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Ideology can evolve in strange ways, to the point where evidence and facts are not only irrelevant but are treated with scorn and derision. In its distorted form, its followers adopt rigid fundamentalist positions. Anyone who challenges the groupthink is a heretic, a non-believer.
In the United States for example, the dominant narrative is that its foreign policy is altruistic and based on good intentions. When things go wrong, it’s the people we are trying to help, like those ungrateful Afghans, who mess things up. Domestically the so-called free market takes on near theological trappings. Reality is replaced by fantasies. In parts of U.S. political culture one can see these tendencies on display. It’s weird and dangerous.
Thomas Frank, founding editor of The Baffler magazine, is a columnist for Harper’s. He’s the author of One Market Under God, What’s the Matter with Kansas?, The Wrecking Crew, and Pity the Billionaire.