology in the book, Passionate Sage: the Character and Legacy of John Adams, by Joseph J. Ellis, p. 172.
11 posted on 09/20/2010 3:10:15 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: aruanan

Thanks but see post 8

I have given more thought to this and study ,since I first posted
Here you will find Adam,s actual quotes along with Jefferson’s on the subject

I also offer a short essay from the esteemed conservative Russel Kirk

Ten Conservative Principles

by Russell Kirk
Adapted from The Politics of Prudence (ISI Books, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by Russell Kirk. Used by permission of the Estate of Russell Kirk.

Being neither a religion nor an ideology, the body of opinion termed conservatism possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata. So far as it is possible to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what leading conservative writers and public men have professed during the past two centuries. After some introductory remarks on this general theme, I will proceed to list ten such conservative principles.

Perhaps it would be well, most of the time, to use this word “conservative” as an adjective chiefly. For there exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.

The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who thinks himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects, there being no Test Act or Thirty-Nine Articles of the conservative creed.

In essence, the conservative person is simply one who finds the permanent things more pleasing than Chaos and Old Night. (Yet conservatives know, with Burke, that healthy “change is the means of our preservation.”) A people’s historic continuity of experience, says the conservative, offers a guide to policy far better than the abstract designs of coffee-house philosophers. But of course there is more to the conservative persuasion than this general attitude.

It is not possible to draw up a neat catalogue of conservatives’ convictions; nevertheless, I offer you, summarily, ten general principles; it seems safe to say that most conservatives would subscribe to most of these maxims. In various editions of my book The Conservative Mind I have listed certain canons of conservative thought—the list differing somewhat from edition to edition; in my anthology The Portable Conservative Reader I offer variations upon this theme. Now I present to you a summary of conservative assumptions differing somewhat from my canons in those two books of mine. In fine, the diversity of ways in which conservative views may find expression is itself proof that conservatism is no fixed ideology. What particular principles conservatives emphasize during any given time will vary with the circumstances and necessities of that era. The following ten articles of belief reflect the emphases of conservatives in America nowadays.

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order. That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.

This word order signifies harmony. There are two aspects or types of order: the inner order of the soul, and the outer order of the commonwealth. Twenty-five centuries ago, Plato taught this doctrine, but even the educated nowadays find it difficult to understand. The problem of order has been a principal concern of conservatives ever since conservative became a term of politics.

Our twentieth-century world has experienced the hideous consequences of the collapse of belief in a moral order. Like the atrocities and disasters of Greece in the fifth century before Christ, the ruin of great nations in our century shows us the pit into which fall societies that mistake clever self-interest, or ingenious social controls, for pleasing alternatives to an oldfangled moral order.

It has been said by liberal intellectuals that the conservative believes all social questions, at heart, to be questions of private morality. Properly understood, this statement is quite true. A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society—whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society—no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be.

Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity. It is old custom that enables people to live together peaceably; the destroyers of custom demolish more than they know or desire. It is through convention—a word much abused in our time—that we contrive to avoid perpetual disputes about rights and duties: law at base is a body of conventions. Continuity is the means of linking generation to generation; it matters as much for society as it does for the individual; without it, life is meaningless. When successful revolutionaries have effaced old customs, derided old conventions, and broken the continuity of social institutions—why, presently they discover the necessity of establishing fresh customs, conventions, and continuity; but that process is painful and slow; and the new social order that eventually emerges may be much inferior to the old order that radicals overthrew in their zeal for the Earthly Paradise.

Conservatives are champions of custom, convention, and continuity because they prefer the devil they know to the devil they don’t know. Order and justice and freedom, they believe, are the artificial products of a long social experience, the result of centuries of trial and reflection and sacrifice. Thus the body social is a kind of spiritual corporation, comparable to the church; it may even be called a community of souls. Human society is no machine, to be treated mechanically. The continuity, the life-blood, of a society must not be interrupted. Burke’s reminder of the necessity for prudent change is in the mind of the conservative. But necessary change, conservatives argue, ought to he gradual and discriminatory, never unfixing old interests at once.

Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription. Conservatives sense that modern people are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, able to see farther than their ancestors only because of the great stature of those who have preceded us in time. Therefore conservatives very often emphasize the importance of prescription—that is, of things established by immemorial usage, so that the mind of man runneth not to the contrary. There exist rights of which the chief sanction is their antiquity—including rights to property, often. Similarly, our morals are prescriptive in great part. Conservatives argue that we are unlikely, we moderns, to make any brave new discoveries in morals or politics or taste. It is perilous to weigh every passing issue on the basis of private judgment and private rationality. The individual is foolish, but the species is wise, Burke declared. In politics we do well to abide by precedent and precept and even prejudice, for the great mysterious incorporation of the human race has acquired a prescriptive wisdom far greater than any man’s petty private rationality.

Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence. Burke agrees with Plato that in the statesman, prudence is chief among virtues. Any public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity. Liberals and radicals, the conservative says, are imprudent: for they dash at their objectives without giving much heed to the risk of new abuses worse than the evils they hope to sweep away. As John Randolph of Roanoke put it, Providence moves slowly, but the devil always hurries. Human society being complex, remedies cannot be simple if they are to be efficacious. The conservative declares that he acts only after sufficient reflection, having weighed the consequences. Sudden and slashing reforms are as perilous as sudden and slashing surgery.

Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety. They feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and deadening egalitarianism of radical systems. For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality. The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law; all other attempts at levelling must lead, at best, to social stagnation. Society requires honest and able leadership; and if natural and institutional differences are destroyed, presently some tyrant or host of squalid oligarchs will create new forms of inequality.

Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability. Human nature suffers irremediably from certain grave faults, the conservatives know. Man being imperfect, no perfect social order ever can be created. Because of human restlessness, mankind would grow rebellious under any utopian domination, and would break out once more in violent discontent—or else expire of boredom. To seek for utopia is to end in disaster, the conservative says: we are not made for perfect things. All that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society, in which some evils, maladjustments, and suffering will continue to lurk. By proper attention to prudent reform, we may preserve and improve this tolerable order. But if the old institutional and moral safeguards of a nation are neglected, then the anarchic impulse in humankind breaks loose: “the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” The ideologues who promise the perfection of man and society have converted a great part of the twentieth-century world into a terrestrial hell.

Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked. Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Upon the foundation of private property, great civilizations are built. The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth. Economic levelling, conservatives maintain, is not economic progress. Getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence; but a sound economic basis for the person, the family, and the commonwealth is much to be desired.

Sir Henry Maine, in his Village Communities, puts strongly the case for private property, as distinguished from communal property: “Nobody is at liberty to attack several property and to say at the same time that he values civilization. The history of the two cannot be disentangled.” For the institution of several property—that is, private property—has been a powerful instrument for teaching men and women responsibility, for providing motives to integrity, for supporting general culture, for raising mankind above the level of mere drudgery, for affording leisure to think and freedom to act. To be able to retain the fruits of one’s labor; to be able to see one’s work made permanent; to be able to bequeath one’s property to one’s posterity; to be able to rise from the natural condition of grinding poverty to the security of enduring accomplishment; to have something that is really one’s own—these are advantages difficult to deny. The conservative acknowledges that the possession of property fixes certain duties upon the possessor; he accepts those moral and legal obligations cheerfully.

Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism. Although Americans have been attached strongly to privacy and private rights, they also have been a people conspicuous for a successful spirit of community. In a genuine community, the decisions most directly affecting the lives of citizens are made locally and voluntarily. Some of these functions are carried out by local political bodies, others by private associations: so long as they are kept local, and are marked by the general agreement of those affected, they constitute healthy community. But when these functions pass by default or usurpation to centralized authority, then community is in serious danger. Whatever is beneficent and prudent in modern democracy is made possible through cooperative volition. If, then, in the name of an abstract Democracy, the functions of community are transferred to distant political direction—why, real government by the consent of the governed gives way to a standardizing process hostile to freedom and human dignity.

For a nation is no stronger than the numerous little communities of which it is composed. A central administration, or a corps of select managers and civil servants, however well intentioned and well trained, cannot confer justice and prosperity and tranquility upon a mass of men and women deprived of their old responsibilities. That experiment has been made before; and it has been disastrous. It is the performance of our duties in community that teaches us prudence and efficiency and charity.

Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions. Politically speaking, power is the ability to do as one likes, regardless of the wills of one’s fellows. A state in which an individual or a small group are able to dominate the wills of their fellows without check is a despotism, whether it is called monarchical or aristocratic or democratic. When every person claims to be a power unto himself, then society falls into anarchy. Anarchy never lasts long, being intolerable for everyone, and contrary to the ineluctable fact that some persons are more strong and more clever than their neighbors. To anarchy there succeeds tyranny or oligarchy, in which power is monopolized by a very few.

The conservative endeavors to so limit and balance political power that anarchy or tyranny may not arise. In every age, nevertheless, men and women are tempted to overthrow the limitations upon power, for the sake of some fancied temporary advantage. It is characteristic of the radical that he thinks of power as a force for good—so long as the power falls into his hands. In the name of liberty, the French and Russian revolutionaries abolished the old restraints upon power; but power cannot be abolished; it always finds its way into someone’s hands. That power which the revolutionaries had thought oppressive in the hands of the old regime became many times as tyrannical in the hands of the radical new masters of the state.

Knowing human nature for a mixture of good and evil, the conservative does not put his trust in mere benevolence. Constitutional restrictions, political checks and balances, adequate enforcement of the laws, the old intricate web of restraints upon will and appetite—these the conservative approves as instruments of freedom and order. A just government maintains a healthy tension between the claims of authority and the claims of liberty.

Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society. The conservative is not opposed to social improvement, although he doubts whether there is any such force as a mystical Progress, with a Roman P, at work in the world. When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects. The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate.

Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

Change is essential to the body social, the conservative reasons, just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceased to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.

Such, then, are ten principles that have loomed large during the two centuries of modern conservative thought. Other principles of equal importance might have been discussed here: the conservative understanding of justice, for one, or the conservative view of education. But such subjects, time running on, I must leave to your private investigation.

The great line of demarcation in modern politics, Eric Voegelin used to point out, is not a division between liberals on one side and totalitarians on the other. No, on one side of that line are all those men and women who fancy that the temporal order is the only order, and that material needs are their only needs, and that they may do as they like with the human patrimony. On the other side of that line are all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal.

12 posted on 09/23/2010 2:41:31 PM PDT by valiant4thetruth
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To: Nosterrex; valiant4thetruth
As much as I respect John Adams, his comments on ideology are nonsensical. Adams was one of the biggest ideologues in American history. He was such an ideologue that he almost cost us the support of France. We all hold to absolute ideologies.

The difference between conservative politics and ideology as understood by Adams and others back then is that conservative politics have been developed over centuries experience with man and government as they actually are and attempt to provide a framework of government in which the worst of both government and human nature are restrained so that the best of human nature--inventiveness, education, cooperation, the invention of private property, self-interest in creating and profiting by a multitude of industries and other activities--has the liberty to be maximally expressed.

Ideology in those days, unlike today where it's usually used to mean "a political idea, especially a partisan one that you really, really believe in," (as you appear to have used it above) referred to a political program designed from first principles, as defined by the innovator, whereby the contentless and malleable masses of humanity may be organized toward the ends chosen by the innovator. Conservative politics recognized the existence of a real human nature expressed over a wide range of intelligence and stupidity, enterprise and sloth, self-sacrifice and opportunism that had to be taken into account in devising a political system. Ideology treated human nature as a mere accident of circumstance and the ideological innovator as the one who, with sufficient power, could redefine the circumstance and make the masses into whatever he wanted them to be.

I believe it was Adams who described ideology as "the science of plumbing the depths of idiocy."
13 posted on 09/23/2010 3:09:39 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: aruanan
I think that is well spoken and a well reasoned reply
I have to say this essay from Russel Kirks the politics of Prudence makes more sense to me than anything else I have heard or read on “Ideology”
According to pages 1ff of the prologue of this book

we see Adams quotes and Jefferson's the guy who wrote this book agrees with Jefferson's interpretation ,I like Adams better
I wish I could copy and post from that book but the format wont let me ,though I think it is valuable information ,I would type it but I really am a little keyboard challenged.

just trying to understand
Thanks Rick Sheehan

14 posted on 09/23/2010 5:15:39 PM PDT by valiant4thetruth
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To: valiant4thetruth
You will probably like this link:

The Online Library of Liberty.
15 posted on 09/23/2010 10:35:52 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: valiant4thetruth
You will probably like this link:

The Online Library of Liberty. Oh, wow. These Discourses on Davila by Adams are amazing. Here is how the editors of the volume described it:
The maxims inculcated in these Discourses are calculated to secure virtue, by laying a restraint upon vice; to give vigor and durability to the tree of liberty, by pruning its excrescences; and to guard it against the tempest of faction, by the protection of a firm and well-balanced government.

