Thursday, October 26, 2006

Poll on Political Idealogy

     I had planned on writing a substantial post tonight but ended up walking around the city with some friends for a few hours instead. So rather than rushing the writing, I'd like to get an idea of what political idealogies you subscribe to. Each category will have a short description (mostly lifted from Wikipedia due to time constraints). If you'd like to elaborate in the comments section, please do. The definitions are perhaps necessarily vague (as specific definitions can get very subjective), so if you're torn in terms of the definition vote based on the other beliefs and connotations that you have with the two choices.


Political Idealogy
Anarchism
Christian Democracy
Communism
Communitarianism
Conservatism
Fascism
Feminism
Green Politics
Islamism
Liberalism
Capitalist Libertarianism
Nationalism
Social Democracy
Socialism
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com




  • Anarchism-Anarchism is a political theory which aims to create anarchy, "the absence of a master, of a sovereign." In other words, anarchism is a political theory which aims to create a society within which individuals freely co-operate together as equals. As such anarchism opposes all forms of hierarchical control - be that control by the state or a capitalist - as harmful to the individual and their individuality as well as unnecessary.

  • Christian Democracy-Broadly speaking, Christian Democracy is conservative in regard to moral and cultural issues, and issues of public morality and tradition. It can be described as left-wing insofar as it claims a "strong social conscience", in the sense of emphasizing the alleviation of poverty, the welfare state, and if necessary the restraint of market forces. It may also be seen as liberal insofar as it upholds human rights and individual initiative.

  • Communism-Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a future classless, stateless social organization, based upon common ownership of the means of production. Clarification: Please choose this choice if you see a communist society coming into being with a "communist state" as an intermediate step. If you're an anarcho-communist, please choose anarchism.

  • Communitarianism-Communitarianism as a group of related but distinct philosophies began in the late 20th century, opposing classical liberalism, capitalism, and other similar philosophies while advocating phenomena such as civil society. Not necessarily hostile to social liberalism, communitarianism rather has a different emphasis, shifting the focus of interest toward communities and societies and away from the individual. The question of priority, whether on the individual or community often has the largest impact in the most pressing ethical questions, such as health care, abortion, multiculturalism, and hate speech.

  • Conservatism-Conservatism is a political philosophy that necessitates a defense of established values or the status quo.

  • Fascism-Fascism is a radical political ideology that combines elements of corporatism, authoritarianism, nationalism, militarism, anti-anarchism, anti-communism and anti-liberalism.

  • Feminism-Feminism is a diverse collection of social theories, political movements and moral philosophies, largely motivated by or concerned with the experiences of women. Most feminists are especially concerned with social, political and economic inequality between men and women (in the context of it being to the disadvantage of women); some have argued that gendered and sexed identities, such as "man" and "woman", are socially constructed. Feminists differ over the sources of inequality, how to attain equality, and the extent to which gender and gender-based identities should be questioned and critiqued. In simple terms, feminism is the belief in social, political and economic equality of the sexes, and the movement organised around the belief that gender should not be the pre-determinant factor shaping a person's social identity, or socio-political or economic rights.

  • Green Politics-Green politics or Green ideology is the ideology of the Green Parties, mainly informed by environmentalism, ecology and sustainable economics and aimed at developing a sustainable society. It is considered by its advocates to be an alternative to socialism, conservatism, and liberalism, although adherents of the traditional ideologies tend to view Greens as representing "one of the others."

  • Islamism-Islamism is a set of political ideologies that hold that Islam is not only a religion, but also a political system that governs the legal, economic and social imperatives of the state according to its interpretation of Islamic Law. For Islamists, the sharia has absolute priority over democracy and universal human rights.

  • Liberalism-Liberalism is an ideology, philosophical view, and political tradition which holds that liberty is the primary political value. Liberalism has its roots in the Western Enlightenment, but the term now encompasses a diversity of political thought.

