Ideology and Literature: Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance (1852) and Dick’s VALIS (1981):
...The New Arcadians see themselves as a community of the morally pure, who must avoid contamination by the wicked external society. Culturally, if not politically, such a Puritanical vision of existence can fairly lay claim to being the founding vision of North American settlement, and probably more for worse than for better. One might hazard the hypothesis, indeed, that the social history of the United States consists in the regular recrudescence of an original Puritanism, which the rational politics of the Founding Fathers could never fully assimilate or suppress.
In Hollingsworth, Hawthorne has bodied forth the Satanic logic of puritanical doctrines, hence also of ideology, in simple. The existing radicalism always appears to someone among its late-arriving devotees as insufficiently radical; and its Puritanism appears as insufficiently pure.
Whenever the true believers gain power over others, as they sometimes do in cults and even in states, or when they establish themselves as the elites in a society, they act imperiously to suppress any articulation of the actual reality and they propagandize inveterately to impose their second reality. The term ideology refers to this simultaneous war on reality and campaign for unreality. Aware that ideology demands the surrender of common sense, of genuine subject-hood, and of one’s right to traffic in values and opinions as one sees fit, Dick has Fat sum up the nihilistic trend in the trope of the Black Iron Prison, whose other name is “Empire.” The Prison traps the individual in the system of lies, willingly adopted, that shields the frightened subject from the openness and unpredictability of existence. In the falsehood, not in reality, originates “entropy, undeserved suffering, chaos and death”; falsehood entails “the aborting of… proper growth and health.” In its character, falsehood is “deranged… tormented, humiliated” and its functions are “blind, mechanical, purposeless… processes.” Ideology is Ananke, dictatorial command, and its opposite principle is Logos, reason, openness, and love of truth for its own sake.
The Western Continuum exhibits a curious split, which Hawthorne and Dick have noted. From Plato, the Prophets, and the Gospel, it has inherited its acknowledgment of reality and aversion to ritual, coercion, and resentment. The market, which depends on truth as much as it depends on reciprocity, is an outgrowth of these things. This compounded “reality principle” seems to have inspired, from its beginning, an opposite “unreality principle” devoted to the cherishing, finally, of nothing, but rather to vilifying what its devotees see as the Trinity of Oppression – Philosophy, Judeo-Christian Ethics, and the Market. In the late Twentieth Century and in the incipient Twenty-First century, the characterless advocates of unreality have captured and perverted the institutions. They are now using the institutions to insist that we share their delusions.
Almost all Western governments now exhibit certain common, antinomian traits. They pontificate ceaselessly. They are averse to standing custom and local habit; they mistrust free transactions and lie in wait for opportunities to interfere in commerce and free trade. Judaism and Christianity irritate them and they seek to repress the symbols of those faiths while making common cause with dubious faiths hostile to Judaism and Christianity.