Revealing Ideology at Work Through Conceptual Analysis
People often have trouble differentiating ideological and nonideological uses of words. They are then unable to use the following words in a nonloaded way: capitalism, socialism, communism, democracy, oligarchy, plutocracy, patriotism, terrorism. Let's look at this case in greater detail.
When the above words are used ideologically, they are applied inconsistently and one-sidedly. The root meaning of the word is often lost, or highly distorted, while the word is used to put a positive or negative gloss on events, obscuring what is really going on. Hence, in countries in which the reigning ideology extols capitalism, the ideologies of socialism and communism are demonized, democracy is equated with capitalism, and plutocracy is ignored. In countries in which the reigning ideology is communism, the ideology of capitalism is demonized, democracy is equated with communism, and oligarchy is ignored. The groups called "terrorists" by some are called patriots by the others.
If we examine the core meanings of these words and use them in keeping with the core meanings they have in the English language, we can recognize contradictions, inconsistencies, and hypocrisy when any group misuses them to advance its agenda. Let us review the core meanings of these terms as defined by Webster's New World Dictionary:
To this day, countries in which the reigning ideology is capitalism tend to use the words socialism and communism as if they meant "a system that discourages individual incentive and denies freedom to the mass of people." Countries in which the reigning ideology is socialism or communism, in their turn, tend to use the word capitalism to imply the exploitation of the masses by the wealthy few. Both see the use of force of the other as terrorist in intent. Both see the other as denying its own members fundamental human rights. Both tend to ignore their own inconsistencies and hypocrisy.