The function of ideology is to separate our perception and collective representation of social reality from the facts of that reality. In other words, ideology is a way to apprehend all of social reality within a single cohesive framework by implicitly or subconsciously making certain assumptions. These assumptions are usually false, and when questioned on them directly, we acknowledge them to be false. And yet we cling to ideology anyway.
Philosopher Peter Sloterdijk describes it this way: “they know very well what they are doing, but still, they are doing it.”
Ideology is not the things we do, it is the rationalization put forward to explain or jsutify why we are doing it.
This is their explanation. It is a excellent case study in the operation of ideology.
Our photo editor realized the significance of this historic moment, and published the picture, but in his haste he did not read the “fine print” that accompanied the picture, forbidding any changes. We should not have published the altered picture, and we have conveyed our regrets and apologies to the White House and to the State Department.
The allegations that religious Jews denigrate women or do not respect women in public office, is a malicious slander and libel. The current Secretary of State, the Honorable Hillary R. Clinton, was a Senator representing New York State with great distinction 8 years. She won overwhelming majorities in the Orthodox Jewish communities in her initial campaign in ’00, and when she was re-elected in ’06, because the religious community appreciated her unique capabilities and compassion to all communities. The Jewish religion does not allow for discrimination based on gender, race, etc. We respect all government officials. We even have special prayers for the welfare of our Government and the government leaders, and there is no mention of gender in such prayers.
In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women, which in no way relegates them to a lower status. Publishing a newspaper is a big responsibility, and our policies are guided by a Rabbinical Board. Because of laws of modesty, we are not allowed to publish pictures of women, and we regret if this gives an impression of disparaging to women, which is certainly never our intention. We apologize if this was seen as offensive.
Ideology preserves itself by (a) setting the limits and rules for what is possible in social reality, (b) itself doing something that follows some of the rules but breaks others, implicitly revealing ideology’s internal inconsistency, and (c) casting every attempt to point out flaws in the rules as an attack on the ideology itself.
Note that the statement does not leave open the possibility that the editors of the papers themselves interpreted the rules of their religion incorrectly. Instead, the paper shields itself behind its particular interpretation of Judaism–its ideology. The ideology functions as a bubble, a filter between the ideological community in question and the rest of society. Anything controversial within the bubble amounts to an argument over interpretation of the rules and people’s actions in relation to those rules. But anything passing through that bubble is an action taking by the ideology itself or an attack on that ideology.
Look at the press release, and note the declaration of ideology: “The Jewish religion does not allow for discrimination based on gender, race, etc.” This is not a statement of defense of “the Jewish religion”, because it would not defend against the possibility that the people at the paper may have discriminated in violation of their religion’s rules. So that statement is not a defense. Instead, the statement is put forth as a statement of a fundamental principle of the author’s reality: discrimination based on gender is not possible. It is impossible. Therefore, if you think something done in the name of that religion looks like discrimination, you are wrong. Because it can’t be.
Then, ideology proceeds to do the very thing it said was impossible. “In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women, which in no way relegates them to a lower status.” So discrimination based on gender is not possible under their religion, but that same religion prohibits them from publishing photos based on the gender of the photo’s subject. But that is not discrimination. And calling it discrimination or otherwise making “allegations that religious Jews denigrate women or do not respect women in public office, is a malicious slander and libel.”
So not only do the ideological do what is impermissible under their ideology, they attack you for pointing it out. “They know very well what they are doing, but still, they are doing it.”
There is in fact, no way to argue the point. Any attempt at argument will simple devolve into arguments over definition (“What do you mean by discrimination? What do you mean by modesty?”). But the ideology is impenetrable from the outside. It has to be altered from within, or evacuated.