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Which political ideology do you most associate with?

  • Communism/Totalitarian

    Votes: 15 2.6%
  • Socialism

    Votes: 101 17.4%
  • Liberalism

    Votes: 115 19.9%
  • Libertarian

    Votes: 120 20.7%
  • Conservatism

    Votes: 50 8.6%
  • Fascism/Monarchy

    Votes: 11 1.9%
  • Theocracy

    Votes: 11 1.9%
  • Moderate

    Votes: 89 15.4%
  • Anarchy

    Votes: 67 11.6%

  • Total voters
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Sweden actually is socialist? I thought it was a social democratic country that American conservatives think is socialist.
It's a social democracy. Our current gov (M) is working in the opposite direction though, through privatization of state owned businesses and cuts in unemployment and sick pay among other things. All pharmaceuticals used to be monopolized by the state, but are now open to private corporations, and the privatization of alcohol and liqueur stores seem to be next to follow.
 

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Political Philosophies

If possible can someone give me an in depth explanation on how each system works? I wanted to hear other people's opinions on each one (no bias please, just the MEANING of each system, how it operates, etc.)!
Perhaps not incredibly in-depth, but I'll give it a shot.

Per your request I have attempted to keep this a brief but broad exploration of each political philosophy listed by the OP in the poll. Any comments which I felt were of a more biased nature or were simply "footnote-ish" have been relegated to footnotes at the end of the post that correspond with numbers throughout the post body (though I'm not sure how to properly do this in a forum post). Also, please note before reading that I do not believe it is possible for a person to present something without bias. So, though I have tried, I am sure bias is still present if sought after. Hopefully not terribly so. :)

(Also, I certainly realize I have left out quite a lot in all of the different philosophies. I tried to provide an abundance of wikipedia links to stimulate self exploration. Hope it works!)

Communism- This is a political and social ideology which ultimately intends to create a stateless society with no central, institutionalized government presiding over the population. Communism is an attempt to bring about a collective society that is not structured on economic or social classes (i.e. lower class, middle class, etc). It holds that the existence of such class structure, the adherence to capitalism, ultimately leads to imperialism and exploitation. Therefore all land, material goods, and the means to produce more goods (capital) should be controlled collectively by each member of society.

Nearly all communist school of thought is derived from the work of Karl Marx. Marxism holds that the history of the world can be viewed in terms of the struggle between social classes over the means of production within a society. According to Marxism what must be resisted is the existence of a capitalist upper class which controls all or most of the major means of production within an economy. This capitalist class then exploits lower class workers (see Surplus Value) and keeps the results of the worker's labor. Within Marxism the class owning the means of production may be referred to as the bourgeoisie with the labourers often referred to as the proletariat. Marxism holds that in order for humanity to evolve beyond the Capitalist stage, the proletariat classes must engage in revolution against the bourgeoisie, seize and redistribute the means to production, thus eliminating private property and establishing the collective use of all capital.

There are many variations of Communism which have evolved from Marxism. Among the most famous are Marxism-Lenninism, and Trotskyism. 1

Totalitarianism- This is a form of government in which all power is concentrated in the dictatorial rule of one person or group of people. Many believe that totalitarianism may be observed through the political careers of men like Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler. Within such a governmental structure, all education, art, science, industry, and morality falls under the State's jurisdiction and control.

Theoretically, the specifics of such a governmental structure could greatly vary since many different ideologies can be practiced in a totalitarian fashion, such as Nazism and Communism have been. 2 So, instead of a specific set of ideologies, totalitarianism is usually characterized by the micro-management of all aspects of society, both private and public. Such control is often established and maintained through massive amounts of propaganda disseminated by a State-controlled media. Various kinds of totalitarian states have been explored in popular fiction such as George Orwell's Animal Farm, 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World.

