I think it can, but I would appreciate the scrutiny of philosophy buffs on this.
In any philosophy there's always the threat of ideological hijacking. A well-meaning idea can easily turn into Jonestown
, if precautions are not taken to prevent the natural human tendency to create dogma and authoritarian hierarchy. The hijacking can come from inside, as in the case of cults like Jim Jones'. It can come from outside invasion, as in the case of the Republican political party being hijacked by the Christian Right
. It can come from outside adoption of the philosophy as a convenient dogma, as in the case of Stalin's adoption of Marxism
Are all philosophies doomed to this fate? Is there any way to prevent it?
Many philosophies try to prevent such a fate by becoming dogmatic themselves. Religions are prime examples. The Catholic church was invented to establish doctrinal purity. They even tried to be somewhat democratic, voting on particular doctrines such as the trinity. But it was still dogma. And we all know where that lead.
My case in favour of non-dogma anti-dogma comes from a few of sources. The two most prominent are science
. Science has various mechanisms built into it to act as a kind of 'immune system' to identify and bust dogmas, such as peer review and evidence-based reasoning. Open source has useful mechanisms for allowing multiple independent contributors to collaborate even if they might have personal differences of opinion, and to prevent any single group from gaining monopoly on the idea.
I suppose democracy
might be a third example. However, our current democracies have many flaws, and are susceptible to popular whim, which can include dogmas. But maybe there are ideas out there for how to improve democratic procedures (such as voting, legislation, and courts). Can democracy be improved in this way, despite its current flaws? Still, a black guy for president in the US? It's gotta say *something* positive for the potential of democracy to break dogmas (like racism).
I'm interested in this because I'm working on my own philosophy (see What is wonderism?
) which I would like to remain as non-dogmatic as possible. I think I'm on the right track with allying with science and evidence-based reasoning. I'd like to develop a strong 'immune system' for it. I'm inspired by how people like Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond helped develop and promote open source by building a kind of 'immune system' to prevent monopolization of copyright.