    Broadly speaking, liberalism emphasizes individual rights. It seeks a society characterized by freedom of thought for individuals, limitations on power, especially of government and religion, the rule of law, free public education, the free exchange of ideas, a market economy that supports relatively free private enterprise, and a transparent system of government in which the rights of all citizens are protected. In modern society, liberals favor a liberal democracy with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law and an equal opportunity to succeed.

  • Capitalist Libertarianism-Capitalist Libertarianism is a political philosophy advocating that individuals should be free to do whatever they wish with their person or property, as long as they do not infringe on the same liberty of others.

  • Nationalism-Nationalism is an ideology that holds that a nation is the fundamental unit for human social life, and takes precedence over any other social and political principles. Nationalism makes certain political claims based upon this belief: above all, the claim that the nation is the only legitimate basis for the state, that each nation is entitled to its own state, and that the borders of the state should be congruent with the borders of the nation.

  • Social Democracy-Social democracy is a political ideology that emerged out of classical socialism in the late 19th and early 20th century. Unlike socialism, social democracy does not seek to dismantle or replace the capitalist system, but instead aims to reform it in order to remove its perceived injustices and to bring about a more equal distribution of wealth. In recent years, many social democratic parties have embraced 'Third Way' ideology.

  • Socialism-Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that envisage a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to social control. As an economic system, socialism is associated with state or collective ownership of the means of production. This control may be either direct — exercised through popular collectives such as workers' councils — or it may be indirect — exercised on behalf of the people by the state. Clarification: While direct control of the means of production is certainly socialism (and in my opinion the only way to truly have socialism), please choose this one if you envision indirect control through a state (a so-called "worker's state" if you like).
  • 9 comments:

    bernarda said...

    I thought about voting until I read some of your definitions.

    Socialism, "Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that envisage a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to social control."

    You say "a broad array", yet on anarchism you present it as one thing.

    For me, there is no contradiction between socialist "subject to social control" and anarchism. So how could I choose between the two?

    Delta said...

    bernarda,

    Sorry about that. I was in a crunch for time last night and just grabbed the descriptions from wikipedia. The problem is twofold I believe. First, some of these idealogies overlap as you see(at least their definitions given). Socialism=Anarchism=Communism (from this definition at least). The second problem is that just about everyone believes that their idealogy is one of liberty, freedom, and fairness. I could modify the definitions to conform to my idea of what the differences between all these idealogies are, but many would be described by negative characteristics that an advocate of that idealogy might not see. For example, a statist communist might say that anarchism is a petty bourgeois idealogy that opposes the only means for worker liberation. Or I might say that in liberalism you will not get fair and accurate elections with a truly functioning democracy unless it is anarchistic.

    So for this reason, I was hoping that people could vote with what they best identify with, judging not necessarily from what the definitions are, but based on their other connotations of the word. In any case, I edited the definition of socialism. Thanks for the comment.

    Mookie said...

    I chose socialism because it stems from the ideas of Marx. Anarchy was also a choice, but I believe the emphasis on worker control of the means of production is the source of political and economic power, and the main cause of social inequality. Anarchism would be a result of sharing the means of production.

    I also believe that socialism/anarchy are the two most likely systems to cater to the environment, and would have happily chosen green politics on top of anarchy and socialism. Check out:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecosocialism

    and

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_economics

    SH said...

    I don't normally think of myself as subscribing to any particular ideology or a school of thought. At least, I don't when it comes to politics. I can see the pros and the cons of many of them and it makes it hard to swallow any one of them entirely. Some of them I reject outright: Christian Democracy, Fascism, Islamism, Nationalism. Some of them I am very suspicious about: Communism, Communitarianism, Conservatism, Capitalist Libertarianism. Some of them are pretty much already parts of today's world: Feminism, Green Politics, Liberalism, Social Democracy. The rest of them seem to have some very admirable ideals and goals, but lack any clear vision on how those goals and ideals can be brought to life in a practical and meaningful ways: Anarchism, Socialism.

    And I think you are absolutely right when you say that everyone believes that their ideology is one of liberty, freedom, and fairness. And this makes it hard to judge any of these ideologies based on their stated goals alone. It is the end result of implementing them in the real world that shows what they "really are." But then you have the problem of figuring out if something failed, for example, due to minor errors in implementation or due to fundamental flaws of ideology. And some of these have never been tried in the real world on any kind of significant scale at all.

