Ideological protectionism

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Ideological protectionism is an expression of ideological loyalty in which a set of beliefs is protected, by various means, from any form of attack, whether manipulative or honest and accurate.

Typical protection methodologies include:

  • banning books and other works which openly discuss ideas that contradict protected beliefs, or cast them in a non-negative light
  • punishing individuals who show any indication of honestly considering alternative beliefs
  • labeling alternative beliefs as bad, harmful, corrupt, etc.

It is an essential component of right-wing or "legalistic" religious philosophy, which holds that "faith" (i.e. various forms of "revealed truth" from sanctioned sources) is better than observation at discerning truth in matters of fact. This results in the members having a set of fixed beliefs, each of which generally falls into one of two categories:

  • beliefs that are in accordance with secular understanding, and therefore not in need of protection
  • beliefs that are at odds with secular understanding, and which must therefore be vigorously protected.

The latter group of beliefs tend to become defining elements of religious membership, i.e. shibboleths.

vs. Science

Most belief systems include some degree of ideological protectionism; the only system which actively opposes protectionism is science, whose essence might be defined as "the belief that questioning beliefs is always acceptable and should be encouraged". For this reason, closed belief systems tend to be anti-science or at least take the position that religious beliefs should be "off limits" to scientific examination (the "separate magesteria" argument).


  • Epistemic closure is a tool for ideological protectionism.
  • Racism is an application of ideological protectionism in which pre-existing prejudices are nurtured and protected from criticism rather than being exposed to experiences and facts which would gradually reduce or eliminate them.