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Political Ideologies

o0 Ideology and politics

o1 Ideology and hegemony

o2 The evolution of ideology

o3 Major modern ideologies

o4 Conservatism

o5 Liberalism

o6 Fascism

o7 Socialism/communism

o8 End of ideology?

Ideology and Politics

Liberal Party of Canada
o9 Web page:

o10 Liberal Party of Canada’s “philosophy”:

o11 “….It is dedicated to the principles that have historically sustained the Party:
individual freedom, responsibility and human dignity in the framework of a just
society, and political freedom in the framework of meaningful participation by all

Progressive Conservative Party

o12 Web Page:

o13 Constitution:
o14 “….a belief in the… supremacy of democratic parliamentary
institutions and the rule of law… A belief in the equality of all
Canadians… in the freedom of the individual…

New Democratic Party (NDP)

o15 Web page:
o16 Mission Statement:…“New Democrats seek fundamental change. We will apply the
resources of government and the strength of cooperation and community to advance our
society toward the goals of equality, social justice and democracy.

Canadian Alliance
o17 Web Page:

o18 Declaration of Policy:

o19 “To satisfy Canadians’ broad aspirations in a world that is changing ever more
rapidly requires striking a careful balance. A balance between particular and common
interests; freedom and responsibility; self-reliance and a clearly defined role for
government; respect for diversity and the need for common values; limited
government and social needs; preservation of our natural heritage and careful use of
our resources; individual rights and the common good.”

Communist Party of Canada

o20 Web page:

o21 The Party Constitution:

o22 The Communist Party of Canada is the Marxist-Leninist party of the working class dedicated to
the cause of socialism. It is a voluntary organization of like-minded people which strives to unite in its
ranks the most politically advanced and active members of the working class and of other sections of
the people exploited by monopoly who are prepared to work for the achievement of working class state
power and the building of a socialist Canada. The Communist Party of Canada has no interests separate
and apart from those of the working class from which it springs.

What do These Concepts Mean?

o23 Freedom
o24 Equality
o25 Social justice
o26 We employ terms like “liberal”, “socialist” and “conservative” to
describe political parties, as well as the policies they advocate and

o27 Ideologies comprise a “political vocabulary” which we use to interpret
and discuss political issues.

o28 “Ideology is one of the most elusive concepts in the social sciences.”
(McLellan, 1986; 1)

o29 Term first coined by Enlightenment French philosopher Destutt de

Tracy (1796) referred to a science of the study of ideas. (literally idea –

o30 “Ideologues” were later blamed by Napoleon for spreading false and
subversive ideas.

“Ideology” as Political Weapon

o31 Often the term ideology has been used as a political weapon
condemning or criticizing a rival set of views or ideas.

o32 Marx argued that his own approach was “scientific” rather than

o33 Conservatives would argue that their approach is “pragmatic” rather

than ideological

Various Definitions of Ideology

o34 The ideas of the ruling class which propagate false interests among the
suppressed classes (Marx)

o35 All embracing doctrines that claim a monopoly of truth and suppresses
opposition in totalitarian regimes (Arendt, Popper)

o36 Sets of ideas that distort political reality by attempting to simplify and
explain politics. (Oakeshott)

Defining “Ideology”
o37 In order to engage in a systematic analysis of ideologies, we need a
definition that is both inclusive and neutral.

o38 Heywood:
o39 “An ideology is a more or less coherent set of ideas that provides the
basis for political action, whether this is intended to preserve, modify or
overthrow the existing system of power.

The Role of Ideas in Politics

o40 Everything has to pass through the mind of the individual before he or
she acts

o41 What people think and believe about society, power, rights, etc.,
determines their actions

o42 Two main concepts about the role of ideas in politics

o43 Political ideology

o44 Political culture

Functions of Ideology
o45 People need an ideology – a coherent set of ideas for purposeful

o46 All ideologies

o47 Offer an account of the existing social order,

o48 Provide the model of a desired future, a vision of the “good society”

o49 Provide people with programs of political action

o50 To uphold the existing power structure (portraying it as fair, natural etc.) or

