IDEOLOGY: I think; therefore, I am. vs BIOLOGY: I am; therefore, I think.
Ideology is fundamentally the study of ideas. That’s its etymology.
A major ideology of the past few hundred years, is, since about 125 years ago, that of Karl Marx’s communism. Very simply, his ideology was that there is good and evil in the world. Good social/material/scientific ideas win over bad ones, and that is called dialectal materialism. He also saw society as a binary split, with oppressors the bad and the oppressed as, well, if not the good, then the vulnerable, being taken advantage of by the bad. His idea was that the oppressed, called the workers or the proletariat, would spontaneously revolt against the bad/oppressors to form a dictatorship, the dictatorship of the proletariat.
This seemed to have worked in Russia, as World War I weakened society, allowing for its undoing and reformation by violent revolution. It worked in China, too, as World War II provided essentially the same opportunity. However, as this might not happen all that spontaneously, he advanced the tactic of active violent revolution to undo the present and replace it with that dictatorship. From this followed his idea that there would eventually be democracy and then, finally, a utopia in which there was little if no need for government, as people would just help each other out, instead of taking advantage of others.
But what to do, if there were no such gross disruption and weakening of the social order, allowing or revolution? Well, then, weakening, followed by undoing of what was, and replacing it with a path to peace, socialist — then communist — peace. Various co-ideologues presented tactics, some creating a split society, which would weaken it and thus allow for its undoing and replacement with the communist trajectory.
Italian communist strategist Antonio Gramsci proposed infiltrating all institutions of a society as a means to weakening it. These institutions ranged from entertainment to academic to financial to business to sports to the military to the family and to religion. That is, all pillars upon which a society was built were to be infested and withered down.
A more modern tactical approach is that of Saul Alinsky, a communist thinker of the mid-20th century. His idea, also binary, was that society was divided into the haves and have-nots. He formulated 13 rules or guidelines by which to undo the haves. Today, many of his tactics, along with Gramsci’s are used.
Now, while the above is a recount of what most people know, there is a refinement of perspective that Alinsky could or would not see. That is, there are many people who are haves who support the have-nots at their own expense and that of other haves, i.e. themselves. There were rich dowagers, there were infinitely rich men, and there were others who were not at all have-nots. Yet they supported the undoing of the very societal environment that led to their having.
A superficial explanation is that they are so rich, i.e. they have so much, that they will still have enough, even if the system making for their having is weakened. This seems self-destructive, and it is. Here’s why it happens:
Ideology is really secondary. The explanation involves changing perspectives to the biogenetic one, which is primary. Building on the imperative of life that all species are genetically selected to survive and reproduce, let’s look at us humans. Our genetics formed our brains, which formed our minds, which form our ideology.
Basically — genetically — we survive by gathering food and other essential resources from the environment. When we reproduce, we do so in a nest, where our very vulnerable offspring are born and raised. The primary manifestation of survival is for the outside the nest (OTN) parent to gather food and other essential resources for the nest, its family. Inside the nest (ITN), the function is primarily reproductive, where the vulnerable offspring must be supported until they are autonomous enough to function as adults. So, there are genetically determined drives to gather food and other essential resources, in humans represented by money. Likewise, inside the nest there is the genetically determined drive to support the vulnerable. Whether or not there is an abundance of survival resources, money, there is a drive to support the vulnerable.
Now, as any parent knows, there are lots of times when the parent gives or otherwise sacrifices some of itself for its offspring, i.e. its vulnerable. This altruism is also genetic, as it appears in species devoid of culture, having only genes to pass from one generation to the next.
So, is the rich dowager or the tech billionaire self-destructive? Yes. Yes, and the drive to do so is strong and persistent, i.e. it is genetically determined. When one has enough for his/her survival, the reproductive function emerges, which includes the drive to support the vulnerable.
Ideology vs Biology. See how they interact?
Alinsky’s haves might have, but they also give. From the rational perspective, this is self-destructive. From the genetic perspective, it is necessary to keep species going.