By definition of Political Dogmatism we can recognize it as in the following.
Dogmatism is defined as “unfounded positiveness in matters of opinion,” and the “arrogant assertion of opinions as truths”. A dogmatist is “a person who asserts his or her opinions in an arrogant manner”.
Dogmatism is a manifestation of theoretical and/or ideological deficiencies, such as idealism (metaphysics), sectarianism, elitism or followership. It’s a significant obstacle to working class emancipation, which we must identify and comprehend in order to combat it.
Dogmatism is a theory of cognition and personality associated primarily with the work of Milton Rokeach summarized in “The Open and Closed Mind” (1960).
Its focus is upon the organization and structure of both belief and disbelief systems rather than upon their content.
The widely used Dogmatism Scale allows assessment of Rokeach’s major theoretical construct, dogmatism, along a continuum.
High dogmatism (closed-mindedness) is characterized by a relatively closed cognitive system of beliefs organized around a core set of assumptions about authority conceived to be absolute. Low dogmatism (open-mindedness) is characterized by a more open cognitive system of beliefs organized around the assumption that authorities are relative rather than absolute.
Dogmatic individuals are reluctant to seek out new information to refine their views, often skewing political, scientific, and religious discourse in the process. The cognitive drivers of this reluctance are poorly understood.
While authoritarianism was confounded with belief content, particularly orthodox and conservative beliefs, dogmatism was proposed as focusing on the process of belief rather than its content.
Dogmatism has seldom been found to be linked to liberal or heterodox religious beliefs.
The Dogmatism and Opinionation scales, by definition, a measure of (a) openness-closedness of cognitive systems, (b) general authoritarianism, and (c) general intolerance.
The Opinionation scale was designed to measure only c above, namely, the extent to which there is intolerance or qualified tolerance toward others according to whether others disagree or agree with our own beliefs. Furthermore, the Opinionation scale is so constructed so that it is possible to obtain measures of left and right opinionation as well as total opinionation
Dogmatism is from the word dogma that was translated in the 17th century from Latin dogma meaning “philosophical tenet” or principle, derived from the Greek dogma (δόγμα) meaning literally “that which one thinks is true” and the verb dokein, “to seem good”.
Formally, the term dogma has been used by some theistic religious groups to describe the body of positions forming the group’s most central, foundational, or essential beliefs, though the term may also be used to refer to the entire set of formal beliefs identified by a theistic or non-theistic religious group.
It’s found in the form of an official system of principles or doctrines of a religion, such as Roman Catholicism, Judaism, or Protestantism, as well as the positions of a philosopher or of a philosophical school such as Stoicism.
It may also be found in political belief systems, such as communism, progressivism, liberalism and conservatism.
As in dogmatism of politics, we can define it this way, “Politics is the mind-killer.” – Eliezer Yudkowsky
Let’s face these facts: Your mind is similar to a computer.
Your brain is the hardware, your worldview the software. The operating system you’re running is heavily influenced by your culture, upbringing, education, and many other factors.
Arguably, a well-functioning mind is a mind that can update its operating system. As new information comes in, a healthy mind will revise its previous conclusions about the world to account for the new data.
The smartest people in the world do this: They’re constantly reading, tinkering, experimenting, and in the process updating their understanding of the world.
After all, the more accurate your models are, the better decisions you’ll make, and the more success you’ll have.
This holds true in virtually every area of life. As the renowned economist John Maynard Keynes put it: “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”
Armed with this understanding, we can see that an unhealthy mind is a mind that does not or cannot update itself.
Instead of expanding and revising its models to reflect new information, it will warp and misshape the data to force-fit its existing models.
This problem is captured nicely by a favorite folk saying of the brilliant billionaire investor, Charlie Munger: “To the man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”
What causes a mind to misfire in this way?
In a word: dogma: Absolute belief of any kind.
Dogmatic ideologies – religious, political, or otherwise – are essentially trying to convince your mind to freeze into a certain shape and remain that way for the rest of your life.
Political malware is far from the only form of dogma-malware lurking in the world today, but it’s sufficiently common that it should be a useful case to focus on and learn to recognize. And, naturally, many of these points can be extended to other domains.
- Inability to explain the arguments or evidence that led to current conclusions.
- Never says, “I don’t have an opinion on this because I haven’t done enough research and thinking on it.”
- Treats affiliation like a badge of honor.
- Views don’t change over time.
- Quickly becomes hostile in political conversations.
- Absolute faith in the correctness of their own views.
- Displays an “If you disagree with me, you must be my enemy” mentality.
- All viewpoints are identical to those of a single political camp.
Humanity currently finds itself in the midst of unprecedented global changes. In such complex and unpredictable times, we surely need to be adaptable and open to good ideas, wherever they may come from. We are gaining the technological power of gods, but without the wisdom and care of gods to accompany this power, we are likely to wield it in disastrous ways.
Gaining the wisdom and care of gods begins with each of us: with our individual decisions to activate our minds – to actively pursue greater knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.
When knowledge is scarce, it is adaptive to seek further information to resolve uncertainty and obtain a more accurate worldview. Biases in such information-seeking behavior can contribute to the maintenance of inaccurate views.
A never-ending flow of informational choices is a defining feature of modernity. We are in charge of gathering information critical to our health, the survival of democracies, or the conservation of the planet.
In everyday situations, both motivational influences and failures in uncertainty-guided information search can lead to biased or inaccurate beliefs, albeit via distinct mechanisms.
For example, a person who does not believe in climate change is likely to show a preference for media that refutes its occurrence, reinforcing preexisting beliefs. Alternatively, people with doubts about the science of global warming might fail to act on this uncertainty, and as a consequence not seek out further, potentially corrective evidence.
