10:41:20 PM Jan 15th 2016
How come in the liberal section you have two paragraphs to describe the difference between classical liberalism and social liberalism and two paragraphs later you explain it again? The first one seems like it was added later by someone who wants to link classical liberalism with libertarianism and social liberalism with socialism.
03:19:29 AM Jan 16th 2016
It was probably me. I'm particularly guilty of that kind of error. Then again, it could well be someone else. This page has a lot of editors. Either way, I'll fix it.
12:38:55 PM Jan 17th 2016
That last paragraph in liberalism seems to contradict the rest of the section on liberalism.
01:03:33 PM Jan 17th 2016
I don't see any contradiction there, it's just clarifying slight nuance and exceptions in classical liberalism in terms of social intervention. Ideology will have exceptions and contradictions even in classical liberalism.
01:22:34 PM Jan 11th 2016
'Libertarianism' is the US term for Classic Liberalism. UKIP, the FN, the Pirate Party, and the Australian Sex Party are political/pressure groups and not ideologies. They chop and change elements of different ideologies to further their own ends. Does anyone else know what centrism is? It sounds like conservatism, only even more vague and ill-defined.
10:20:02 PM Jan 15th 2016
edited by jate88
edited by jate88
Classical liberals and libertarians both put a lot of trust in free markets and are skeptical of government being handed a lot of power but there are differences. Libertarians believe government doesn't have the right to collect taxes and government is only needed for police,courts, and the armed forces. Classical liberals don't have a problem with taxes and are willing to grant a larger role to government. That is what ratwiki and the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy say anyways. I am no expert on the subject. I guess libertarianism could be considered a subset of classical liberalism.
03:18:06 AM Jan 16th 2016
IIRC Classical Liberalism is opposed to government taking on roles other than maintaining the armed forces and courts, and adding the police to that equation was very controversial...? ...that encyclopedia's section about Libertarians sounds dodgy. Sure, no Classical Liberal likes taxes or a non-tiny government. But how on earth could they expect a government to maintain those services without money - printing it?
11:15:10 AM Jan 17th 2016
edited by jate88
edited by jate88
So where do people fall who believe government should provide a large number of public services but don't believe government should do anything to specifically help the poor? Maybe people who believe in a large number of the roles government can play but don't believe government should do anything specifically to help the poor are conservatives.
11:27:15 AM Jan 17th 2016
Garden variety conservatism. Preserving old systems and reforms but opposing to take it to the next level. I.E. Republicans who grumble about social security but admit they can't do anything to take it away, no matter how much they dream and bluster about doing so. Welfare programs are pretty popular and once put in place is pretty hard to take away as presidents Nixon (who refused to repeal Lyndon Johnson's Great society programs) or Eisenhower (who supported the New Deal) found out. As for centrism. It's not really an ideology, it's just a pivot in any party and ideology. You can have centrist communists for instance, who care less about ideology and utopianism than day-to-day government. Nikolai Bukharin and Deng Xiaoping for instance can be considered such types.
09:29:20 AM Jan 19th 2016
@MAI 742 Centrism is a rejection of left and right politics, instead taking what you like from both. Most Centrists are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
09:47:25 AM Jan 19th 2016
What you identify as "Centrism" is Blairite and Clintonian Third-Way: neoliberalism or rephrased classical liberalism. "Rejecting Left and Right Politics" is linguistic sophism at best and Golden Mean Fallacy at worst. "Fiscally conservative" and "socially liberal" is libertarianism which is not a realistic political platform, at present.
08:29:06 PM Jan 19th 2016
The right wing views views inequality as natural, inevitable, and/or desirable. The left wing wants to abolish inequality. These terms date back to the French revolution. Centrism is defined in this context.
09:21:51 PM Jan 19th 2016
Centrism didn't exist in the French Revolution as an ideology of real consequence. After Thermidor, the Directory tried to be proto-centrist but had no popular backing and had to rely on the army to solve problems. When one Old Liberal, Abbe Sieyes felt it was too unstable, he decided to plot a military coup and asked this Corsican general Napoleon Bonaparte to give him a hand...which he did provide. We are now two centuries past 1789. Things changed in that time you know. Ideologies had to adapt in order to survive. The Left today in most western countries is not really on board with revolution, for all that it adopts the postures and memories of old struggles. The Right has accepted the status quo of universal suffrage, rights to women and minorities, all of which it had once opposed strenuously. So you can say that both Left and Right are centrist today, or that they are fighting to claim hegemony over the centrist pivot. That's what is happening in America today at any rate. But fundamentally you have two different views of "the centre", one side sees the centre as compromise/other side sees the centre as adaptable. You can maybe cite Otto von Bismarck as a centrist. He was a conservative who issued "top-down" revolution and re-order, provided voting rights and welfare. In Germany, they tried to issue The Moral Substitute for these things and co-opt some of the fire from radicalism with reform.
09:34:09 PM Jan 19th 2016
edited by jate88
edited by jate88
09:52:31 PM Jan 19th 2016
I don't quite follow...what does Noble Savage have to do with this? I am not attacking the Left at all. I am merely describing stuff as it has happened and as it happens today. What you describe as Centrism is merely Old Liberalism or Classic Liberalism. The Left never really had a political voice until the Classic Liberals co-opted some of their ideas and values. In the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was elected because he opposed the extension of slavery into new states. That was a moderate position in the Republican party at that time and it was enough for the Confederates to declare secession when they lost the election. It was that polarized. It was only radical republicans in the party who were abolitionists and hardcore egalitarians. Eventually Lincoln shifted towards their side. Much later, FDR took the democrats, formerly a very corrupt and conservative (and racist) party towards social democracy with Serial Numbers Filed Off during the New Deal (Roosevelt was very particular to keep "social" out of any descriptions). The Republican party, initially very leftist (a kind of American equivalent of the French Jacobins) decayed from 1876 unto the 1930s. The idea of Centrism, that is bi-partisan/non-partisan good governance, social liberalism is essentially Platonic. The center always tilts one way or another.
10:25:48 PM Jan 19th 2016
Well the idea of the Noble Savage does seem to be behind the idea that equality is bad but I guess that's irrelevant here. I think you're confusing ideologies with organizations. Yes the republican party started out liberal and became conservative over time while the democratic party started out conservative and became liberal over time. Liberal and conservative are ideologies that people and organizations(like democrats and republicans) hold. Left and Right are the names for ideologies referring to equality. Those ideologies exist even if you change the name of them.