o51 To challenge it by pointing out its flaws

Four Key Functions of Ideology

o52 Explanatory [Empirical]
o53 Explaining how the world Works
o54 Evaluative [Normative]
o55 Deciding whether things are good or bad

o56 Orientation
o57 Supplying the holder with a sense of identity

o58 Programmatic
o59 Telling people what to do and how to do it

Political Spectrum:
o60 Political ideologies, through opposition, competition, fusion, mixing,
etc.–exist in constant interaction with each other

o61 Together, they form a political spectrum

o62 It is a useful tool of political analysis

Political Spectrum: The Standard Linear Model

Political Spectrum: A Two-dimensional Model

Ideology and Hegemony

Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937)
o63 Antonio Gramsci was an Italian writer and revolutionary

o64 Arrested in 1926, kept in prison 1928 – 1937, where he wrote the Prison

o65 He wondered why working class revolutions failed; why the working classes were
not inclined to revolt, especially in the Western World (America and Europe)

Definition of Hegemony
o66 Gramsci’s answer is hegemony—working classes aspire to (want) what the
middle class has, but the middle class keeps the lower classes in check through media
o67 Hegemony is the way in which one ideology comes to dominate others; it is a
form of social control, a means of symbolic coercion

o68 Control by consent

o69 Resistance to hegemony is also important

Control by Consent
o70 "...Dominant groups in society, including fundamentally but not exclusively the
ruling class, maintain their dominance by securing the 'spontaneous consent' of
subordinate groups, including the working class, through the negotiated construction
of a political and ideological consensus which incorporates both dominant and
dominated groups." (Strinati, 1995: 165)

o71 (source )

Gramsci on Hegemony
o72 The ruling class dominates symbolic production through control over
the ideological sectors of society (culture, religion, education, the media).

o73 This explains the institutional basis of false-consciousness.

o74 Awareness of this can only be achieved with the help of an external

Althusser: Ideological State Apparatuses

o75 Capital-owning classes needed to reproduce the means of production, which
includes a compliant labour force trained in ‘proper’ attitudes.

o76 The ‘ideological state apparatuses’: organised religion, formal education, the
family, the legal system, the media, cultural production

Manufacturing Consent
o77 Video show: “Manufacturing Consent,” Part I “Thought Control in a
Democratic Society”

o78 “When you can't control people by force, you have to control what people think, and
the standard way to do this is via propaganda (manufacture of consent, creation of necessary
illusions), marginalizing the general public or reducing them to apathy of some fashion. —
Noam Chomsky
The Evolution of Ideologies
Changing Ideological Landscape
o79 Ideologies are not static or set in stone.

o80 They respond to political events, as much as they affect political


o81 Early Ideologies

o82 The earliest ideologies were religions.

o83 Many of the earliest rulers in history were priests.

o84 In the Modern Age, political ideologies become increasingly secular (non-religious,
some anti-religious), but religions continue to serve as important sources for ideologies to this

o85 Examples: Christian democracy, Christian socialism, Protestant fundamentalism, Islamic


Development of Modern Ideologies

o86 Classical liberalism rose in the Enlightenment.

o87 Important thinkers:

o88 John Locke

o89 Adam Smith

o90 de Montesquieu

o91 Rousseau

o92 John Stuart Mill

o93 Conservative thought arose in response to the excesses of the French
Revolution of 1789.

o94 Important thinker: Edmund Burke.

o95 In the U.S., conservative thought also blended with classical

o96 In the 19th century, socialism, communism and anarchism were responses to the
economic distresses brought by industrial capitalism.

o97 Important thinkers:

o98 Robert Owen

o99 Charles Fourier

o100 Saint-Simon

o101 Karl Marx

o102 Friedrich Engels

o103 Fascism and its most extreme form, Nazism, developed in the early
20th century as a reaction against the perceived failings of liberalism,
conservatism, socialism and communism.