    Mookie said...

    It may be that these ideas are just mental masturbation, and our actions are more determined by the monkey within us than by conscious thought. In which case, professing to be of any ideology would be useless, unless it happened to be the ideology that most reflected our inherent behaviour. But this raises further questions like, "is this act moral because it is in accordance with my nature? or is this my nature because i do it?"

    Not only that, but humans are very malleable, and have been known to change over time. Goals and starting points cannot be fixed if they hinder these changes.

    I see there have been 4 votes for capitalist libertarianism yet don't see many such folks commenting at this site. Could be the poll is accessed somewhere else. Either way, it would be nice to have more people contribute, even if it is to respectfully disagree. Freethought means being open to the possibility that one's own ideas and beliefs are wrong. Engaging our minds with new ideas is better than rehashing the same ones over and over again.

    Delta said...

    mookie,

    If you are saying that allowing the individual groups of workers to have control over their respective means of production is potentially problematic, then I'd say I have to agree. There seems to be no good argument for why a group of say, coal miners, should "own" the coal mines. It makes most sense to me for them to belong to the entire community. So in that sense I associate with the terms libertarian socialist and libertarian communist. However, I would certainly accept worker-owned industries as a step towards society-owned ones.

    I hadn't read about eco-socialism before, and had never heard of the term 'watermelon' before in that context. In some sense many of these idealogies really run together. If one of the primary characteristics of a eco-socialist is that they believe that capitalism is inherently harmful to society and the environment due to waste, pollution, and overconsumption, then I think almost the entire political left would agree.

    It may be that these ideas are just mental masturbation, and our actions are more determined by the monkey within us than by conscious thought

    I think for actions that must be made quickly, then yes, concious thought likely doesn't come into the picture and our actions are based on either our instinctive feelings on the issue, or (if we've thought about it on a previous occasion) then they would be based on whatever conclusion we came to at that time. But I think conscious thought can certainly affect future actions. Also, if people profess to be a particular idealogy, attempting to remain in accordance with that idealogy might make the person act "better" than they otherwise would.

    Either way, it would be nice to have more people contribute, even if it is to respectfully disagree. Freethought means being open to the possibility that one's own ideas and beliefs are wrong. Engaging our minds with new ideas is better than rehashing the same ones over and over again

    I agree, the more the merrier. My views have changed drastically over the past 5 years, and because I recognize how wrong I used to be, I have little confidence that all my current views will remain untouched over time.

    Delta said...

    sh,

    I completely agree with you that it makes no sense to accept one particular idealogy simply because one agrees with a majority of the ideas. But there are infinitely many idealogies out there, including ones that "correct" the parts that you find distasteful in the others. And in any case, if you know what things you agree with and what things you don't, that list is an idealogy, even if a name for it is either unknown to you or nonexistent. I think it's useful to be able to classify yourself as well as you can because it can be useful for discussing ideas with others. But at the same time, I think a huge problem in the world today is that people find an idealogy that they agree with partly, but then fully accept the rest of it. An example would be the types of people who don't like to see the government give out money to people who refuse to work, so they classify themselves as a conservative. But as a "conservative", they end up voting for republicans, and in doing so they support illegal wars, hands outs to the rich, and the restriction of freedoms, simply because they feel so strongly in that one part of the idealogy and refuse to look for a different idealogy that better suits their beliefs.

    But then you have the problem of figuring out if something failed, for example, due to minor errors in implementation or due to fundamental flaws of ideology. And some of these have never been tried in the real world on any kind of significant scale at all

    I totally agree. Figuring this out is even more difficult when people blindly ascribe to idealogies and when they are only aware of a small set of idealogies and believe that one of them must be completely right. When you've got people who think that criticizing corporate rule could mean that the homeless guy under the bridge is going to get a full share of their paycheck, then any sort of good evaluation of a political or economic system is damn near impossible to make.

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