Thursday, May 15, 2008


One of my classes this term is about political ideologies, where they come from, how they view humankind and the world. At the core of every ideology lies their view of human nature, what we are and are not capable of. Every belief and policy follows from that one thought. It's a very enlightening class. For example, a traditional liberal (not how we currently define by the way) would say that individualism is paramount, that people are capable of reasoning their morality and governing themselves. They would also say that social conditions are the result of individual choices and actions ("If you aren't succeeding, it's because you failed in some way"). A traditional liberal today would be more well-known as a Libertarian. A traditional conservative would say that humans are imperfect and fallible and that tradition tells us what is right and wrong. Change is not good because humans are likely to mess it up...better not to change. Now, a U.S. individualistic conservative (what we might think of as neocon) has alot in common with liberalism in their views on human nature. However, stability, as a value, is more important than liberty. "Liberty is good, but the world is a big scary place now and we need stability." Add to that the uber-emphasis on protection of personal property (including a way of life as that property), and alot of things start to make sense.

I don't fit neatly into any category (there are more) but can you imagine what it must be like to base pretty much your entire belief system on being afraid of the world? I realize that alot of the fear-mongering that goes on today is calculated, but it works because there are people really that afraid, including the ones spouting the fear. I just can't picture living that way. Learning about these ideologies helps me to understand better why things are the way they are, and where some people are coming from, but it doesn't help me to understand something that I so totally can't identify with.

We are currently looking at socialism, fascism and nazism (fascism+racism). I won't bring up how many of the components of fascism don't have much trouble blending with U.S. Conservatism. I don't know if I'm ready to believe that fascist elements have crept into our system (democracy is not an ideology), but there is enough evidence that a case could be made. When I have more time (after the term!), I may write on that one.

Today is the Blog for Human Rights Day, and I really haven't been moved by a specific topic or story that hasn't already been covered better by others. I got to thinking about these ideologies and how they determine what is and is not a human right, based on what belief system one holds. There really and truly is not a single definition of what a human right is. No wonder it becomes so easy to violate them
.And here is the rest of it.

1 comment:

brenda said...

Ideologies, sounds very interesting but also complicated. I guess learning more and understanding the facts would be time consuming but well worth it. I may do a little reading on this. I'm pretty curious now as to how this works, and how it could affect the way we feel and think.