In both of these cases, an unwillingness to seek out corrective information is one potential source of dogmatism, a worldview that involves a rigid maintenance of one’s beliefs regardless of their accuracy.
Dogmatic intolerance – defined as a tendency to reject, and consider as inferior, any ideological belief that differs from one’s own – is often assumed to be more prominent at the political right than at the political left.
Perhaps the best known research on dogmatism reported is Rokeach’s in “The Open and Closed Mind” (1960).
He argued that prejudice and intolerance are a result of closed belief systems that ward off threats by limiting the scope of accepted beliefs and rejecting all challenges.
Like Adorno et al., Rokeach developed a measure of dogmatism based on the same methodology of agree–disagree attitude statements. His dogmatism measure was also constructed of a diverse range of statements designed to reflect the various elements of open and closed belief systems.
The philosophical psychology of the Middle Ages was metaphysical and also deductive. The changeability of the soul and of the world were interpreted philosophically as an inevitable but inferior property of the unchangeable, and consequently Christian dogmatism and neo-Platonism showed less interest in the experience of psychological interaction.
As increasingly extremist forms of religion directly attack gender equality and reproductive and sexual freedoms, secularity and laicité has gradually gained an aura of either a lost golden age, or a key pathway to overcome the threats of dogmatism.
We must be cautious with this schematic division locating religion on the side of gender domination and sexual repression and secularity as the realm of gender equality and sexual freedom and nondiscrimination.
The separation between state and church were not as sharp and clear as suggested and both in the past and today secular states institutions and norms have curtailed and continue to curtail reproductive and sexual autonomy, either because they remained influenced by religious views, or because they are informed by strictly secular, in fact, scientific rationales of control and discipline.
The criminalization of abortion may be impregnated with religious morality, but it has well-served states’ natalist objectives. Sodomy laws were much more about the secular morality of the male bourgeois and colonizer and scientific notions of sexual deviance than about sin. The sexual ideologies of communist states where secularity was compulsory were not exactly liberal.
In his book, The Nature of Prejudice, Gordon Allport (1954) described the kind of personality that would be generally prejudiced against out-groups and minorities, which closely followed Adorno et al.’s (1950) nine surface traits of their authoritarian personality.
The personal insecurity and fearfulness, he suggested, would cause authoritarian personalities to need structure, order, and control in their social environments and to react with punitive hostility to social change, deviance from convention, and novelty.
Dogmatists are typically viewed as having unchangeable views. The natural human reaction is to resist new information, because it might require us to (a) alter the perceptions to which we are accustomed, and (b) accept the fact that we may be ignorant about issues we thought we understood.
With this in mind, it should be obvious that we all need to routinely go through the pain associated with doubting our cherished beliefs and dogmas; it is the only healthy way to learn and grow.
Unfortunately, in recent years, a sophisticatedly insidious variety of ACA styled dogmatism has emerged in the name of science and philosophy, in these terms: Epicureanism, Stoicism and Pyrrhonism.
Liberalism and conservatism are both tendencies of dogmatism. In the final analysis, dogmatism is a metaphysical (idealist) way of thinking that serves the interests of the class or classes that dominate society.
Revolutionary and progressive militants and movements must constantly struggle against dogmatism. Dogmatism is a manifestation of capitalist ideological domination, a mode of thinking of and for the capitalist class, and serves nothing but the reproduction and the continued valorization of capital.
Dialectical materialism is crucial for the victory of proletarian struggle, or at least to allow history to advance in the interest of the masses. It is, by far, the most advanced revolutionary method of interpreting objective reality.
This is far beyond every democratic principle. Democracy is not an ideology in the old sense. It is a dogma. The distinction between ideology and dogma is worth bearing in mind. Ideology tries to master the historical forces shaping society by first understanding them.
The grand ideologies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries did just that, and much too well; since they were intellectually “totalizing,” they countenanced political totalitarianism. Our democracy operates differently: it is supremely dogmatic, and like every dogma it sanctions ignorance about the world, and therefore blinds adherents to its effects in that world
Democrats dogmatic simplicity explains why people who otherwise share little can subscribe to it: small-government fundamentalists on the American right, anarchists on the European and Latin American left, democratization prophets, civil liberties absolutists, human rights crusaders, neoliberal growth evangelists, rogue hackers, gun fanatics, porn manufacturers, and Chicago School economists the world over.
The dogma that unites them is implicit and does not require explication; it is a mentality, a mood, a presumption – what used to be called, non-pejoratively, a prejudice.
Democracy is about self-determination, collective and individual; and until now modern constitutional democracies have developed only within the context of sovereign nation-states.
There is a reason for this.
The nation-state represents a compromise of sorts between the politics of empire and the politics of the village: it is large enough to encourage people to think beyond their local interests, but not so large that they feel they have no control over their lives. It provides a clearly demarcated arena of political contestation and collective action by citizens who identify with it, and gives them the means of calling governments to account.
The world we are making with our hands is as remote from our minds as the farthest black hole. Once we had nostalgia for the future. Today we have an amnesia for the present.
The paradox of democracy balances the principle of majority rule against the principle of individual liberty.
The plausibility of Entitlement should cast doubt not only on the defeat solution, but on an assumption that has often been taken for granted: the falsity of the dogmatist conclusion of the original puzzle.
An open and listening discussion is the foundation of every great debate. In this scenario the conclusion must be that we face a dilemma between giving up Entitlement and living with dogmatism – or we have to practice our democracy.