Theories and Ideologies

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Theories and
 Ideologies
  Utopias in Fiction and Politics
• Utopias are subjective interpretations of the
  perfect world
• In politics, utopias are useful for examining the
  flaws of political ideas when taken to their
  extremes
• And for envisioning a path toward a better future
• Marx extended capitalist ideas to their logical
  extreme to point out inherent fundamental flaws
• And consequently provided an alternative vision
  of utopian communism
      Utopias in Practical Use
• Utopian theorizing reached a pinnacle during the
  idealist period following the unbelievable
  carnage of World War I
• President Wilson proposes the League of
  Nations
  – Built on the hope of spreading liberal democracy
    across the globe.
  – The idea is not even supported in the United States
      Political Ideologies and
              Theories
• Political Theories are aimed at developing
  knowledge.
  – Complex and logically robust
  – Written for a select audience
• Political Ideologies are about organizing
  and directing action.
  – Simple and dramatic calls to action
  – Written for the masses
                 Ideology
• A coherent world view
  that purports to
  explain how things
  “should be”
• Generally has some
  assessment of
  Human Nature
• As well as an
  assessment of how
  society should be set
  up
           Classical Liberalism
• Not the same as the way we talk about
  liberal and conservative in the U.S.
• Classical Liberalism emphasizes the
  Individual who is:
• Rational and Reasonable
• Have passions but also have the
  ability, through reason, to control our
  desires
• Therefore deserve rights and liberties
• Individuals are inherently Self-
  Interested and Competitive
• Does this seem natural? Why?
    The Sources of Classical Liberalism
• The Greek heritage of democracy –
  demos and krateia
• Christian theology and Roman
  republicanism
• Deaths from the Black Plague opened
  up opportunity for social advancement
• The discovery of the new world
• The Protestant Reformation – Luther
  and Calvin
• Locke and Hobbes in England
• Adam Smith added economic freedom
  as a component
• The American republic
• The French Revolution of 1789
          Classical Conservatism
• Emphasis on Community
  rather than individual
• “Conserve” traditional social
  institutions
• Skeptical of rapid social
  change
• Society has been around a
  long time, individuals are
  relatively transient
      Classical Conservatism
• Associated with 18th c. parliamentarian
  Edmund Burke
• Reaction to excesses of the French
  Revolutions
• Based on the idea that social institutions
  embody a wealth of knowledge that has
  evolved and endured over centuries
• Object to the idea that individual human
  reason could know better
        Politics of Imperfection
• Individuals are weak in the
  face of our desires: selfish
  and egocentric
• Need a strong
  government/Society:
• to restrain our passions
• to preserve social
  institutions and values
• to make sure no one is left
  behind
                    Socialism
• Humans are naturally social or
  communal creatures
• Do not live or produce in isolation
• Unrestricted Capitalism creates
  under-class, monopolies and
  depressions
• Need Government control of key
  industries and raw materials
• Marxists: achieve through
  Revolution
• Social Democrats: achieve through
  democratic reforms (Welfarism)
                   Communism
• Based on the ideas of Karl
  Marx
• Key problem is class divisions
• The bourgeois class controls
  the machinery of the state and
  exploits the labor of the
  proletariat
• Eventually the workers will
  become aware of their
  exploitation, cast off the rule
  of the capitalists, and institute
  a communist society
              Communism
• Intended to apply to industrial capitalist
  societies
• Lenin applied to semi-feudal agrarian
  Russia
• Lenin shifted focus from exploitation of the
  proletarian within capitalist societies to the
  exploitation and colonization of poor
  countries by advanced capitalist countries
       Democratic Socialism
• Share communist vision of social, political,
  and economic equality
• But believe this can be achieved by
  democratic means
• Advocated by Eduard Bernstein (1850-
  1932)
• Social Democrats, by contrast, merely
  seek to modify capitalism with the infusion
  of some elements of socialism
          Reform Liberalism
• Like classical liberals, believe government
  should remove obstacles to individual
  competition
  – negative freedom
• Unlike classical liberals, believe
  government should also provide basic
  necessities (education, health care, safety
  net) to ensure all can compete equally
  – positive freedom
                 Fascism
• 20th c. ideology
• Emphasis on the superiority of a particular
  group (rather than the individual, class, or
  society)
• Charismatic leader comes to power during
  economic hard times with promises for
  recovery
• Democracy discouraged as could weaken
  dominance of superior group
                Fascism
• Ruling party controls all aspects of social
  and cultural life
• Public spectacles to reinforce traditions
  and motivate support
• Nationalism important along with a strong
  military rule and vigilance against enemies
  at home and abroad
           Other Ideologies
• Which Ideology do you find most
  compelling? Why?
• There are many other ideologies out there
• Virtually any vision of utopia can become
  an ideology by offering a simplified version
  of how and why people should work
  toward that utopia

				
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posted:9/18/2012
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