10:47:00 PM Jan 19th 2016
Okay, glad to get that clear. In that platonic sense of Left-Right division, a centrist ideology would be that of limited egalitarianism, stopping short of consequential wealth redistribution and definitely against agrarian reform of any sort. It would be Bread and Circuses initiatives similar to the British Parliament's reform bills in the 1800s which were carefully timed to dial down revolutionary tensions. It's also similar to the original New Deal whose success and goals were political rather than economic. You had increased wages for workers and so on, but radical measures like say, progressive income taxation (which the economist Thomas Piketty is trying to put on the table as a realistic liberal goal, it used to be among the original proposals of the Communist Manifesto and an idea put forth by Robespierre) was anathema to them. Centrism in this context is classic liberalism/libertarianism. I mean the Reform Bills in the Parliament were ultimately implement by the British Conservative party. So in this sense you can see how these measures are bi-partisan and cuts across party lines, and as such merit the label "centrist". Most politics since the 80s neoliberalism and its Third-Way alternatives tend to be centrist, but then overall all parties have shifted to the Right of their original positions. Historically England is very much centrist in politics (they abolished slavery but fully compensated slaveowners which didn't happen in America for instance, but then neither of the them dreams about reparations to slaves or descendants of slaves). In the economic sense, parties tend to be centrist but politically it's very polarized.
11:12:40 PM Jan 19th 2016
edited by jate88
edited by jate88
I just assumed the left contained the socialists, social democrats, anarcho-socialists, and social liberals while the right contained the conservatives, libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, and classical liberals.
11:36:36 PM Jan 19th 2016
edited by JulianLapostat
edited by JulianLapostat
Not always. Since you mentioned the French Revolution, well the original Jacobins who are mischaracterized as a proto-Bolshevik party, were big on capitalism and "liberty of market". Robespierre described equality as a "chimera" and the Jacobins repressed hardcore proto-socialists and those who were left of them. The Jacobins believed in institutions and reforms even when they went in a radical left direction. They branded wealth redistribution as "meritocracy" platforms that ex-Jacobin, Napoleon would put in his dictatorship. The Radical Republicans of the American Civil War likewise saw their measures in similar lines (though obviously they didn't cite the Jacobins who had become discredited then), they were pro-capitalism, free-labour ideologues. The Jacobins nonetheless introduced universal male suffrage, equal rights for minorities, abolition of slavery, and government intervention to support businesses. So they were to the Left of the French National Convention, the American Founding Fathers and the British Parliament, and any royal government of Europe. Socialism, Social Democrats and Social Liberals evolved in the 19th Century when a lot of the originally radical Jacobin positions became absorbed and co-opted by the classical liberals and even conservatives. After all the Jacobins introduced universal male suffrage, which Bismarck introduced from the top-down. Today's self-calling socialists and social democrats are generally to the right of their early 20th Century counterparts. Many of them adopt moderate and Third-Way policies. So there are huge shifts.
02:54:14 AM Jan 20th 2016
Could today's socialists and social democrats still be considered left of center?
03:11:08 AM Jan 20th 2016
On certain issues yes, but not on others. Bernie Sanders, self-proclaimed democratic socialist, for instance is pretty much the same as Obama as far as foreign policy goes. He hasn't said much against Drone Warfare for instance. Domestically, he's more on the left. Sanders is also on the right of Jeremy Corbyn who is the only real Leftist politician in the Anglosphere mainstream. Today's democrats are probably on the right of Nixon and Lyndon Johnson, but compared to the Republicans, they come off as hardcore leftists, as would Nixon and even Reagan himself. Obama is a Clintonian third-way guy, albeit a little more to the Left than the Clintons, the Bushes and slightly more left than Reagan but not by much
02:20:44 AM Jan 21st 2016
Please do not use discussion pages for political debates, thanks.
05:56:01 AM Jun 17th 2016
Is there even a foreign policy stance that logically follows from a certain ideology? Trotsky for example was über-hawkish because he believed in spreading communism. Stalin tried to cut deals with the Nazis and the West. In general there have been hawkish leftists and dovish right wing people and vice versa... The 1848 revolutionaries in Germany were way more Hawkish than the King of Prussia at the time...
06:38:19 AM Jun 17th 2016
edited by JulianLapostat
edited by JulianLapostat
Historically, benign foreign policy measures, i.e. non-interventionism, anti-expansionism (but not anti-war) tend to fall under conservatism, obviously the old landholders don't want to share property, so the only way for the ambitious to gain land is new territory and conquests. Julius Caesar was a populare, i.e. on the left wing of The Roman Republic and his foreign conquests of Gaul was opposed by the Boni (i.e. aristocratic right-wing senate who refused any and all proposals of reforms and clamped down on dissent). The Boni massacred and defeated the Gracchi, populares (and descendants of Scipio Africanus) whose platform was mostly the fact that the poor soldiers and conscripts who won glory in Rome got nothing and they, Gaius Gracchus especially, distributed wealth among the poor by means of colonies in conquered territories and new settlements. In the age of colonialism and imperialism, the Whig Party of England were far more gung-ho into imperialism and British expansionism than the Tories. And in America, the American age of expansion of settlements West was taken by Andrew Jackson's party that arose in a populist common man appeal. In France, the liberal centrists under Tocqueville, Jules Ferry and others (republican, anti-monarchist, anticlericists) were very much into "mission civilatrice" in Algeria and elsewhere and Albert Camus was quite defensive about the pied-noirs and generally not on board with the decolonization train as Sartre and Beauvoir. In England, John Stuart Mill, a great liberal, defended the East India Company's actions during 1857 and the imperial enterprise. As far as left-wing anti-expansionism goes, Robespierre and Marat were probably the first to identify and oppose war as a distraction for revolution and critiqued any righteous justification for conquest. The 1792 War (without which you would have no Terror and Napoleon) was proposed by Girondins (and backed by the King and Queen) who were republican populists and was backed in the name of "spreading the revolution", and this war of expansionism was supported by the likes of Thomas Paine (who also wrote pamphlets to "hypothetically" invade America for Napoleon back when he was a citoyen-general, in the hopes to bring Revolution to America). The Jacobins were largely opposed to world revolution. Rosa Luxembourg and Vladimir Lenin in their opposition to World War I invoked the Girondin-Jacobin debate as a reference point in the anti-war movement, seeing it as a distraction to revolution, but at the same time both of them despite differences were for world revolution. In England, Marx was an anti-imperialist and anti-expansionist, and later Charles Bradlaugh, a real radical was the first to propose and defend Indian independence in parliament. In America, the Radical Republicans opposed the Mexican-American War futilely, and further expansionism...and Franklin D. Roosevelt offered support for decolonization. So I would say that foreign policy has historically cut across ideology, and has always been intricately connected to domestic policies.
03:39:58 PM Jan 4th 2016
edited by jate88
edited by jate88
Ratwiki describes the same splits for libertarians that this article describes for liberals. Well the human rights vs utilitarian split exists anyways. It also says libertarianism relies on the split between positive and negative liberties which not all philisophers agree exist.
12:24:21 AM Dec 31st 2015
edited by jate88
edited by jate88
So the split between natural law liberals and utilitarian liberals is the deontological vs utilitarianism debate from normative ethics? Also it says these ideologies have seen their hey day in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Does this include environmentalism and feminism?
08:26:15 AM Apr 16th 2014
The current layout is lame. I could accept putting the entries in boxes, but as they were initially, without all that splitting. Nationalism and Feminism are rather poorly written. Not to mention I have some objections when it comes to naming them as separate political ideologies alongside with the rest.
