William Pfaff graced your Op-Ed Page (Sept. 1) with a brilliant global tour of the ethnic clashes that mar the peace in various places. This was to remind us, he says, that there are other, more primal, causes of war that our preoccupation with ideology might tend to make us overlook.
The point is well taken. At the conclusion of the article, however, he defines ideology as the "debasement" of ideas to suit the primal urge to belong to a tribe and to hate those who do not belong.
Ideas unattached to a group seem to get Pfaff's approval, but as soon as a group adopts one, or as soon as a group forms around a set of them, he seems to think debasement has inevitably set in.
There are a considerable number of people who share this idea, this unfavorable judgment, about ideology. Does this mean that the idea has been debased? Would it be a better idea if only Pfaff alone held it so that it did not get contaminated by being more widely believed?