Socialism- Socialist ideologies are many in number but most tend to have in common the fundamental concerns of Marxian Communism though they may be expressed quite differently. Here again everything revolves around the common ownership of the means of production. Although most property would become commonly owned, unlike communism most forms of socialism do not advocate the complete abolition of private property. Most socialists tend to agree that consumptive goods being privately owned does not contradict the concept of common ownership. Instead, common ownership more often refers to each citizen or groups of citizens having the right to participate in the decision making process regarding how resources are used and distributed within a society. 3

Within a completely nationalized or globalized socialist system, all people would have free access to the goods and services that they require as there would be no payment required for any labor done for the common good of the society. Other socialists believe the State should control all capital (means of production) while still operating within a market economy. Within the broad umbrella of Socialism there are many different opinions regarding the extent to which organizations or governments should control capital and you can find socialist persuasions which lean in completely different directions with regard to the extent of common ownership. A socialist system could range from a centralized, state-planned economy to a decentralized, collectivist arrangement controlled by the working class level as seen in Mutualism.

(Note of importance: I find it incredibly difficult to describe liberalism and conservatism in anything resembling an unbiased fashion. Anyone who claims to be able to is probably boldly lying to you. I find this to be so hard because in order to describe Liberalism and Conservatism I must work with what people already know, or think they know. But so many of the things we all seem to know about the "Right or Left" stems from some sort of vitriol or propaganda ultimately aimed at the other side. Another problem seems to be the tendency view Liberalism and Conservatism based on "the issues".

So, for both of these entries I'm going to attempt to say very little about specific key issues and instead try to briefly describe some historical and philosophical differences. Besides, we all probably know the most (or at least have the strongest biases) about these two philosophies. If you really want to know what a liberal, for instance, thinks of tarrifs you can easily find out elsewhere.)


Liberalism and Conservatism-

The terms liberal and conservative have had quite different meanings at different times and what people think of when they hear one or the other today may not bear much resemblance to the origins of each ideology. In America both terms refer to ideologies which hold in common a belief in a Federal Constitutional Republic.

The origins of Liberalism are primarily concerned with freedom and equality. 4 Though differences within liberalism exist regarding how these may be achieved, social freedom and social equality historically is the specific bent or focus of liberalism. It is important to note that before the 20th century this term could be used to refer to one of two ideologies that stem from liberal values. Classical liberalism was predominant before the twentieth century and was characterized by small government, individual freedoms, and adherence to laissez-faire economic theory. 1970's America saw another component of liberalism prevail in the form of social liberalism. Social liberalism allows for a much larger governmental role than classical liberalism in terms of providing goods and services to citizens and influencing the economy, a move away from laissez-faire economic policy and the introduction of Keynesian theory. From the time of the New Deal and forward into today, modern liberalism much more resembles social liberalism than classical (which came to be known by a new name).

Modern liberalism as a political theory is characterized by its commitment to a governmental role in providing care for the poor and sick, an adherence to Keynesian economic theory, and support for separation of church and state in matters of public policy (especially regarding war and morality).

Modern conservatism largely came into being through the convergence of classical liberalism's ideas of small government and economic policy and social conservatism's belief in government upholding traditional moral values within society. This partnership went a long way to creating what people today identify as Conservative politics. Such a fusion of ideologies, however, has never been perfect and today some key differences can be seen between conservatives who would call themselves "small-government" and those whose focus is more heavily on traditional values while allowing for a stronger government and military.

Conservative ideology typically states that it is committed to a free market economy, privatization of a society's means of production, a strong national defense, the regulation of harmful or immoral products and services, and the protection of traditional roles and values.

Moderate- The Centrist operates between the apparent American dichotomy of Left and Right wing parties. It is generally held with an appeal toward pragmatism, hoping to combine ideas from both sides in order to obtain a workable solution. It has no specific ideology of its own but, by definition, exists based on the differences of the two parties it finds itself between.

Fasicsm- Fascist 5 theory of a nationalist economic corporatism 6 aims to control the economy through partnership with large corporations. Each corporation or trade union appeals to the government for labor contracts, creating harmonious relationships that would support national interest. Coupling this economic theory with a strong adherence to nationalism, Fascist governments work toward building a unifying strength among citizens through the State and corporations. This idea starkly contrasts the collectivization of individuals apart from a State as seen in Communism, and the individualization and decentralization of classical liberalism.

Fascism has been presented as the Third Way between capitalism and communism. It has come about in many different forms, employed to achieve various visions and goals by men such as Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler.

