Open and Honest Discussion of Any Ideology is the Best Cure

The best cure for what? Getting rid of, or simply limiting the damage of, any ideology that might cause more people harm than good.

Ideology quote on a background of a fireplace with the book cover.

“An ideology held by millions does not die out because of the loss of a war. … In some respects an ideology resembles a religion, in that it is capable of thriving on physical defeat and repression, at least in the core of zealots who embody the moving spirit.”

The Philosophy of Peace by John Somerville

I’ve been looking at this quote for twenty minutes and I keep starting a sentence and then deleting it. It’s complicated for me, putting these thoughts in order, mostly because I’m afraid of being misunderstood.

I don’t understand why people believe they can suppress and destroy a way of thinking. You can’t smother an ideology like a fire. It’s more like bacteria. There are good ones and bad ones, and you can’t really know which until you see how it reacts to interaction and use.

What we can do it give all of them space to be aired out, all of them. We don’t need to agree or act on them.

Ideologies that do more harm than good, typically fall apart in the light of day.

Hidden away, unexplained, unreasoned with, they fester and grow.

All we can do as reasoning adults, is bring everyone’s ideas out in the open, allow everyone to speak their minds and give their sides up for examination and see what happens. That doesn’t mean we’ll end up in a utopia. That doesn’t exist. I don’t believe there is one perfect way of doing things where everyone gets what they need and want, where no one dies, no one does wrong by another. But it will be better in the long run than attempting to suppress and control people.

I love analogies, so here’s another one.

When you contain an explosive you only make the blast more powerful and add shrapnel to spread when it goes off. Allow others the space to speak their ideas, no matter how heinous you believe they are. And remember I said “speak” not “act on.” That’s how we learn from them, that’s how we grow. My ideas, your ideas, their ideas, all in one mixing pot, with no one being forced to accept or adopt anyone else’s ideas. We’re only required to allow others the same space we want for ourselves.

The Philosophy of Peace ended up being more specifically the argument about how the United States’ government was dealing with the USSR after World War II, but there were some great ideas that I believe we can use in any discussion about keeping peace and avoiding war.

I posted about The Philosophy of Peace by John Somerville when I started reading it. Click that link to read the post! I also found a great article about the ideology of peace and war called “Peace, War, and Philosophy” at It was a nice summary of some ideas and led me, once again, down a rabbit warren of new things to read.

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