The difference between ideology and political ideology

I have been confused in recent years about this whole issue of ideology. You see, I studied under some fairly ideologically driven professors in university – of the right wing variety – and for me it was absolutely clear where they stood on issues. It didn’t matter the issue. If the question was about personal relationships, it would be answered through a specific lense that viewed the world in a specific way.

That, rightly or wrongly, is ideology. It’s the belief that the world operates in a certain way and if we looked at the world and interpreted things through this ‘lense’ things would operate much better.

For example, my professors believed that poverty was actually nurtured by government.

Now, this blog is not about ideology and I was skeptical then and am skeptical now about any ideology that believes there is no place for collective action.

No, I am more interested in political ideology these days.

Take Brent Taylor – the Tory then CoR then Tory – now political commentator. He, one would have thought in the old days, would have been a staunch defender of the ‘right’. Now, he argues on and on about the need for more Equalization, more government, etc. He sounds very much like a Liberal commentator these days. Why? Maybe it’s because his party is now left of centre.

I have long been confused about Premier Lord and his government’s ideological positioning. He once described himself as ‘socially progressive’ and ‘fiscally conservative’. Well, after a 40% rise in government spending – on a declining population – there is very little evidence of ‘fiscal conservativism’. And his leading the charge for more Equalization – that can’t be considered overly ‘conservative’.

This extends to the media as well. Al Hogan, many people have described to me, is a ‘right wing zealot’. I have heard this from former journalists in his shop. But when defending the left wing actions of the current government, he is just as strident. Once again, it would seem that there is a difference between ideology and political ideology.

I realize that political realities dictate how a government must act. I know that PM Harper, for example, has to swallow hard when he does things that go against the grain for political purposes.

But why the media (i.e Al Hogan) and political commentators (i.e. Brent Taylor) should drop their ideological beliefs on an ad hoc basis to provide support for specific government action is hard to understand.

For better or worse, I prefer ideological consistency among non-politicians – because at least what you see is what you get – and for the pols, I understand ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Check out Al Hogan’s We Say today. It is another one of those editorials that literally looks like it was penned in the Premier’s Office. I’m not kidding. Someday, someone is going to spill the beans on the cozy little relationship between the PO and Al Hogan. Someday.

Here’s a quote:

Premier Bernard Lord has made no secret of the fact he thinks fixed elections every four years are a desirable thing and he has, in the spirit of that belief, actually stated well in advance that he intends to go to the polls next fall when four years for his government are up. Meanwhile, he intends to focus on the business of the province, including a pending package on electoral reform that is likely to establish fixed election dates.

Now, if you are the editor of an unbiased newspaper and you are writing about the gridlock in the Legislature, would you slip in the ‘he intends to focus on the business of the province’ into your editorial?

I mean it. This was either penned in Fredericton or all but penned in Fredericton.

One day, we’ll know…