11:23:14 PM May 6th 2014
Very much agree. I thought this was a really good and even-handed article until recently, but there seems to have been major rewrites as of late that have made it a lot worse. In the liberalism section, for instance, it now opens with claiming that liberals believe that people have to be "oppressed" by governments in order to be free in other respects. Similarly, Nationalism probably shouldn't be considered a seperate political ideology, and Feminism definitely not so - they're beliefs about society that tend to be adapted to various political ideologies rather than political ideologies in themselves. I actually removed the Nationalism section yesterday - partly due to the problems mentioned above, partly because it was terribly written, being basically a harangue against a ridiculous strawman version of nationalism - but a "moderator" of some sort restored it for unspecified reasons. If it was indeed a moderator who did that, I strongly urge him to reconsider. If we absolutely must have a seperate section for Nationalism it should at least be extensively re-written (read: everything in the section removed and rewritten from scratch).
01:59:37 PM Jun 1st 2014
Wow. The feminism section has been re-written by someone who not only clearly knows next to nothing about it, but is adamantly positioned against it. It's fine if you disagree with the topic being described, but what's not fine is to re-write what's meant to be a descriptive article so as to criticize the subject. Most of what's been added is either flat-out factually incorrect, or simply badly explained. It now reads as if penned by an MRA who lost an argument to a feminist and wanted to vent. Just giving a heads up that its going to be reverted back to how it was.
01:36:33 PM Jun 26th 2014
Huh. The 'boxes' thing is just lines, I'm guessing? I'm afraid I'm the hapless fool who included Nationalism and Feminism. If those articles (still) have problems, then that's my fault. I agree that Nationalism and Feminism don't really stand up on their own and are always mixed with other ideologies, but then again... neither does Conservatism, and not including Conservatism would be unthinkable. Once again I must thank Kronos Kid for editing and being prepared to edit the 'Feminism' section of the 'Useful Notes: Political Ideologies' article for mistakes and ideological bias. I have encouraged and now encourage again Kronos Kid to indulge their interest in this ideology by improving the section on it along the lines I have suggested to them in private messages. I hold great hopes that they will be able to fix the article's current weaknesses (basically it needs more explanations and detail, could do with being a bit simpler, and suffers from We All Live in America), now that my 'penned by an MRA [Male Rights' Activist...?] who lost an argument to a feminist' ( XD ) stuff on the ideology has been wholly destroyed - and good riddance too, if I was as ignorant as I have been told I am. -_- One new thing I must note is that we're missing the inception of the ideology - its earliest roots, definite origins, and great thinkers/proponents. The article on Nationalism has the same problem...
11:36:18 AM Oct 25th 2014
So, I decided to take a look at this page after a couple of months. Actually didn't hope the issues will be resolved, merely that the turd will get some polishing. But no, somebody added "Environmentalism". Environmentalism, yeah, perhaps there is some program it has beyond "we have to protect the environment"-style add-on to standard left-wing policies that so far has been slipping my attention. Nationalism turns out to be like fascism, except worse (fascism seems to be less into random ethnic cleansing). You could make a bullet point about the nationalistic strain in every folder, from conservatism to anarchism, while I'm at it. On the other hand, I'm actually quite surprised that the description of Christian Democracy isn't along the lines of "relijun BAAAD". Hmpfh. If you want my opinion — leave those which clearly are separate strains of political thought, of the rest, dump what you can as subsets of those. (What is the feminist stance on or definition of the state, by the way? Can you say? Exactly.) As for the article's Ameri-centricity, to be honest I kinda accepted this as the cost of the wiki being Anglophonic. So, here's my rant. If I see something moving (not that I expect it, of course), I may do some work. Not going to do it out on my own, can't say I'm sure enough of myself. Not to mention, it smells just a bit too much like baiting the mods.
09:29:32 PM Oct 30th 2014
lordGacek stuff like Feminism and Enviromentalism (which when I read political theory books is normally described as Ecologism, but whatever) aren't sub-sets of other political ideologies. They tend to be classed as Post-Modern ideologies, mostly because they have vastly different focus' then the classical ideologies of liberalism and such. To answer some of your (rhetorical) questions: Ecologism does have more to it then simply "we have to protect the environment", just as Liberalism is more then "folk should be more free" and socialism with "people should be more equal". Those are more statements of intent. Now I'm super fuzzy on Ecologism (as green politics bores me) but that there's a split in Ecologism of "light green" and "dark green", which among other things is a disagreement over how incompatible the contemporary capitalist society is with maintaining a ecologically sustainable society. As for Feminism and the State, while Feminism takes a lot from Marxism in terms of ideas in terms of power and the state they swipe from the Post-Modernist thoughts of Foucault. Essentially Foucault argued that there are multiple sites of power outside of the state, everything from the home to the classroom reflected power structures. Feminists essentially run with this, the structure of the state isn't important, the structure of the power relations between men and women is what's key. It's one of the things implied by that famous statement "the personal is political", how the state is structured or its base of legitimacy doesn't matter if societal structures oppress women. What I'm trying to show is that these are separate ideas, as much as any ideology can operate in a vacuum.
03:38:04 PM Nov 6th 2014
You know, on second thought, I should have taken a more "meh" kind of a stance. If this article moves from the old "how main political ideologies came to be" style to "what a consumer of fiction should know of political ideologies", then I guess I should not see a reason to complain about that. So, whatever.
03:14:47 PM Dec 4th 2014
Is there any reason why 'the history of ideologies' can't be a part of 'what ideologies are and have been'? Ideally we'd have so much on each and every ideology we'd have a separate page for all of them, laconic and quotes pages and everything. ...okay, maybe that'd be a bit much. But I find the addition of this new information a lot more, well, informative and useful.
12:07:10 AM Aug 18th 2013
Is it me, or people here are just confused with liberalism with libertarianism?
01:26:02 AM Jun 25th 2013
I have to wonder how much the split between Anglo-Enlightenment and Continental-Enlightenment and the philosophies generated therefrom (Liberalism and American Traditionalism versus Socialism and Fascism) either influence or are influenced by the split between the Anglo Common Law and the Latin Civil Law. (As a side note, the lines between the Adversarial System and the Inquisitorial System are similar, and are likely the offshoots of the Common versus Civil divide. Still, these methods of trial could be used to explore the logics inherent in Anglo-philosophies versus Continetal Philosophies.)
02:13:47 PM Apr 22nd 2013
This article is dauntingly long and pedantic. If we're going to host an article like this on this wiki at all, at least let it be a good, simple summary of political philosophies typically seen in fiction, rather than A Complete History of Political Thought. The quality varies as well. The Marxism article is tight and well-written, though long and we don't need every flavor of Marxism. The section on Conservatism is awful (too much history and high theory, and much of the section is a critique of the philosophy rather than a description of it). The section on social liberalism needs to be split off from classical liberalism. American conservatism is correctly identified as a coalition of many ideologies, but they're grouped in with European conservatives who share little in common other than opposition to the Left. Having much smaller sections would help. Just give a quick, simple, Good Parts Version of the topic, maybe three short paragraphs, and then a link to The Other Wiki. This doesn't need to be a dissertation.