New Ideologies
o104 New ideologies emerge in response to new needs.

o105 Developing out of (and in reaction to) liberalism in late 20th century
o106 Feminism

o107 Environmentalism

o108 Postmodernism

Class and Ideology

o109 Each major ideology has its main roots in the interests of a certain class, or a
section of a class, or several aligned classes
o110 For instance, in 19th century Europe:
o111 Conservative ideologies were rooted in the interests of landed aristocracy and clergy –
classes losing power as a result of modernization

o112 Liberalism was rooted in the interests of the rising bourgeoisie

o113 Socialism was rooted in the interests of the working classes

o114 The special role of the intellectuals in the production of ideas

Crisis and Ideology

o115 Crises create powerful demand for new ideas
o116 A catastrophe (major war, economic collapse, ecological disaster, famine)

o117 Major deterioration of social conditions

o118 Breakdown of a state

o119 A revolution or a counterrevolution

o120 During the time of crisis, people commit themselves to ideas much more strongly
(become more ideological) than in normal times

Major Ideologies
o121 We cover four ideologies that have dominated modern political life
and thought

o122 Those ideologies have offered comprehensive political worldviews

o123 Other ideologies have not developed into comprehensive systems of
thought -but have had major influence on national and global politics

o124 Due to time restrictions other ideologies are not discussed.

Basic Philosophical Disputes

o125 The differences between ideologies are rooted in basic assumptions about:

o126 Human Nature

o127 ‘Naturally’ good, cooperative, even perfectible
o128 Inherently flawed, evil, dangerous

o129 Individual vs. society:

o130 Which interests come first?

o131 Freedom vs. equality:

o132 ‘Freedom from…’ versus ‘Freedom to…’

o133 How much social inequality is acceptable?

o134 What if the two values clash?

o135 Role of government

o136 Desire for a free, open, tolerant society

o137 Humans as rational and able to recognize and promote self-interest

o138 Liberty and equality of opportunity

o139 Classical Liberalism versus Welfare Liberalism

Absolute Despotism
o140 Before classical liberalism, the dominant idea was that God created political
society, not people.

o141 Monarchs ruled through divine right.

o142 If people suffered under a bad king, it was God’s will.

o143 Disobeying a bad king was a sin; killing a bad king was regicide.

o144 Therefore, people had a duty to accept and obey

Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)

o145 Under conditions of anarchy, humans are born equal.

o146 Cardinal virtues of anarchy: force and fraud.

o147 No property.

o148 No justice.

o149 Only war.

o150 Humans share inborn drive to

o151 Preserve personal liberty;

o152 Dominate others.

o153 Order needed for industry and civilization.

o154 Government is constituted to make order.

o155 Human nature requires authoritarian political orders (monarchy).

John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1690)

o156 Under conditions of anarchy, humans are born equal.

o157 Natural law: People have rights to life, health, liberty and possessions that no
one should harm

o158 Problem: It is left to property owner to defend property.

John Locke, continued

o159 Solution:
o160 To secure their rights, people give up some freedom and form

o161 The people retain their sovereignty, and the government is just a
mechanism to help them.

o162 The individual is superior to the government.

o163 The government’s purpose is to protect rights.

o164 It is a type of contract.

o165 Laissez faire capitalism.

Classic Liberalism on Equality
o166 Their view was that people in the state of nature are equal in their
rights, but not in their talents or their wealth.

o167 Economic inequality is not necessarily unfair, since it is based on

people’s free choices.

o168 Freedom to make choices is a higher value than equality.

Classic Liberalism on Freedom

o169 Negative freedom
o170 Freedom is understood in terms of constraint or restriction

o171 Absence of interference or coercion constitutes freedom.

o172 Individuals are free to do whatever they wish as long as their actions DO NOT:
o173 interfere with the rights of others;

o174 compromise social-political order that makes liberty possible.

Core Assumptions of Classic Liberalism

o175 Liberty and equality are incompatible.
o176 Substantive (or material) equality constrains ability of individuals to accumulate
property; and requires excessive government intervention in private lives.

o177 Society opposes the individual.

o178 Collective existence is inherently limiting to individual autonomy.

o179 Government is a necessary evil to be limited.

o180 Small & limited government is best

Evolution of Liberalism
o181 The result of classic liberalism was laissez faire capitalism.
o182 Terrible economic & social conditions for workers, including children.
o183 Government powerless to act.

o184 Led to rethinking liberalism.

o185 A good society might need more than right procedures.

o186 It also needed certain outcomes.

o187 The philosophy of Utilitarianism emerged.

o188 Governments should pursue policies that create the greatest good (or
utility) for the greatest number of people.

o189 This utility calculation would provide a rational guideline for

government policy.

o190 After utilitarianism, liberalism developed into Modern Liberalism.

