What is America’s Ideology?

There are four primary ideologies espoused in the United States.  We usually discuss them from a left-to-right perspective, so that is how they’ll be presented here.  First off, an ideology is a clear, coherent, and consistent set of beliefs about the role of government and its relationship with the individual.  Those on the left side of the ideological scale tend to believe in more federal government involvement, while those on the right side of the scale believe in a federal government that is smaller in size and scope.  We will look at the four primary ideologies (socialism, liberalism, conservatism, libertarianism) from an economic perspective.  The crux of each is founded on economic principles and government’s reach within the economy.  When social issues (i.e. gay marriage, abortion) or the military are discussed, that consistency which makes up the fundamental makeup of an ideology gets clouded.  Here are some brief descriptions of the four ideologies:

Socialism:  This ideology is found on the left-hand side of the left-to-right scale. Socialists believe in curbing the excesses associated with private capital, but also they believe in a more active government intertwining itself within privately run businesses.  The end result being that privatization would no longer exist, and that which was once private becomes “public” in the form of a government controlled and regulated economy.  Socialism would provide more government programs to those in need, but would also need more taxes from the public to pay for those programs.

Liberalism:  Moving to the right of socialism is the liberal ideology.  Liberals tend to believe in the role of government as a “safety net”.  Government is designed to help those in need through social welfare programs.  This may sound like socialism in theory, but liberals do not believe in government controlled, or statist, society.  Private capital and businesses may be regulated and taxed by the federal government, but they would not be taken over and controlled by the government either.

Conservatism:  To the right of the liberal perspective is the conservative ideology.  In the case of the conservative, he believes in a smaller government which is cut down to size by reducing the number of social welfare and spending programs in the United States.  Conservatives also believe in cutting taxes.

Libertarianism:  The ideology at the most right of the scale being described here is libertarianism.  Libertarianism, at its American core, was promoted during the American Revolution.  Classic liberalism, as it was called then, supported a federal government that had very limited powers.  The definition of limited powers would be derived from the United States Constitution.  Simply put, if there was  a question on the size and scope of the federal government, then the Constitution would be final arbiter in settling a governmental dispute between the federal government and the states.  Only that which is written specifically for the federal government in the Constitution can belong to the federal government.  That which is not a federal government power would then belong to the states.

What is the predominant ideology in the United States?  Perhaps you believe that we live in a moderate or middle-of-the-road nation.  Remember, however, that the moderate position is not an ideology.  Moderation in politics is not clear, consistent, or coherent as the definition of an ideology suggests.

15 responses to “What is America’s Ideology?

  1. In my own opinion I think that we don’t have a major dominant ideology in the United States. The reason that I say this is because how divided that we are as a country on so many issues. It’s all most impossible for someone to state their opinion or have a political discussion without having to censor your words to prevent from offending someone or touching a nerve that someone might have a disagreement with you on a subject. Nearly every political discussion now has the possible potential to turn into a verbal fight and a source of political disdain. Once upon a time in America it used to be a time that among even opposing sides, one could have a civilized conversation pertaining to politics, but now it seems that is now becoming a distance pipe dream.

  2. I believe that in the United States we all have different views towards every situation. We do not just follow one certain Ideology. Every one has an opinion and sometimes not everyone agrees with it. We have freedom of speech to express our beliefs. Our country is very divided within issues, for example, abortion, gay rigths and so on. There is no right answer to each issue that is why every state can create there own laws.

  3. Personally, I think that the United States leans more towards the ideology of Liberalism. This is because citizens are allowed to be taxed by the federal government. Income from jobs are always taxed in the U.S. The federal government also is permitted to regulate business. The federal government now, can impose enviornmental regulations on companies.

  4. I believe that there is no particular ideology that is dominant in the United States due to the diversity in peoples opinion as well as the diversity in how people view issues. we are all different by nature and view certain issues in our own way. you might have a group of people that believe in a certain issue, but you are always going to have that person who opposes that issue. if i were to pick one that best describes the U.S. today i would go with liberalism, just because people do tend to rely on the federal government, and the federal government does regulate our businesses.

  5. Dennis Kapelinski

    America’s Ideology is as diverse as its people. As stated, an Ideology is a clear, coherent and consistent set of beliefs about the role of government and its relationship with an individual. People have different beliefs for every topic or area of government that can be discussed. The extremist would be as far right or left as possible. My belief is you would be hard pressed to find an individual that would not waiver on at least one topic of the multitude that exist and keep their extremist view. This places everyone between the extremist’s view. When approaching the center of the scale from both extremes, the volume of people gradually increases. This places the majority of people as Liberals or Conservatives. These people straddle the line on far more issues than an extremist. If these statements are accurate, then no one has a clear, coherent or consistent set of beliefs and doesn’t belong solely to any of the primary Ideologies. I believe America is a blend of the ideologies as exhibited by its people, political parties and the states themselves.

  6. I think people have their own beliefs. We are spilt opinions. Like someone said up above we all have our own thoughts on different things such as abortion, same sex marriage and others. Not everyone is going to agree on one subject.

  7. I think America is a centrist society. We live in the middle. Yes, there is left and right but we as Americans live in a “melting pot”. We welcome all ideas, all faiths, and all ideologies. That is what is great about the country we live in. All these ideologies want to make America better and not worst.

  8. Whereas it was once a more conservative country, I believe America is a primarily, or at least becoming a primarily, liberalist country. Today we see growing reliance on government and the seemingly innocuous attitude that government should be a back-up. I think it is so rooted now in our thought and what we are taught now that government is our safety net. Unfortunately, self-reliance and -sufficiency is less prevalent nowadays in an inverse relationship with government reliance and perhaps because of our attitude toward reliance on government. Government is getting bigger and more involved, and the public seems to welcome it. They don’t mind giving up their own economic freedom or personal liberty because they get something they deem helpful in exchange. Attitudes toward gay marriage and abortion have become much more liberal, which I think stems from the people who dominate our education system and academia.

  9. I believe that everyone has there own opinion on Americas Ideology. I personally find that the socialism is the most important which is located on the left hand side of the left-to-right hand scale. As it stated it would provide more government programs to those in need, but would also need more taxes from the public to pay for those programs. i think providing more government programs would be an excellent idea for the americans.

  10. Deciphering what America’s ideology is is not a matter of opinion; rather, it is a recognition of where most Americans stand on issues. Media has a major role in making a difference in ideology since it isn’t merely a reflection of the people, it can be used a transformative tool. I think what most teens would recognize is the propaganda in MTV, since it is always pushing the ideals of what the creators think should be accepted.

  11. In America, we rely on a classical liberalism government that provides for those who cannot help themselves through such programs as: welfare, social security, medicare, and medicaid. It’s free- enterprise system allows for private ownership and taxes business according to revenue, employees incomes, etc. In addition, America’s government has limited intervention in businesses. Society is somewhat regulated or policed but it is mostly free.

  12. Elizabeth Holland

    The left wants control American truths of the constitution and replace with a one world government. Controlled by the left.

  13. This not accurate , Libertarian’s are generally centrists in the middle of liberals and conservatives. Their platform is wider than both major parties. Generally speaking Libertarians do believe in the constitution and the bill of rights, but their mainly conservatives in the respect of economics. They also are liberal in social issues when there is need, but favor more oversight of responsible spending and sustainability in these area, while supporting more personal responsibility and independence and freedom for citizens. Equal opportunity over equal outcome with special exceptions for those that cannot take care of themselves!

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