07:58:51 AM Apr 7th 2013
I completely overhauled the section on Marxism, as I personally was not satisfied with it. I thought I would post a quick justification for such. 1. Marxism cannot be reduced simply to economic determinism; this is vulgar Marxism at best. Friedrich Engels explicitly stated that calling historical materialism economic determinism was an oversimplification. (And Engels himself is generally seen as one of the more scientific and determinist Marxists...) 2. The former article claimed that machines are “capital”. While true, it implied that machines are the only form of capital which is incorrect. Money and commodities are also capital. Also, capital is a social relation in Marx rather than a thing per se. 3. “Marx argued that the collapse of feudalism came from the enraged peasantry who had finally had enough and rebelled against their aristocratic masters.” – I don’t think this is correct. Marx seems to focus on the bourgeoisie as the revolutionary class in the transition of feudalism to capitalism. Also Marx had a negative view of the peasantry, seeing them as a reactionary class. 4. there was no list of different Marxist schools (unlike for anarchism) and I thought it could have been clearer with a list. Though there’s still some gaps – would be nice if someone who knows about Maoism & Titoism could go into a bit more detail? I found it easier to rewrite it pretty much completely rather than work from the original.
02:05:51 PM Apr 7th 2013
Make it more concise, and break it up. At the moment it's one big block of text that's gonna be awfully hard to read. Try to describe the basic tenets as separate short paragraphs. I'd suggest making it so the section on Marxism does not overwhelm the rest, else it looks like other kinds of socialism are glorified footnotes — perhaps the initial section can be expanded, for example with an insight on the development of socialist ideas?
09:17:05 AM Mar 14th 2013
edited by AlterEgo
edited by AlterEgo
I was thinking of adding a Web Original section under each ideology to include famous political and economic blogs and other online resources. Some examples: Liberalism EconLog by Bryan Caplan, David Henderson, Garret Jones and several other guest bloggers. A subsection of the Library of Economics and Liberty, the posts in this blog discuss a wide range of topics from a radical classical liberal perspective. Some bloggers (Caplan and Murphy) describe themselves as anarcho-capitalists, but the blog itself never becomes that radical. Marginal Revolution by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok. Both Cowen and Tabarrok are also proponents of classical liberalism, although they are notably more moderate on economic issues than the bloggers of Econ Log, especially Cowen. [[krugman.blogs.nytimes.com The Conscience of a Liberal]] by Paul Krugman. As the name implies, Krugman writes on current political topics from a social liberal perspective. Has been changing a lot through the years, with Krugman leaning far more to the left and becoming increasingly vitriolic and critical of Republican politicians. Socialism Marxists Internet Archive A collection of archives and texts that could be of interest to several marxists. These range from Marx's Capital, Che Guevara's Motorcycle Diaries and even Keynes's General Theory (not that he was a marxist). Anarchism Free Banking by several authors. An economics blog which almost exclusively discusses free banking and decentralized currency supply. Its subject and the general distrust of the Fed and government institutions of its bloggers has tones of anarcho-capitalism and radical classical liberalism. Also note that the blog strongly opposes a full reserve gold standard. The only problem that I see with this is that everyone could just go and add its own blog to the list, nothing that couldn't be prevented with appropiate moderation.
08:08:57 AM Apr 7th 2013
For Marxism: Economics:
11:13:08 PM Sep 16th 2012
edited by CassandraLeo
edited by CassandraLeo
Is it worth trying to separate social liberalism from classical liberalism? They really don't have all that much in common, and having them grouped together makes the "Works that promote..." section way more confusing than it probably needs to be.
03:36:23 PM Jan 10th 2013
Yeah, the "Works that promote Liberalism" has people that were quite opposed to one another politically.
07:33:36 PM Jan 6th 2012
Should "capitalism" have its own section? It's described in a roundabout way in most of the other sections, but for the most part only in terms of what it isn't. It also seems to me that the "socialism" section is the only ideology that is entirely focused on economics, and a "capitalism" section (which is also entirely focused on economics) could act as a sort of counterpoint to that in the same way the "liberalism" and "conservatism" sections are to each other.
04:44:03 PM Jul 4th 2012
edited by AlterEgo
edited by AlterEgo
(I realize it's a little late to reply, but I'll do it anyways) Capitalism itself is not a political ideology, it's an economic system which appeared as the natural consequence of implementing liberal policies in the 18th century. The article takes a more philosophical approach to the various political ideologies instead of an economic one. For more detailed articles on capitalist and socialist economics, see Capitalism and Socialism. Also, the article refers to political ideologies by their non-American names, so the sections on Liberalism (which in the american context means Social Democracy and in the rest of the world denotes libertarians of the bleeding heart and minarchist sort) and Conservatism (which in the US can be used to refer to classical liberalism and, well, conservatism) aren't really written as a counterpoint to each other.
04:44:03 PM Jul 4th 2012
edited by AlterEgo
edited by AlterEgo
EDIT: Thanks a lot, Telcontar, but now I think I could use the space to make some suggestions (I don't have an edit account): 1- The Baroque Cycle and Crypronomicon, both by Neal Stephenson, deserve to be in the liberalism section. In the latter case it's a little bit more arguable, since the classical liberalism themes are not as central to the storyline as they are to the former. 2- The book's title is definitely misleading, but Anarchy, State and Utopia by Robert Nozick does not advocate anarcho-capitalism, but minarchist classical liberalism. Nozick spends a third part of the book defending the minarchist position by introducing the concepts of risk and compensation, which he uses to show that a stateless society can develop into a minimal state society without attacking individual rights. 3- Penn and Teller's Bullshit should probably go in the liberalism section, but to be honest, I haven't seen much of the show. 4- Metal Gear Solid 2 should go in the liberalism section too.
01:15:44 AM Jan 15th 2012
Maybe it could be a sub-section of conservatism, as in people who either want to preserve authority and/or privileges or restore or establish them in the case of a monarchy not existing already.
03:20:46 PM Dec 4th 2014
Monarchism/Carlism is important, it keeps cropping up well into the 20th century. I'd say it used to be an ideology in its own right, back before it was seen as the norm/status quo... i.e. before the 16th century in Britain? I really don't know about its origins, I confess.
01:26:22 PM Nov 7th 2011
Just here to comment that this is an excellent article; it's one of the best summaries for the different political ideologies I've seen on the web, striking a good balance between detail and readability. Awesome work, Tropers.
04:46:21 AM Oct 30th 2011
Does anyone else think this article should probably be divided into several separate articles ("Liberalism", "Conservatism", "Socialism", "Fascism" & "Anarchism") rather than all being on the one page? I mean, I realise there are links between the different sections, but each section is mostly self-contained and would only require some minor cosmetic rewriting to insert links. Maybe this page could remain as a sort of index thing with links to all the separate articles, and those articles would be listed on the main Useful Notes index page with indented bullet points (like how "Amish", "Mormonism" and "Orthodox Christianity" are listed indented underneath "Christianity").