Modern Liberalism
o191 Modern liberalism is not fearful of government power.

o192 Instead, government power can be a force for good, limiting the worst
conditions of poverty, illiteracy, racism, exploitation, etc.

o193 Rise of the concept of “positive freedom.”

o194 State should intervene to allow individuals to be “free” from poverty,

disease etc.

o195 Keynesian economics.

Two Types of Freedom

o196 T.H. Green (1836-1882)
o197 Freedom means the ability as well as the right to do something.

o198 Expansive liberty.

o199 Two types of freedom:

o200 Negative freedom: freedom from government intervention (e.g., Bill of

o201 Positive freedom: freedom requires government to intervene in social &

economic spheres (e.g., education, health care, housing)

o202 Libertarian (Hayek, Nozick)

o203 Other labels: “classical liberal” and “conservative.”

o204 Minimal interference by government.

o205 Often mixes social conservatism (hierarchy and values).

o206 Formal equality—equality before the law.

Formal Equality
Humans are Different—Not Equal

Liberalism’s ‘Four Functions’

o207 Explanatory:
o208 Social conditions are the result of individual choices and actions

o209 Evaluative:
o210 Societies work best when individuals are free to do as they wish without harming or
violating rights of others

o211 Orientation:
o212 Rational, self-interested individuals (and hence equal)

o213 Programmatic:
o214 Programs for promoting individual liberty (classical) and opportunity (welfare)
o215 Human imperfection

o216 Focused on conserving existing social order

o217 ‘
Custom and tradition as latent wisdom ’

o218 Organic view of society

o219 Acceptance of inequality

o220 Freedom and order

Traditional Conservatism
o221 Developed as a reaction against the excesses of the French

o222 Conservatives blamed the bloodbath on the Enlightenment idea

that human beings could consciously create political society.

Founder of Traditional Conservative Ideology

o223 Edmund Burke (1729-97)

o224 British writer & member of Parliament in late 18th century

o225 Reflections on the Revolution in France (published in 1790)

Traditional Conservatism
o226 The origin of political society.

o227 Conservatism argues that political society develops gradually over time out of custom and
human experience.

o228 Human nature is not rational.

o229 People’s ability to reason is severely limited.

o230 Therefore, efforts to improve a society will likely have terrible unanticipated consequences.

o231 Not opposed to all change, but it is should be gradual, a slow evolution
Traditional Conservatism
o232 Inequality is the natural order of things.

o233 Politically, people should defer to elites to govern.

o234 Socially, people need to accept problems like poverty, which society cannot solve.

o235 Inequality is unavoidable

o236 “Believe me, Sir, those who attempt to level, never equalize…Burke, Reflections

o237 Inequality is also beneficial to all

o238 Making everyone equal would result in everyone having less.

Traditional Conservatism
o239 The acceptance of authority.
o240 Members of political society need to accept their roles in order for the
whole society to be healthy and strong.

o241 Challenging authority is destabilizing.

o242 The purpose of government.

o243 Government should be strong in law & order, to control the unruly
elements in society.

o244 Government’s goal is to provide for human needs, especially the needs for
order, stability and control.

o245 The lack of order destroys people more than tyranny.

o246 Government is not formed to protect rights.

o247 Against democracy:

o248 No guarantee against tyranny [similar to Plato]

Traditional & Contemporary Varieties

o249 Traditional Conservatism
o250 Opposed to free market capitalism because it broke down old social roles.
o251 No fear of an active large government becoming tyrannous because the elite would
be the governors.

o252 Contemporary Conservatism

o253 Conservative thought in the U.S. (the Republican Party) different from Burke’s
because it grew out of classical liberalism.

o254 Support for capitalism

o255 Suspicious of government power

o256 See justice as equal opportunity, not equal outcome

o257 Anti-welfare

Conservatism’s ‘Four Functions’

o258 Explanatory:
o259 Social conditions are the result of human imperfections

o260 Evaluative:
o261 Success is a question of social order and harmony

o262 Orientation:
o263 Each of us is part of a greater whole, and we should act with interest of society (not
just self) in mind

o264 Programmatic:
o265 Slow and cautious change

Fascism & Nazism

o266 An ideology opposed to liberalism, conservatism, socialism, and
communism, because they brought economic depression, political
betrayal, national weakness, and moral decline.