Monarchy- A form of government where all political power is concentrated in or traditionally related to one individual or group of individuals. The individual or group may be an elected ruler, as in elective monarchies, or the position may be based simply on heritage. Absolute monarchies are rare today, though a few still exist. Some modern versions of monarchical structures contain only a ceremonially recognized "figurehead" who has little or no direct political power while other governments have blended with more modern expectations of government and formed constitutional monarchies. These constitutional monarchies consist of a head of state and a parliament also with an elected prime minister who exercises political power.Historically, the divine right of kings was often the ideological backing for such a system of government. Not to confuse monarchy with...

Theocracy- A Theocratic government refers to governmental structure which posits deity as its supreme ruler. This may be realized through the religious institution being given higher authority than that of any existent political state, or it may mean that the present religious hierarchy is also the governing political power. As Theocracy literally means "rule by God." All political decisions are somehow authenticated or dictated by religious officials who interpret the will of God.

Libertarianism- Libertarianism posits that an individual is sovereign over his or her own body and actions so long as he does not harm another individual (thus allowing for self defense). Individual freedom is then considered to be the building block of all society. In order for individuals to be free and consequently build a healthy social structure, libertarianism holds that governmental involvement in the public and private lives of citizens should be kept to a minimum.

There are many degrees within libertarianism with regards to the size of government that should exist and what its function should be. Right-libertarians hold that the government should not interfere with economy at all and seek to establish what they believe to be one of the first truly free market, devoid of government regulation. This strategy derives from the Austrian school of economic thought and is the ideological opposite of the Keynesian school. 7 And whereas right-libertarians include private property within an individual's natural rights, the farthest leaning Left-libertarians disagree and instead advocate a socialized form of libertarianism. They attempt to bring together the concepts of individual sovereignty and the premise that natural resources should be shared equally. Other left-libertarians such as Samuel Konkin are not socialist at all but instead use the term "left" to denote more revolutionary tendencies toward action.

The size and function of the State is a large debate within libertarianism. Some consider themselves minarchists, advocating a limited government that controls little more than national defense and public essentials such as roads, courts, and police. Other libertarians hold to the Anarcho-Capitalist school of thought. At this end of the spectrum libertarianism begins to bleed into anarchism.

Anarchism- Anarchists hold that the State is by nature an unethical and unnecessary institution. Apart from this stance, there is nothing with which to define all anarchists. Many hold to a doctrine of non-violence as an essential component of their belief system while others may use violence and coercion to achieve revolutionary changes in society. Groups within anarchist school of thought may be divided into individualist and collectivist strains, though not every theory or practice falls cleanly into either category. The following are three of the main streams of anarchist thought.

Anarchist communism advocates the abolition of the state, private property, and capitalism by replacing it with a collective usage of the means of production. This within communities that would self-govern through direct democracy. In such a society workers would not receive monetary compensation for their labor but would instead simply have free access to the resources of the commune.

Collectivist anarchism is similar but differs from its communist brother in that it does not seek to abolish all ownership but instead seeks to own all things collectively. This form of anarchism is most associated with Mikhail Bakunin and is an inherently violent, revolutionary school of thought.

Anarcho-capitalism also advocates the abolition of the State but in order for a completely free market economy to exist. Although the term "capitalism" is used in this name, Anarcho-capitalists consider capitalism today to be associated with corporatism and big business cronyism due to state involvement in the market. This ideology has evolved and become closely associated with Voluntaryism which considers the State to be a coercive, violent entity that by nature infringes on the rights and property of individuals. Voluntaryists adhere to a belief in non-aggression which opposes the initiation of aggressive force. Because of this belief, the State is seen as an unethical institution and Voluntaryism holds that it should be replaced by peaceful, voluntary action between free individuals.

Thanks for reading! Apologies for any errors. I hope that portions of this post were helpful to many of you. I greatly enjoy political theory and love seeing how everything fits together. I'm afraid much of this may seem dry as I found much of my humor or creative writing would have been... well, biased. ;) Cheers!