02:29:12 AM Nov 18th 2010
edited by StudiodeKadent
edited by StudiodeKadent
Proposed Text for Fascism Section It has been suggested above that Fascism needed a section. Here's my first draft. Please provide feedback. —-start of text—- Like Socialism, Fascism is also a complicated ideology to define, albiet for precisely the opposite reason that Socialism is. Here are a few proposed definitions. Out of all political ideologies, Fascism is the one considered the Complete Monster and thus it has devolved into a term of abuse, with all other ideologies strenuously denying any similarities with it. As a result, codifying a series of essential characteristics that make a society Fascist is very difficult to do without setting off a Flame War. Ultimately, Fascism has a significant number of philosophical similarities to Socialism (indeed, Benito Mussolini was a former Marxist, and Adolf Hitler referred to his ideology as National Socialism). The most obvious similarity is a strong rejection of individualism, and thus all forms of Liberalism. What distinguishes Fascism from Socialism is that the relevant class is not economic status but rather nationality and national identity. Arising from a Continental Counter-Enlightenment philosophical context (for instance, such thinkers as J. G. Fichte, Hegel, and Martin Heidigger (the latter being an actual member of the National Socialist German Worker's Party)), Fascism argues for an organic conception of a nation with the State seen as the embodiment of the national spirit. Whereas Marx replaced Hegel's Zeitgeist with the prevailing economic system, Fascists replace Hegel's Zeitgeist (or "spirit of the age") with the spirit of the nation. Individuals are seen, fundamentally, as products of the nation (this is similar to Marxian methodological collectivism, but with nationality as the relevant factor, rather than economic class). This results in a veneration of not just the nation in abstract, but practices seen as fundamental to national identity. This results in (like Conservatism) a reverence for tradition. Traditions are seen as important rituals that connect people to the national spirit. As such, Fascism tends to support social policy positions regularly called conservative. However, these policy positions are conservative in the Oakshottean sense of the term; they are considered the right policies because they are consistent with national traditions, rather than because of any pre-existing moral commitments (indeed, many argue that ethical relativism (i.e. what is good for Nation X is not necessarily good for Nation Y) is an integral part of Fascism and a logical consequence of Fascism's belief in "national spirits"). Indeed, to a Fascist, a moral commitment that "pre-exists" inside an individual's mind independently of said individual's nationality is a ridiculous notion; as stated before, Fascism belives individuals are 'socially constructed' by their nationality in the same way that Marxism believes individuals are socially constructed by their economic class. The most infamous element of Fascism is Fascism's support for Social Darwinism of various sorts. In Mussolini's ideology, a level of internal "creative tension" within the components of the nation was seen as beneficial in directing competitive desires towards the service of the State. Hitler's version of Fascism (National Socialism) believed in a "Master State" where all components of society obeyed the State, but instead posited an evolutionary struggle between various races. We all know where this led so further elaboration is not necessary. Things get more complicated when outlining Fascist economics. Since Fascism is used as an epithet and it is popularly believed that if Fascists did it, then it is bad, a long intellectual battle has been waged over how to characterize the economics of Fascism. Typically, the term "Corporatism" is used to describe Fascist economics. The term comes from 'corpus' (Latin for 'body') and describes a situation where large economic institutions (including representatives from industry bodies, labor groups and the like) are "brought into" the apparatus of the State's economic planning. The State exercises ultimate control, however, over these groups and whilst there is nominal private ownership of the means of production (stuff used to make other stuff), this is contingent upon service to the State. Fascist governments also engaged in price fixing and collusion with various economic bodies including industry cartels (fascism even advocates forced cartelization of the economy), labor unions and the like. This can be both compared and contrasted with State Socialism (a form of Socialism where all the means of production are owned by and controlled by the State). Fascist economics gives the State a similar measure of control over the means of production, but foregoes the ownership element. Many Classically Liberal critiques of Fascism have argued that ownership of the means of production without control of it means that Fascism is ultimately a variant of State Socialism (indeed, that "ownership without control" is a senseless, inherently illogical notion). Fascist economics can also be strongly contrasted with the laissez-faire free market economics favored by Classical Liberals. Whilst both feature private ownership of the means of production, this is only nominal under Fascism, since the control of the means is still ultimately granted to the State. Additionally, Fascism features a State with strong regulatory powers intervening in the economy for the national good. The mixed economies favored by some Conservatives, some Social Liberals and some forms of Socialists have some similarities to Fascism in the advocacy of a strong central regulatory State. Additionally, many mixed economies contain elements of fascism, such as cartelization and involvement of specific extra-governmental economic institutions as part of government decision-making processes (such as labor unions) and regulatory design.
05:28:44 AM Nov 26th 2010
edited by Fireblood
edited by Fireblood
I definitely agree that both anarchism and fascism deserve their own sections here. Anarchyis Chaos contains some description and discussion of anarchism, while your proposed section on fascism also looks good to me. Following your lead I'll enter this proposed anarchism section here. The definition of anarchism to most people means "belief that government is bad and shouldn't exist." Howerver, while all anarchists do hold something like this, it is not the only or in most cases even essential part of their ideology. Anarchism is the belief that rulership should not exist (as indicated in its Greek roots, an- [no] -arkhos [ruler]). While the words "anarchy" and "anarchism" arose in the mid-1600s during the English Civil War as an insult hurled at fringe radical groups (some of whom were close to this) it did not become a coherent trend of thought until the turn of the 19th century. Some view the English radical William Godwin as the first philosophical anarchist, from his work Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners (1793)in which he espoused proto-anarchist views about the state and then-emerging economic order in England. French writer and politician Pierre Joseph Proudhon was the first to call himself an anarchist however, with the book What is Property? (1840) from which came the famous slogan: "property is theft." Proudhon argued that property, except when based in possession (i.e. actual occupancy and use) was theft. His reasoning was laid out exhaustively in What is Property, with (most) anarchists since accepting it, though the modern Anarcho-Capitalist and Agorist trends do not. However, in the 19th century through to the mid-20th opposition to "private property" (anything distinguished from possession) was universal to anarchism. Along with this they opposed sexism, racism, classism and social hierarchy generally. Proudhon did not in fact oppose the free market, supporting workers associations (cooperatives) and mutual banks (similar to modern credit unions) to compete away industrial capitalism. His school of thought is thus termed Mutualism. Mikhail Bakunin, a Russian prince turned radical writer and exile, followed Proudhon and broke with him on many issues, supporting collective work without markets and workers' self-management. Bakunin also linked opposition to religion, especially organized, hierarchical forms, to his view of anarchism. He was a strong rival of Marx in the First International, and the two fought a long ideological battle before Bakunin's followers were expelled from it by Marx's. Bakunin's school of thought is Anarcho-Collectivism. Pyotr Kropotkin, another Russian prince who like Bakunin gave it all up for radicalism, advocated full communism on the principle "to each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" although with voluntary, direct democratic participation. Meanwhile, in the United States a very different