What are the uses, benefits and risks of ideological reasoning?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The primary use of ideological reasoning is to possess a set of values or beliefs through which we view the world.  Ideological reasoning enables the individual to better understand the world and their place in it by giving them a set of values or beliefs to interpret reality.  The benefits of ideological reasoning are profound.  Ideological reasoning enables the individual to have beliefs, convictions, and to "stand for something."  When one reflects on the greatest human beings in the history of consciousness, there is a good chance that they embodied ideological reasoning.  Individuals who embrace ideological reasoning in its purest form are their values.  They are what they believe and the belief in these ideals helps to give meaning to their place in the world.

For this advantage, an equally persuasive disadvantage is present.  Compile a list of the most destructive individuals in human history.  Regrettably, there is a good chance you will find individuals who embraced their own view of ideological reasoning that enabled their paths to destruction.  Individuals who believe ideological reasoning to an uncompromising degree will do anything for their convictions.  Ideological reasoning has been the basis for some of the worst crimes in human history.

Anything in a form that does not allow for some level of negotiation and modification in a general social setting will probably contain negative elements.  Ideological reasoning is the same way.  Ideological reasoning can enable the individual to achieve greatness and inspire courage in their fellow individuals for it gives purpose and meaning.  Yet, ideological reasoning has to be understood within reason in terms of recognizing that in a heterogeneous social setting, a plurality of ideologies may exist.  In this, ideological reasoning is no longer conviction based.  Rather, the best use for ideological reasoning is when it is constructed as liberal beliefs that should not inhibit the right for other individuals to possess their own value systems.  While this might not be the purest form of ideological reasoning, it is probably the least destructive vision of it.

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