Isms carry immense power. In the political realm, they are just as likely to create states as they are to destroy them. This is because ideas have the ability to both mobilize and paralyze populations.
In the US, young men and women supposedly put their lives on the line to defend a democratic ideology. Wherever people are unsatisfied with their standing in society, we can trust that some form of protest demanding social and economic change is underway, manifesting through socialist or even fascist calls to action. In more restrictive societies, authoritarianism and totalitarianism seek to identify and eradicate dissent. There, ascribing to a different philosophy can cost you your life.
Thus, ideologies don’t just shape large entities such as governments. They also help individuals recognize the values which are most important to them, and arrange their lives accordingly.
In "Red, Yellow, Green,” Punn Siwabutr introduces us to Thailand’s competing political factions by means of metaphor. The country’s coup-stained past is a testament to the forceful nature of ideology. As Siwabutr’s exposition demonstrates, the active pursuit of certain ideas often comes at the expense of personal comfort and national stability.
Paramesh Karandikar’s piece lays out a strategy for dealing with one of the greatest ideological threats of our time: terrorism. Drawing from a speech that General John Allen gave at NYU last spring, he highlights the different perspectives through which military and government personnel ought to combat groups like ISIS. Karandikar’s analysis is comprehensive, drawing from a myriad of political, scientific, and historical examples.
In “More Than a Knee,” Dunia Habboosh defends the right of professional athletes to use their cultural clout as a means of voicing their political dissatisfaction. In “The Road to Come for Democrats,” Kevin Hanley voices his own dissatisfaction with the Party’s failed attempts to garner public support in the last few years. Looking towards international nuclear policy, Christina Beros analyzes the validity of American exceptionalism.
Rex Hsieh provides readers with a comprehensive outline of the most important economic ideologies that have emerged since the Enlightenment. Julia Imperatore tells us of the economic implications that arise for social scientist researchers given the perception of ideological biases in the field.
Natasha Zaletel examines the age-old worries surrounding scientific progress. When it comes to genetic engineering, how far is too far? “A Small Cut, A Great Divide” offers us a glimpse into the ways we can begin to answer such questions. On the other hand, Reese Hoggans passionately advocates for increased scientific intervention when it comes to matters pertaining to human life.
If there’s anything that crafting this past issue has made clear to us here at The Review, it’s that ideology is essential to our existence. Without belief-systems, societies are bland; without theory, they are shallow. Ideology is what frames human civilization, but disagreement is what enriches it.