brand of anarchism emerged. With such American writers as Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner, William Green and others, it set out an ideal very close to Proudhon's, with even more emphasis upon an "anti-capitalist free market" in which self-employed craftsment, artisans or farmers were paid their "full wage", land title was possession-based only. Essentially, they held the Labor Theory of Value along with support of free markets-"cost is the limit of price" was among their well-known slogans. This school of thought is known as Individualist Anarchism, slowly fading away into the late 19th century as Social Anarchism (i.e. Collectivist or Communist Anarchism) took over with immigrants from Europe bringing it. The turn of the 20th century saw another trend, which advocated using revolutionary unions to overthrow capitalism and the state using militant industrial organizing, sabotage, working-class solidarity and possibly a general strike. It was less a separate school of thought than tactical view, since followers were invariable Social Anarchists of the Collectivist of Communist form. This is called Anarcho-Syndicalism from the French word for labor union-"chambre syndical." The Spanish Revolution, often pointing to as their greatest (albeit doomed) triumph by Social Anarchists, utilized this in the CNT (Spanish acronym for National Confederation of Labor), which organized a worker's revolt in 1936 following the military coup led by Francisco Franco against the Popular Front government. The CNT-FAI (Iberian Anarchist Federation) ran much of Spain, centered in Catalonia, on anarchist lines with no small success for the next three years until the revolution was crushed by Franco. The issue of Capitalism is a divisive one for Anarchists, although this is partly due to terminology. Most anarchist literature, and most anarchists, define "Capitalism" in the Marxist sense of the term (i.e. capital is owned by party X, and party X pays wages to parties A, B and C to operate said capital). However, the term "Capitalism" is also commonly defined by non-anarchists (and by most self-proclaimed "Capitalists") as "free market economics" (i.e. when all economic activity must take place within the realm of consent and contract and thus outside the realm of the State). Most anarchists consider the two meanings to be separate concepts, with "Capitalism" being used in the Marxist sense and "Free Market" being used to refer to the second definition. For the remainder of this article, "Capitalism" and "Free Market" will be used in the Anarchist senses of the term. Therefore, someone can be both anti-Capitalist and pro-Market (i.e. arguing for a society of self-employed people interacting and exchanging on a purely voluntary basis; the Mutualists and Individualist Anarchists share this position). On the other hand, someone can be pro-Capitalist and anti-Market (arguably, Mussolini-style State Corporatism fits this). Hence, the original anarchists from Proudhon on were opposed completely to what they called "capitalism" but the modern anarcho-capitalists (obviously) are not. The school of Anarcho-Capitalism emerged in the 1950s-1960s with the writer, economics professor and Libertarian Party co-founder Murray Rothbard, expanded upon by later thinkers like David Friedman (son of Milton, although going much farther in his advocacy of capitalism). Rothbard felt, like the classical anarchists, that government is oppressive and illegitimate, but private property and free markets were good. Though admiring of the Individualist Anarchists, he followed the Austrian School of Economics, which is categorically in favor of what we (along with they) would have termed "capitalism." Along with this, Rothbard was far more devoted to classical liberalism and natural-rights theory than the Individualist Anarchists, who followed aspects of it. He felt that government services, such as police, militaries, courts, roads, etc. could be provided much better under the auspices of common law. Rothbard accepted voluntary collectivism and communism, even advocating that businesses funded by the state be expropriated or "home-steaded" as they used stolen capital. However, he certainly accepted property more than for "occupancy and use" provided this was homesteaded peacefully to begin with. Agorism is to Anarcho-Capitalism essentially what Anarcho-Syndicalism is to Anarcho-Communism, namely tactical, advocating using the black and grey markets to live "off the grid" and bring down the system from within. A brief description of the different (broad) anarchist schools of thought:
- Anarcho-Communism: The most popular movement, which calls for abolition of private property, corporations, and the state. Think "Imagine" by John Lennon. People produce whatever they want to for a common pool of resources, and everyone takes what they need from it following a consensus made in a direct democratic vote. It's assumed that what you'll get will be correlative to your cooperation, unless you are a too young/old to work, or you need special care. This system was in place in some parts of Spain during the Spanish Civil War and, believe it or not, it worked, until Franco's fascist regime took over. This is also known as Libertarian Communism.
- Collectivist Anarchism: Like Anarcho-Communism, but products are distributed according to work performed rather than need, through direct democracy.
- Mutualism: Original anarchist movement started by Pierre Joseph Proudhon, author of What is Property? which contains the famous "property is theft" conclusion-he was also the first to call himself anarchist. Before that it was an insult; hey, come to think of it...This was the first Free-Market Anarchist movement, but unlike today's Free-Market Anarchists, it argues for the Labor Theory of Economic Value. Mutualist Anarchists believe that when labor or its product is sold, in exchange, it ought to receive goods or services embodying the amount of labor necessary to produce an article of exactly similar and equal utility. They accept money and private property as long as it's actually being used by the owner. Mutualism, owing to its embrace of the Labor Theory of Economic Value, supports democratic cooperatives of workers who own the means of production, instead of traditional capitalist bosses.
- Individualist Anarchism: A movement (very similar to Mutualism) of US origin focusing more on a society of independent craftsmen owning their own tools and thus free of employer domination. Like Mutualism it held to the Labor Theory of Economic Value. Individualist Anarchists supported worker cooperatives if they wished, but with the provision each part of it be held separately, thus a worker could leave and support themselves if necessary. The rise of capitalism and the anarcho-communist reaction eclipsed the Individualist Anarchists, though some exist. This was what most people knew as Free Market Anarchism, along with the Mutualists, until:
- Anarcho-Capitalism: Anarcho-Capitalists (the modern Free-Market Anarchists) are essentially Individualist Anarchists but instead of advocating the Labor Theory of Economic Value, they advocate the Subjective Theory of Economic Value (which has been accepted by nearly all economists since Walras, Menger and Jevons). As such, they do not see Capitalism as inherently exploitative; rather they see an employment contract as no different to any other form of contractual relationship. Anarcho-Capitalists also reject the view that "big business" and "big government" are enemies of each other; rather they see the former as a force that benefits from having 'friends in high places' and the latter as more than willing to bestow privileges and special favors upon the former.
- Agorism: Agorism is a movement related to Anarcho-Capitalism, but not quite. Agorists hold as a revolutionary goal the development of freely-competing, market producers of law and security through non-aggressive black market activity, which will eventually drive the state out of existence. In fact, this is precisely what sets Agorism apart from other forms of anarchism.
- Ecological Anarchism: Similar to Anarcho-Communism, but with a higher emphasis on respecting nature. The more radical forms of this, like Anarcho-Primitivism, believe that civilization is inherently oppressive, and wish to abolish industrial technology, agriculture, writing etc., returning to a primitive (hence the name) existence as hunter-gatherers.
- The little problem that the planet Earth could feed just about 5 million humans when they were at the hunter-gatherer stage is rarely if ever mentioned. What are they planning to do with the other 7 billions?
- Egoist Anarchism: The reason why the Bomb-Throwing Anarchists trope exists. Basically, they believe that anything that an individual can do, should be done. Also known as Nihilist Anarchism and Project Mayhem. Here is a classic text by Situationist International, advancing a collectivist form of egoism.
