Tag Archives: Liberalism

American Ideologies

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 baseline interpretation of each ideology, for our purposes here, is founded on economic principles and government’s reach within the economy.  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.

Of the four ideologies listed, which is the most prominently practiced in the United States?

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Ideologically Speaking on Social Issues

For this post, we’ll take a look at four political ideologies and how followers of those ideologies would stand on certain social issues.  The social issues, for the purposes of this argument, would be abortion, gay marriage, and legalizing marijuana.

ABORTION

— Those who favor a pro-choice stance on abortion:  liberals, libertarians, socialists

— Those who favor a pro-life stance on abortion:  conservatives

GAY MARRIAGE

–Those who favor gay marriage:  liberals, libertarians, and socialists

–Those who oppose gay marriage:  conservatives

LEGALIZING MARIJUANA

–Those who favor the legalization of marijuana:  liberals, libertarians, socialists

–Those who oppose the legalization of marijuana:  conservatives

Let’s go back to an earlier post on ideologies.  In that post, you’ll see the relationship between the size and scope of government and how government subsequently handles economic issues.  Socialists believe in a more active federal government when it comes to the economy, while libertarians believe in a “hands off” government when dealing with economic issues.  Liberals and conservatives are somewhere in between those two ideologies.  What we haven’t defined is the idea of the size and scope of government when it comes to social issues.

Is there one particular ideology that seems to be consistent in its beliefs on both an economic and social issue scale?  (For example, do liberals take the same pro-active government approach to the economy as well as to being involved in an individual’s social decisions.  Are conservatives opposed to government intervention in both economic and social issues?)

 

 

What’s The Big Ideology?

untitledYou’ll often hear politicians and pundits alike speak of “the right” and “the left” in political terms.  However, we might not understand what those terms actually mean.  These terms fall on what is sometimes called a “left to right” ideological scale.  In the United States, there are four predominant political ideologies.

Before we get into the scale itself, we must first understand what an ideology is.  An ideology is a clear, coherent, and consistent set of beliefs about the size and scope of the governmentl.  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.  This modern-day conservative is different from the classic conservative.  The classic conservative believed in the status quo.  Those who espoused such an ideological perspective believed in keeping things “as is”.

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.

If the United States had one dominant ideology, which one would it be?  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.

Do We Need Another Party?

With all the talk surrounding the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and our nation’s economy, it is hard to make sense as to where each political party stands on solving this country’s economic woes.  Democrats sound like Republicans; Republicans sound like Democrats.  It can make your head spin.  This nation was founded on a two-party system, where each party differentiated itself from the other on the issues.  When the country began, Federalists who believed in a strong, centralized government battled with Democratic-Republicans (Anti-Federalists) who believed that more power should reside in the hands of the states.  There was a clear delineation as to where each of these parties stood on the issues.  Today, many argue that there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the Democratic and Republican parties.  Some from that group will argue even further that the parties are not ideological enough.  Those who aruge this position believe that the Democrats should be more liberal and Republicans should be more conservative.  Do we have two moderate parties in the United States or are they more ideological then we make them out to be?  Is this the time for a third party to emerge in the United States?  If so, then what should that party look and sound like?

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.