Roots of Fascist Thinking

o267 The work of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) influenced fascists, particularly the
view expressed here:

o268 Man does not search for happiness.

o269 Only the English liberal does that.

Fascist ideology & Mussolini

o270 Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) coined the term in 1919,

o271 Fascism refers to the Roman symbol for “power through unity” – a
bundle of reeds called “fasces,” individually weak but collectively strong.

Ideas of Mussolini
o272 Mussolini argued that citizens were empowered when they
were subordinated to the state.

o273 By blindly obeying the state, they helped the state thrive, which
benefited them.

o274 To Mussolini, this distinguished the fascist state from repressive

authoritarian governments, which sought to crush people, & not
empower them.

o275 Organic view of society (society over individual)

o276 Mussolini Slogan: Believe, obey, fight

o277 Irrationalism

o278 Rejection of democracy

o279 Elitism (cult of the “superman”)

o280 Statism (anti-capitalism)

o281 Racism and militant nationalism

o282 Militarism
o283 Fascism taken to its extreme form.

o284 Racist and anti-Semitic elements that did not appear in Italian fascism.

o285 Nazi racial theory-Three races:

o286 Aryans (Germanic) – culture creating

o287 Jews – culture destroying

o288 Middle – culture maintaining

o289 At various levels of hierarchy between Aryans and Jews.

Fascist Regimes
o290 Other fascist regimes
o291 Spain under Franco

o292 Portugal under Salazar

o293 Regimes with fascist elements

o294 KMT under Jiang Jieshi (1931-1936)

o295 Argentina under Juan Peron (1946-55)

o296 Chile under Pinochet (1973-1990)

o297 South Africa apartheid regime for Blacks (1945-1990)

Generalissimo Jiang Jieshi

o298 Jiang title, "Generalissimo", was used only by one other major world leader,
Francisco Franco of Spain, who also had close ties with the Nazi military in the 1930s.

o299 Such were Jiang’s ties to the Axis powers that he sent his son to train in the Nazi
military and take part in the Austrian annexation of 1938.

Jiang’s Son in Nazi Uniform

o300 Jiang’s son, Jiang Weiguo (Chiang Weikuo), joined the Nazi Army for the 1938 Austrian
Anschluss, was later Secretary General of the Council of National Security of Taiwan.

o301 After Nazi connections publicized in recent years, suddenly he is "not really Jiang's son" and
disowned post-mortem to "save a face".

Jiang Weiguo (Chiang Weikuo)

Military Advisers from Nazi Germany
Fascism’s ‘Four Functions’
o302 Explanatory:
o303 Problems from ‘enemies of the nation or people’ (scapegoats)

o304 Evaluative:
o305 Strength and unity of the nation or people

o306 Orientation:
o307 Define yourself as part of nation/people (not as individual)

o308 Programmatic:
o309 Believe, obey, fight (elites in complete control)

Origins of Socialism
o310 Ancient roots – Judeo-Christian belief in the common good, which
takes precedence over individual desires

o311 Term “socialism” coined in 1827 by British socialist Robert Owen to

describe his view of a cooperative new society.

Early Socialists Owen 欧文

Early Socialist: Charles Fourier 傅立叶
Early Socialist: Saint-Simon 圣西门
o312 Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon, often referred to as
Henri de Saint-Simon (1760 –1825), the founder of French socialism
The Communist Manifesto

Socialists Take Exception to Each of the Three Tenets of

o313 Individual freedom—Freedom to accumulate and dispose of property is glorified way of saying
that the state and law protects ability of the few to exploit the many.

o314 Limited government—prevents masses from using the state and law to level inequality.

o315 In genuine democracy, government constituted by people.

o316 Public-private split—there is no final distinction between a public sphere (political society) and a
private sphere (economy or civil society).

o317 Inequality in one means inequality in the other.