- Anarcho-Syndicalism: Focuses on the power of non-statist organizations like workers' associations and unions to limit the government. Related most often to Anarcho-Communism and Mutualism. This was the way it was done in Anarchist Catalonia.
- Philosophical Anarchism: The belief that state control and violence are related closely, so an anarchy is the most pacifist-friendly kind of society. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was one of these. Also known as Anarcho-Pacifism. Definitely badass pacifists and complete inversion of Bomb-Throwing Anarchists.
- Christian Anarchism: Related to the above, this is the belief that the teachings of Christ are compatible with, or even require, a non-hierarchical stateless society. They also argue that early Christian Communes were basically anarcho-communist in nature.
- Anarcho-Feminism: Movement for women (especially led by anarcho-communist Emma Goldman) popular in the early twentieth century, that proclaims that governments are inherently male-dominated, and that anarchist societies will be more egalitarian in nature.
- Queer Anarchism: Same as above, but replace "women" with "sexual minorities" and "male" with "heterosexuals".
- Post-Left Anarchism: A movement within anarchism that rejects left-right political distinctions.
- Agorism, as mentioned above, is more of a theory of revolution than an ethical system.
10:04:53 AM Nov 26th 2010
Fireblood, Great section on Anarchism. However, I think you should place the section about the different definitions of "capitalism" much closer to the start of the article. You should also emphasize that being in favor of free market economics is a commonality with Classical Liberalism. Additionally, you should clarify that the specific difference between old-school free market anarchy (Individualist Anarchism and Mutualism) and new-school free market anarchy (Anarcho-Capitalism) is that the former subscribe to the labor theory of economic value and the latter subscribe to the subjective theory of economic value. That is the core difference (and is why Rothbard et. al. don't consider wage labor to be exploitation). Another way you could describe the Individualist Anarchists is that they wanted a society where everyone was a Capitalist in the Marxist sense of the term (i.e. every person owned some means of production, i.e. tools, machines etc.). Also, you should emphasize that the Austrian School is not necessarily pro-Capitalist in certain ways. Austrians are in favor of Laissez-Faire free market economics, but the Marxist and Anarchist definitions of "Capitalism" are broader concepts than this. For instance, fascism is considered "capitalist" by orthodox Marxists even if the State exercises more-or-less-complete control of the means of production. Austrians universally reject fascism, being classical liberals. Also, Austrians don't advocate any specific form of firm structure; if a group wants to start a Mutualist-style association where the capital is owned collectively, and this agreement is voluntary, I don't see any Austrian being able to object. Otherwise I greatly appreciate your section on Anarchism. I'll put up the Fascism section. I'm glad you approved of it.
06:15:18 AM Dec 28th 2010
I am not sure if Fascism should have a section here at all, because, compared with Liberalism, Conservatism or Socialism, it is very much a fringe movement. Indeed, I can't think of any present-day political organization that calls itself fascist - while liberal, conservative and socialist parties are everywhere. Fascism is a subset of Nationalism. It would be better to have a section here on Nationalism, with maybe a paragraph or two about Fascism. But as long as there is a section on Fascism, I must object to the way you have written it. You section would be better named "The Libertarian interpretation of Fascism". It seems entirely concerned with finding parallels between Fascism and Marxism. This is utterly unfair to both Marxists and Fascists, who see their respective ideologies as polar opposites. If we decide to keep the section, I intend to edit it substantially to explain precisely why that is. For starters, Marxism supports equality while Fascism supports hierarchy... But first things first: What do you think about scrapping the Fascism section and replacing it with one on Nationalism?
06:41:22 AM Dec 28th 2010
As a Marxist, I feel I should also explain why we consider fascism to be capitalist, regardless of how much a fascist state may control the economy. The degree of state control over the economy is NEVER the main dividing line between economic systems in the Marxist view (this is also why we don't equate socialism with state ownership). According to Marxism, the essential feature of capitalism is the existence of profit. To be more exact, the essential feature of capitalism is that there are some people who own the means of production and other people who work with the means of production, and the first group is able to take away some of the value produced by the second group. Whether the first group is also capable of deciding precisely how to use the means of production is less important. In other words, the fact that capitalists make a profit is essential; whether they are regulated by the state or not is far less important. In a fascist economy, profits continue to exist. Therefore a fascist economy is capitalist. The state may decide how the means of production are to be used, but that is irrelevant. As long as there are some people who earn profits, those people are capitalists and the society as a whole is capitalist. I know you have a different definition of capitalism. That's fine. The point is that it is incorrect for you to say that Fascism and Marxism are close to each other because they share a common support for the state. You say that because, in your ideology, support or opposition to the state is an important dividing line. In our ideology it isn't. Support or opposition to profit (or property income in general) is the thing we really care about. That is why Marxists can share a kinship with anarcho-communists, while being utterly hostile to fascists.
12:31:53 AM Dec 29th 2010
edited by StudiodeKadent
edited by StudiodeKadent
Veshy, Whilst you are correct that Fascism is a relatively fringe movement, it has been a very influential movement on the political thought of Western civilization. It should be included here. "Nationalism" or National Self-Determination is not the same thing as fascism and it isn't in and of itself a political ideology. It is obviously an essential component to Fascism (i.e. "national selves") but it doesn't say much beyond that. I am aware of the Marxist definition of Capitalism. Indeed, I described it in the Socialism section. And yes, I agree with you that your understanding of Marxism is correct. As for Fascism and Marxism having similarities, I should add that the entire section is not preoccupied with finding common ground between Marxism and Fascism. The fact is that there is common ground philosophically speaking. Both are products of German Idealism (Hegel-Marx being the Marxism angle, and Fichte-Hegel being the Fascism angle). Both are indeed ideologies which see a dominant role for the State (albiet Marxism believes the State will whither away eventually). Both are collectivist and both are against classical liberalism. I am more than happy to clarify further the difference between Fascism and Marxism. Your point about profit is indeed valid and I will insert it into the article. I have always aimed for this article to be neutral. UPDATE: I have included a section in the Fascism section which outlines the Marxist critique of Fascism. I believe it is fair and factual.
08:39:16 AM Jan 4th 2012
I think fascism is still important, merely without the name. As someone commented earlier, modern mixed economies are in part fascist, at least in the economic sense, since they combine private ownership with a large element of government control. And the internal politics of such societies has a large nationalist element, reflected in terms such as "competitiveness"—it is largely taken for granted, for example, that China's economic growth somehow threatens the U.S. Note also that many Americans who claim to favor equality and helping the poor, in particular the labor union left, oppose freer immigration—because they see it as hurting lower income Americans, and the benefit to the much poorer immigrants doesn't count. Going back a little further, FDR's first New Deal was fascist, again in the economic sense, although much of that was abandoned pretty early on. So fascism ought to be included in the discussion, with the point that the label is rejected by almost everyone, but the substance isn't. There is a related but more complicated point that I think needs to be made about socialism. In some contexts, most notably the U.S., "socialism" is seen mostly as a negative term, broadly applied by people to other people with whom they disagree. In other contexts is is seen as a positive term, again applied broadly, but this time by people to themselves. Both of these patterns make it difficult to offer any definition of "socialism" that actually fits how the term is used. The economic sense—government ownership and control of the means of production—provides a fairly clear definition, but one that misses a lot of the reasons why some people call themselves or are called socialists. In particular, it leaves out welfare state socialism, in which the means of production are privately owned and controlled but the state engages in large scale income redistribution.