~ ~ ~

1. Exploring the fundamentals and the relationship between Lenninism and Trotskyism would be very worthwhile to understanding the history of communism and its impact on the world as a whole. Yet I felt that taking the time to explore both of these offshoots in this post would be more cumbersome than most readers would like.

2. The OP may have combined Totalitarianism and Communism because of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" phase of Marxism which communism struggled to get through. The intended result of Marxism is a collectivist stateless society but evolution always seems to stall in this stage, thus producing a governmental structure which may resemble totalitarianism.

3. In certain socialist concepts, both localized or globalized, the allocation of resources would be achieved through direct democracy.

4. Two words for which a detailed definition must always be demanded.

5. As far as I understand it, Fascism is much more closely related to Totalitarianism than it is to Monarchy. With that said, Fascism is hard to pin down on a spectrum of political ideology as it derives ideas from many sides and many concepts, including the "divine right of kings/rulers" concepts of many Monarchies.

6. Other economic theories can be used within Fascism. Most predominantly, national socialism and national syndicalism.

7. I strongly recommend approaching politics from an economic perspective. If you want to decide what you believe, start out by gaining an understanding of economic principles and theories! :)
 

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None.
Once you apply anything Political to yourself you start to shut out other beliefs.
Instead I take note and I listen I vote for who I think is the best canidate instead of whom
I feel more politically connected to.
I suppose that's a good thing to do. Besides, doesn't taking one side make you feel vulnerable to attack by others?
 

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Totalitarianism- This is a form of government in which all power is concentrated in the dictatorial rule of one person or group of people. Many believe that totalitarianism may be observed through the political careers of men like Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler. Within such a governmental structure, all education, art, science, industry, and morality falls under the State's jurisdiction and control.

Theoretically, the specifics of such a governmental structure could greatly vary since many different ideologies can be practiced in a totalitarian fashion, such as Nazism and Communism have been. 2 So, instead of a specific set of ideologies, totalitarianism is usually characterized by the micro-management of all aspects of society, both private and public. Such control is often established and maintained through massive amounts of propaganda disseminated by a State-controlled media. Various kinds of totalitarian states have been explored in popular fiction such as George Orwell's Animal Farm, 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World.)
I think it's a flawed view of totalitarianism to say that totalitarianism is about a single dictatorial rule. In my most totalitarian states this has simply not been the case; the longest-running totalitarian country, the USSR, was anything but ruled by one person (with the exception of Stalin's 20 year reign) and was more like competing Government agencies, much like Nazi Germany, who all proclaimed they were acting for the greater benefit of the State Ideology, be it Communism or Racial Purity or whatever. If you want to call Red China totalitarian, the same is also true of Red China. North Korea is another totalitarian state but we can't accurately judge what goes on inside North Korea because it's so closed.

DPRK is a perfect example, actually. What Kim Jong Il says is law is law. But he doesn't have the time to micromanage the nation; his Government bureaus do, and they all interpret his word differently, all in line with the State Ideology, in this case Juchism. So I don't think Totalitarianism is at all about a single leader, or leader worship.

It is Authoritarian states, for instance, the Juntas of South America or Cold War Africa, where one man has the power, and the ideology is leader-worship. In Totalitarian states, ideology is everything, and ideology is so, so much more than leader worship.

I bring this up because several people have claimed that Communism is not a Totalitarian ideology. Marxism and its descendant branches are quite clearly totalitarian in my view - Kropotkin et al, probably not. Marxism is about perpetual class warfare to overturn society and recreate it it a totally new utopian vision. One has to wonder in these revolutionary, all-inclusive ideologies, where the space for disagreement lies.
 

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Thanks for reading! Apologies for any errors. I hope that portions of this post were helpful to many of you. I greatly enjoy political theory and love seeing how everything fits together. I'm afraid much of this may seem dry as I found much of my humor or creative writing would have been... well, biased. ;) Cheers!