Adams remarked that, in any society anywhere in the world at any time in history, a principal characteristic of human nature is the passion for distinction, the ability of one man to set himself apart from the others:
This passion, while it is simply a desire to excel another, by fair industry in the search of truth, and the practice of virtue, is properly called Emulation. When it aims at power, as a means of distinction, it is Ambition. When it is in a situation to suggest the sentiments of fear and apprehension, that another, who is now inferior, will become superior, it is denominated Jealousy. When it is in a state of mortification, at the superiority of another, and desires to bring him down to our level, or to depress him below us, it is properly called Envy. When it deceives a man into a belief of false professions of esteem or admiration, or into a false opinion of his importance in the judgment of the world, it is Vanity. These observations alone would be sufficient to show, that this propensity, in all its branches, is a principal source of the virtues and vices, the happiness and misery of human life; and that the history of mankind is little more than a simple narration of its operation and effects.

There is in human nature, it is true, simple Benevolence, or an affection for the good of others; but alone it is not a balance for the selfish affections. Nature then has kindly added to benevolence, the desire of reputation, in order to make us good members of society. Spectemur agendo expresses the great principle of activity for the good of others. Nature has sanctioned the law of self-preservation by rewards and punishments. The rewards of selfish activity are life and health; the punishments of negligence and indolence are want, disease, and death. Each individual, it is true, should consider, that nature has enjoined the same law on his neighbor, and therefore a respect for the authority of nature would oblige him to respect the rights of others as much as his own. But reasoning as abstruse, though as simple as this, would not occur to all men. The same nature therefore has imposed another law, that of promoting the good, as well as respecting the rights of mankind, and has sanctioned it by other rewards and punishments. The rewards in this case, in this life, are esteem and admiration of others; the punishments are neglect and contempt; nor may any one imagine that these are not as real as the others. The desire of the esteem of others is as real a want of nature as hunger; and the neglect and contempt of the world as severe a pain as the gout or stone. It sooner and oftener produces despair, and a detestation of existence; of equal importance to individuals, to families, and to nations. It is a principal end of government to regulate this passion, which in its turn becomes a principal means of government. It is the only adequate instrument of order and subordination in society, and alone commands effectual obedience to laws, since without it neither human reason, nor standing armies, would ever produce that great effect. Every personal quality, and every blessing of fortune, is cherished in proportion to its capacity of gratifying this universal affection for the esteem, the sympathy, admiration and congratulations of the public.
--John Adams, Discourses on Davila, II, paragraphs 3 & 4.

Man! When you put something like this against the vapid posturings of Barack Obama, you really see how far political discourse has degenerated.
16 posted on 09/23/2010 10:57:08 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: valiant4thetruth

Why don’t you pick one up and smoke it sometime?

- - - - -Edie Adams

17 posted on 09/23/2010 11:05:54 PM PDT by upsdriver (The revolution begins on Nov. 2 to take back our country. The American people vs the ruling elite.)
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To: upsdriver
Edie Adams - Muriel Cigars Commerical from the 60's
18 posted on 09/23/2010 11:37:45 PM PDT by Stentor ( "All cults of personality begin as high drama and end as low comedy.")
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To: Borges; Nosterrex
Ideology is any fixed set of beliefs. Everyone has one.

Not so. Few people have fixed sets of beliefs. And you're substituting a modern over-generalization for Adams's specific use in its historical context. Ideology came from France. It was the rejection of principles of social organization based on experience and tradition and was the belief that society could better be organized through government control based on what ideologists believed were rational principles derived from "natural law."

This is why Adams described ideology as "...the theory, the art, the skill of diving and sinking in government." (The Works of John Adams page 402) He said the practice was bottomless--small wonder, then, that he and other Founders sought to put such strict limits on the federal government through the Constitution. And it's sort of funny, considering the use of "idiocracy" by the Left, that it was John Adams, back in 1814, who said, "It may be modestly suggested to the Emperor, to coin another word in his new mint, in conformity or analogy with Ideology, and call every constitution of government in France, from 1789 to 1799, an IDEOCRACY."
19 posted on 08/31/2012 2:48:14 AM PDT by aruanan
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