One of the most important distinctions we can make during these troubled times is between philosophy and ideology. Philosophy is the search for truth employing the universal human faculty of reason. Therefore, philosophy is for everyone. An ideology, on the other hand, is limited to a set of ideas that does not have a universal scope. Consequently, an ideology is not for everyone, but rather for the relatively few who agree with its tenets. Aristotle, Plato, Aquinas, Maritain, and Gilson are philosophers. Nothing is excluded from their range of thought. Marxism, Freudianism, Darwinism, and Feminism are ideologies. Marx builds his ideology on economics, Freud on psychology, Darwin on biology, Feminism on the female sex. Each of these ideologies is lacking in breadth.
An ideology has a certain claim to respectability because it purports to improve society and culture. Nonetheless, because of its limited purview, it is inherently incompatible, even antagonistic, to philosophy. Black Lives Matter is an ideology that does not extend its concern to black lives in the womb. It joins hands with another ideology, the ideology of choice, that omits any discussion of the moral object of choice. An ideology barricades itself against dialogue with a philosophical viewpoint. In fact, it is often hostile toward philosophy. It is a defense system, not an outreach.
The notion that every human being has inalienable dignity, including the unborn, is anathema to pro-choice ideologues. To say that “white lives matter” is an affront to the BLM movement. Stating the genetic fact that a person who has transgendered is a biological male has been deemed a form of bigotry. Texas Senator Ted Cruz reports that Yale University has been advised not to admit students who believe in traditional marriage. It is increasingly evident that those who support a particular ideology are compelled to defend it at all costs.