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Wow great job summarizing!! A little more bias and humor wouldn't have hurt if you ask me, but I'm sure someone would have been offended. :crazy:
I'm from Sweden but I took Political Science last year in the US. It was really confusing to me, as I'm sure it is for a lot of people. Luckily I had a pretty good text book. :happy:
 

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I think it's a flawed view of totalitarianism to say that totalitarianism is about a single dictatorial rule. In my most totalitarian states this has simply not been the case; the longest-running totalitarian country, the USSR, was anything but ruled by one person (with the exception of Stalin's 20 year reign) and was more like competing Government agencies, much like Nazi Germany, who all proclaimed they were acting for the greater benefit of the State Ideology, be it Communism or Racial Purity or whatever. If you want to call Red China totalitarian, the same is also true of Red China. North Korea is another totalitarian state but we can't accurately judge what goes on inside North Korea because it's so closed.

DPRK is a perfect example, actually. What Kim Jong Il says is law is law. But he doesn't have the time to micromanage the nation; his Government bureaus do, and they all interpret his word differently, all in line with the State Ideology, in this case Juchism. So I don't think Totalitarianism is at all about a single leader, or leader worship.

It is Authoritarian states, for instance, the Juntas of South America or Cold War Africa, where one man has the power, and the ideology is leader-worship. In Totalitarian states, ideology is everything, and ideology is so, so much more than leader worship.

I bring this up because several people have claimed that Communism is not a Totalitarian ideology. Marxism and its descendant branches are quite clearly totalitarian in my view - Kropotkin et al, probably not. Marxism is about perpetual class warfare to overturn society and recreate it it a totally new utopian vision. One has to wonder in these revolutionary, all-inclusive ideologies, where the space for disagreement lies.
I see what you're saying. I tried to use terminology which reflected the ability of a totalitarian state to exist under group rule and I believe you're correct, historically it has usually taken this form instead of really being under some sort of specific "Wizard of Oz." I would still suggest that an individual like Kim Jong Il or Adolph Hitler serve (at the very least) as figureheads: the total representation of national ideology possessing total guidance over national agenda. It seems that such a structure is kept in place through mass propaganda which builds up the image of the State and these men in the minds of citizens.

As far as Communism goes, I really do not see how Marxism is clearly a totalitarian ideology. Certainly, if it can grow large enough, it has nearly always been practiced in a totalitarian fashion, as I said in one of my notes. As far as I know, a clear tenant of Marxism is the eventual death of the State. That would make a totalitarian governmental structure impossible. One glaring problem with this is that once a communist proletariat has gained control of the State apparatus it has never decided to complete this "transitional" phase and give over the reigns of its power. So the revolutionaries end up becoming the greedy, power hungry bourgeois they once hated so much.

One has to wonder in these revolutionary, all-inclusive ideologies, where the space for disagreement lies.
Within Marxist communism there seems to be no space for disagreement as the unethical middle class must be torn down from their "high pedestals" and their property turned over and redistributed among the lower class.
 

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Libertarian Anarchist here.
 

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I propose a system for socioeconomic organization that would best fit the label "socialism with market elements," but I'm as of yet undecided on the exact political system. While I definitely envision a free society in terms of speech, expression, sexuality etc., I'm undecided on how democratic the political system should be. I'm distrustful of the judgment of the masses, however I also see the potential pitfalls of creating a purely autocratic legal structure. As such I like the general idea of a hybridization of meritocracy and democracy, but with far more meritocracy in the mix than current western governments. I'm toying with many ideas for the details of implementing such a system.
 

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high five all you liberals and libertarians ! :tongue:

the rest of ya, what are you playing at? lol...

No seriously, you can choose what you want...

Oh did you hear my new joke?

Right... Conservatism.... What? that's it, that's the joke...

What do you mean you don't get it? I don't get it either, that's why I'M A LIBERAL!:tongue:

ah, *puts corn in mouth, sits back on the porch* it's good to troll...
 

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oh bummer, i thought this poll will show which types prefer which.
 

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Well, I'm fairly young at this point. What do /I/ really know about the complex systems that govern us? :\
But childhood - 13: Democrat ; 13 -16: Socialist 17: Conflicted; I was introduced to the Libertarian Party. 18: God knows what the heck I am at this point. I think I'm still conflicted, since I'm torn between the "we should all share" and "people work hard for their money and property"... ._.
 

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once upon a time, conservative. now, socialist.
 
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