The death of false ideologies

All false ideologies bring about their own destruction. There is no need to worry about feminism, communism, jihadist fundamentalism, and whatever other misguided ism “taking over” the world and becoming the status quo. Each new person subjected to the ideology is also subject to the following equation:

Acceptance of the ideology = coherence of the ideology’s principles with the person’s understanding of the world + effects of the ideology on the person’s life

False ideologies make at least some arguments, claims and predictions that clash with a person’s understanding of the world. False ideologies also bring about at least some situations in which injustice and evil prevail. And these two serve to distance some people from the ideology, so that they will not take it seriously.

Most false ideologies cannot survive multiple generations of humans. The older generation may have been fertile ground for the growth and practice of the ideology, but the new generation’s response will necessarily be different, if only for the very effects of the ideology itself. The ideology’s success changes the world in which the people live, and thus the new generation grows up in a new world, a world in which the ideology may no longer make sense.

False ideologies spread because of a lack of information, lack of better alternatives, novelty, or geopolitical and economic reasons. But in a world where it is possible to pass down information to the new generation, every day that passes is a new day in which the ideology is challenged by new findings. And in a world ravished by a false ideology, alternatives will necessarily appear better. Geopolitical and economic situations change, and an ideology loses its novelty in a generation or two.

There are those who worry about “true” Islam being lost, among the many misguided sects, and among the many competing ideologies and non-ideologies that abound. Some clever atheists are looking forward to this very thing taking place sooner or later:

They see Islam as an echo of a false and superstitious system and they believe that a day should come when some thing or many things challenge it so hard that it becomes completely impossible to follow the religion with a straight face (as has happened to many Christian sects).

But, assuming for the sake of discussion, that Islam is true (as in everything the Quran says is accurate), it should somehow survive the eternal culling of ideologies. The 20th century was the biggest challenge to Islam, during which it lost many followers and gained many, and the 21st century may be an even bigger challenge (though not necessarily).

If we assume that Islam is true, then the intense challenges it faces are not a bad thing like many preachers and scholars think. They are great news, because it means false versions of Islam will implode sooner or later, and Muslims will slowly, decade by decade, move toward a more unified, more intelligent and more coherent version of Islam. If we bring two different Islamic sects and strip them of their falsehoods, the two may end up as mirrors of each other, and while the older generation may hold on to sectarian divisions, the new generation may see that the two sects are the same for the most part.

An interesting case is that of Shiite Islam in Iran. Iran’s various rulers have used Shiism as a political branding tool to differentiate themselves from the Ottomans and later the Saudis and the Sunni world at large. Shiism shares most of its core with Sunnism, and where it differs, the differences–falsehoods if we assume mainstream Islam is true–were popularized for political branding reasons as mentioned. The modern brand of Shiite Islam achieved supremacy with the 1979 revolution, which is about one generation ago (if we assume a human generation is 28 years), and it is already showing significant signs of weakening and losing heart (hundreds of thousands of people would attend Khumeini’s death anniversaries in Tehran in the past, while now the government has to import attendants from outside the city). One generation has grown up under its supremacy, and many of its members strongly dislike it. Those born to those who dislike the system will also dislike it, since there is little to attract new members to the system, and those born to those who like the system, even if some of them like it, among them many will rise who will dislike it, meaning that about 75% of the second generation may be opposed to the system. The 2020’s will very likely be periods of significant change in Iran.

Apart from religion, another interesting case is feminism, which achieved total political supremacy in the mid-1990’s (of course, feminists will never admit to have achieved supremacy, for the entire ideology is based on the myth of perpetual female victimhood), meaning that 2023 will mark the end of the first generation born and raised under it. Assuming that it is a false ideology, its true test will come after 2023, as the second generation grows up. If it is a false ideology, then it will follow the patterns of the many false ideologies before it, such as Maoism, which achieved supremacy in 1949, and after the end of the first generation in 1977 (the 2023 of feminism and 2007 of Iran’s Shiism), the ideology dissipated and changed so much that it was unrecognizable, and 15 years later (2038 of feminism or 2023 of Iran’s Shiism), China was mostly a capitalist economy with the biggest tenets of the Maoist ideology abandoned.

Back to religion, Christianity started dying hundreds of year ago, though the most significant acceleration of this phenomenon was seen in the 20th century, especially after the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and the rise of feminism. The forces that killed Christianity* are still in effect, so that many children of faithful Christians feel perfectly free to leave the religion. If we call the forces that killed Christianity “modernism” or “post-modernism”, and if we consider modernism’s date of supremacy the same as the date of feminism’s supremacy in the 1990’s, then it should follow the same arc. In 2038 post-modernism may be mostly dead, and its death may enable a new revival of Christianity. However, by then Islam may be a significant player in the West, and it is likely that those who would have gone back to the Christianity of their great-grandfathers will instead embrace Islam, especially if we assume that Islam is true and is an update to Christianity, but even if we don’t.

The new New World Order of 2038 will likely include Islam as the rising star in the West and East above all other ideologies. Christianity and other religions will not necessarily completely die out; there have been Christians, Sabians and Jews living among Muslims in the Middle East for about 15 centuries, and this will likely continue. The version of Islam on that day will not be a Jihadist fundamentalist brainless one, since these ideologies, as false and evil ideologies, cannot survive multiple generations. It will be the version of Islam that has existed for centuries among the devout Muslim middle class everywhere in the world, in Turkey, Egypt, Malaysia and Europe: Just people going about their day doing their best to survive and make the world a better place. They will be doctors, engineers, programmers, writers and singers. Their children will play video games and their women will drive cars and will be respected whether they choose to be housewives or professionals or a bit of both.

But if Islam is a false ideology, the continuing march of science will continue to make it harder to follow with a straight face, and thus it will follow Christianity’s arc of death.

* Though I speak of Christianity’s death, there is a small Christian upper class of intelligent and admirable men who may survive for many centuries to come. “Christianity’s death” refers to the death of its supremacy in the daily affairs of the average man.