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Political Ideologies

What do you believe in?

Definition: Ideology

An ideology is simply a set of beliefs It comes from the Greek meaning: the study of ideas People can have more than one ideology. For example, there are religious, personal, or professional ideologies. A political ideology is just a set of beliefs regarding how a government should work.

The Political Spectrum

Generally speaking, there are five major political ideologies that people follow: liberalism (classical and reform), conservatism, socialism, fascism, communism These isms fall into a political spectrum and are deemed either left or right wing

Left Wing:

The more left wing an ideology, the more radical it is. For example, left wing politics believes in change and limited government involvement. A modern left-wing person would usually support gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, and universal health care. Its your typically hippie However, extreme left wing ideology usually ends up with a dictator and a highly controlled society. Examples include both China and Cuba

Right Wing:

The more right wing an ideology is the more it is resistant to change. Sometimes this is referred to as reactionary A typical right wing ideology would believe in strong government control, traditional (and often religious) beliefs, and some censorship of the media. Like left wing ideology, and extreme right wing government almost always has a dictator and a very restricted society. The best example would be Hitlers Nazi Party.

Liberalism (Left Wing)


Liberalism came from the Age of Enlightenment as an alternative to the Divine Right of Kings. The major thinker of this ideology was John Locke. Liberalists believe in economic and intellectual freedom. This means that it is up to every individual to create their own future based on their own work ethic and intelligence. Classical Liberalism: this was the original ideology that believed in very little govt involvement. Reform Liberalism: this was how classical liberalism evolved, when, in practice, more govt involvement was necessary

Conservatism (Right Wing)

The word comes from the word to conserve or maintain the status quo. This was a reaction to Liberalism. Conservatives seek to limit change and keep traditional values. Major thinker: Edmund Burke This ideology believes in economic freedom and intellectual equality. Intellectual equality requires that everyone receives the same information, thus the government controls what citizens have access to (ie censorship)

Socialism (Left Wing)

This is an economic focused ideology developed by Karl Marx. It is the belief that all citizens should have the same amount of goods/money regardless of their job. In socialism, the government provides for all its citizens and is highly involved in the economy. Socialism is a class-less, equal society.

Communism (Far Left Wing)

Communism grew out of the ideas of Socialism and was made more extreme, culminating with Joseph Stalin. Again, it is the abolition of class and its power struggles, but this time the government (or dictator) has ultimate say. Because of this absolute power, intellectual equality (censorship) is a must, as is economic equality (no one can ever make money- you are just given the basics)

Fascism: Extreme Right Wing


Comes from the Latin fascis >>> This was the symbol of military power of ancient Rome. The ideology was first used by Benito Mussolini but typified by Adolf Hitler. Fascism believes in absolute government power (dictator), strong nationalism, strong military, and citizens as servants to the state (the greater good) Under a fascist government, there is intellectual equality and limited economic freedom.

Assignment:
Draw a line across your paper and label it left, center, and right. Place each ideology along the line according to its beliefs. Where do you think Canadas ideologies lay?