The ideologue . . . thinks of politics as a revolutionary instrument for
transforming society and even transforming human nature.
The word ideology was coined in Napoleonic times. Destutt de Tracy, the author
of Les éléments d’idéologie (five volumes, 1801-15), was an abstract intellectual
of the sort since grown familiar on the Left Bank of the Seine, the haunt of all
budding ideologues, among them in recent decades the famous liberator of
Democratic Kampuchea, Pol Pot.
Although it has been the most powerful of ideologies, Marxism—very recently
diminished in strength—has competitors: various forms of nationalism, negritude,
feminism, fascism (a quasi-ideology never fully fleshed out in Italy), nazism (an
ideology in embryo, Hannah Arendt wrote), syndicalism, anarchism, social
democracy, and Lord knows what all. Doubtless yet more forms of ideology will
be concocted during the twenty-first century. - Russel Kirk