Class Struggle
Socialism’s Emergence
o318 Liberal political parties in 19th century Europe failed to address the desperate
needs of working people.

o319 Flaws of Liberalism

o320 Individualism or social class

o321 Restriction of political power, but not economic power

o322 Classical liberalism views poverty as an individual choice or failure, not the result of
social structures.

o323 In England, socialism became a political movement in 1884, with the creation of
the Fabians, who provided the basis for the new Labor Party.

o324 Socialism provides a different conception of individual responsibility & of government.

o325 Fraternity:
o326 Socialism is an ideology arguing that citizens are best served by policies focused on meeting
the basic needs of the entire society rather than on serving the needs of individuals as individuals.

o327 Community

o328 Humankind will be unified and cooperative, once wealth is owned and used for the common
good (social ownership).

o329 Capitalism exploits the very people who create society ’s wealth.

o330 Socioeconomic equality

o331 The equality of outcome as opposed to the equality of opportunity 􀂄􀂄

Two Directions of Socialism

o332 Major division between revolutionary socialists (Communists) and
reformist socialists (Social Democrats)

Revolutionary Socialism
o333 Based on Marxism-Leninism:

o334 Proletarian revolution seen as inevitable given the inherent exploitation of the
capitalist system.

o335 Revolution will eliminate private property—the means for some to exploit others.

o336 Bourgeoisie will fight, so revolution will be violent.

o337 A dictatorship of the proletariat will follow to weed out remaining capitalist

o338 Socialization of industry and agriculture under Stalin.

o339 In the end, a classless society with no more oppression or internal contradictions.

o340 Eventually, the contribution principle is replaced with the motto “From each according to his
ability, to each according to his needs”.

o341 People will be free to choose how they labor, and can be creatively productive. They will be able
to live to their fullest potential.
o342 “...while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each
can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus
makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the
afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming
hunter, fisherman, cowherd, or critic” (German Ideology).

Social Democracy
o343 A variation on socialism that argues that socialism and democracy can work

o344 A compromise approach which accepts private ownership and the market but
seeks to redistribute wealth according to communal/moral principles.

o345 Change comes through peaceful democratic processes like elections.

o346 Democratic governments should promote economic as well as political freedom &

What are the Similarities and Differences

between Communism and Social Democracy?
Social Democracy in Practice
o347 Socialist political parties compete and win office in every western democracy
except the United States.

o348 Argentina Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Fiji, France,
Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, Netherland, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Sri Lanka,
Sweden, Venezuela.

o349 Why might this be so? What’s different about the U.S.?

Socialism/Communism’s ‘Four
o350 Explanatory:
o351 Social conditions determined by economic and class relations

o352 Evaluative:
o353 Sharpness of class divisions (exploitive?) determines health of society
o354 Orientation:
o355 People should think of themselves in terms of their class position

o356 Programmatic:
o357 Policies must be put into place to advance economic equality (which is a prerequisite for
‘true’ political equality)

The End of Ideology?

Daniel Bell (1960)
o358 Daniel Bell (1960) The End of Ideology: On the exhaustion of political ideas

o359 Argued that in post WWII Western countries, managed capitalism was no longer debated, rather
debates were technocratic in nature, concerning optimum methods for delivering affluence.

Francis Fukuyama (1989)

o360 Francis Fukuyama (1989) argued that we have reached “the end point of
mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy
as the final form of government…the victory of liberalism” (page 4)

o361 Argued that in the impending collapse of the USSR represented the triumph of
Western Liberalism over competing ideologies.

The End of Ideology?

o362 However, Bell’s argument was undermined by the emergence of the New Right in
the US and UK – current climate of highly polarized competition between
Republicans and Democrats.

o363 Fukuyama’s approach has been challenged by Islamic fundamentalist groups

(such as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda) who oppose Western, liberal values.

Summary: Ideology in Politics