Many would argue that a more balanced way of viewing ideologies is not to think of them so much as some kind of implanted 'false consciousness' but as embedded ideas that provide our everyday habits of thought - those that 'shape' how we think and act as we go about our day-to-day lives. To point the finger at, say, politicians or those in power for the existence of ideologies is, for some people, not fair.
  • Maybe we are all just rather too trusting or even lazy-minded, accepting so easily thoughts that others hold. Perhaps, instead of pointing the finger at those in power, we should blame ourselves and learn to think more analytically and critically?

Ideologies can certainly be said to shape and guide how we should think and act in what, if we were pressed to describe it, we might term 'this, the best possible of all worlds'. They are the unquestioned habits of thought that act to convince us that we live in a good society... a fair society..., a liberal-minded society..., an advanced and progressive society... and so on.

Ideology, in this sense, is not so much a 'manipulation of our consciousness' by those who are in power and intent on hanging onto their power, but something that thrives 'beneath' our consciousness, in a kind of 'taken-for-granted' way. Looked at like this, it's not so much that we are having the 'wool pulled over our eyes' as being brought to take some things for granted - as being so utterly self-evident and obvious that we don't need to reflect and question their truth, their source or who they benefit.

Of course, this, too, is worrying. It suggests that ideologies can prevent us from recognising what is truthful, or what is right and what is wrong with our society. Not being able to question what kind of world our thoughts and actions create or allow, or which sections of society such ways of thinking serve best, cannot be a recipe for a fairer society, surely?

If we can only ever see through a kind of 'ideological smoke screen', maybe it's worth asking who, if anyone, might be stoking the fire...

Common sense?