07:19:21 PM Jan 6th 2012
edited by LorienTheYounger
edited by LorienTheYounger
"Welfare state socialism" is a conservative buzzword, not a real form of socialism — it's a pejorative term applied against social liberalism, regulated capitalism, and basically anything with more government economic involvement than completely laissez-faire capitalism would have. As what you've described as "welfare state socialism" has the means of production privately owned and controlled, it's therefore still capitalism.
03:10:37 PM Jul 4th 2010
I think the Political Ideologies page should be expanded to include sections on Anarchism (there's already some useful discussion on the Anarchy Is Chaos page) and Fascism. Some discussion of Neoliberalism (pro-economic-globalization) would be useful. I also think the Conservative section could use some further development, especially with respect to American post-Goldwater movement conservatism. There is an interesting discussion in "Right Nation: Conservative Power in America," by conservative British journalists John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge: "The exceptionalism of the American Right is partly a matter of its beliefs. The first two definitions of "conservative" offered by the Concise Oxford Dictionary are "adverse to rapid change" and "moderate, avoiding extremes." Neither of these seems a particularly good description of what is going on in America at the moment. "Conservatism" — no less than its foes "liberalism" or "communitarianism" — has become one of those words that are now as imprecise as they are emotionally charged. Open a newspaper and you can find the word used to describe Jacques Chirac, Trent Lott, the Mullah Omar and Vladimir Putin. Since time immemorial, conservatives have insisted that their deeply pragmatic creed cannot be ideologically pigeonholed. But, in philosophical terms at least, classical conservatism does mean something. The creed of Edmund Burke, its most eloquent proponent, might be crudely reduced to six principles: a deep suspicion of the power of the state; a preference for liberty over equality; patriotism; a belief in established institutions and hierarchies; skepticism about the idea of progress; and elitism. Winston Churchill happily accepted these principles: he was devoted to nation and empire, disinclined to trust the lower orders with anything, hostile to the welfare state, worried about the diminution of liberty and, as he once remarked ruefully, "preferred the past to the present and the present to the future." To simplify a little, the exceptionalism of modern American conservatism lies in its exaggeration of the first three of Burke's principles and contradiction of the last three. The American Right exhibits a far deeper hostility towards the state than any other modern conservative party. . . . The American right is also more obsessed with personal liberty than any other conservative party, and prepared to tolerate an infinitely higher level of inequality. (One reason why Burke warmed to the American revolutionaries was that, unlike their dangerous French equivalents, the gentlemen rebels concentrated on freedom, not equality.) On patriotism, nobody can deny that conservatives everywhere tend to be a fairly nationalistic bunch. . . . Yet many European conservatives have accepted the idea that their nationality should be diluted in "schemes and speculations" like the European Union, and they are increasingly reconciled to dealing with national security on a multilateral basis. American conservatives clearly are not. If the American Right was merely a more vigorous form of conservatism, then it would be a lot more predictable. In fact, the American Right takes a resolutely liberal approach to Burke's last three principles: hierarchy, pessimism and elitism. The heroes of modern American conservatism are not paternalist squires but rugged individualists who don't know their place: entrepeneurs who build mighty businesses out of nothing, settlers who move out West, and, of course, the cowboy. There is a frontier spirit to the Right — unsurprisingly, since so much of its heartland is made up of new towns of one sort of another. The geography of conservatism also helps to explain its optimism rather than pessimism. In the war between the Dynamo and the Virgin, as Henry Adams characterized the battle between progress and tradition, most American conservatives are on the side of the Dynamo. They think that the world offers all sorts of wonderful possibilities. And they feel that the only thing that is preventing people from attaining these possibilities is the dead liberal hand of the past. By contrast, Burke has been described flatteringly by European conservatives as a "prophet of the past." Spend any time with a group of Republicans, and their enthusiasm for the future can be positively exhausting. As for elitism, rather than dreaming about creating an educated "clerisy" of clever rulers (as Coleridge and T.S. Eliot did), the Republicans ever since the 1960s have played the populist card. Richard Nixon saw himself as the champion of the "silent majority." In 1988 the aristocratic George H.W. Bush presented himself as a defender of all-American values against the Harvard Yard liberalism of Michael Dukakis. In 2000, George W. Bush, a president's son who was educated at Andover, Yale and Harvard Business School, played up his role as a down-to-earth Texan taking on the might of Washington. As a result, modern American conservatism has flourished not just in country clubs and boardrooms, but at the grass roots — on talk radio and at precinct meetings, and in revolts against high taxes, the regulation of firearms and other invidious attempts by liberal do-gooders to force honest Americans into some predetermined mold." In this Troper's view, while the above is a good general description, American conservatives today fall into several camps, which don't always see eye to eye on everything: Business Conservatives: Favor whatever is good for established business interests. Substantially bankroll the conservative movement with its think-tanks, wholly-owned media outlets, grassroots organizations, astroturf organizations, etc. Libertarians: Minimal government in all respects. Differ from business conservatives in that they are hostile to government regulation of industry, but also hostile to government subsidies, bailouts and sweetheart contracts. Represented by the Libertarian Party and many nominal Republicans. Neoconservatives: Foreign-policy hawks who want to spread the American democratic-capitalist system worldwide. They were very influential in the Bush Administration. Mainly an academic/intellectual movement with no mass base of support. Paleoconservatives: Populist, traditionalist, nativist, anti-immigrant, isolationist; hostile to elites, including both Washington elites and Wall Street elites. Economically protectionist and antiglobalization. Hostile to American military adventurism abroad. Represented by Pat Buchanan, "The American Conservative" magazine, and the America First Party. Religious/social conservatives or theocons: Much overlap with paleoconservatives, different in emphasis. Also differ on American support for Israel — paleocons are entirely against it, but many theocons are "Christian Zionists." Represented by the Constitution Party. White Nationalists: The fringe of the fringe, but not quite fringy enough to be ignored. Sometimes overlap with paleocons.
09:58:16 PM Jul 4th 2010
I agree that including anarchism and fascism would be a helpful idea. But Neoliberalism is, for the most part, a product of the classical liberal resurgence that took place in the late 20th century. It isn't even a separate ideology; as you said it is merely a support of freer trading on an international scale. Post-Goldwater conservatism is covered under the conservatism section, it is referred to as "Fusionism." Additionally, American "conservatism" (as stated in the article) is not an ideology but rather a political coalition of several different ideologies. The article is very clear that American conservatives disagree with each other, and that many of them aren't "conservative" in the ideological sense (i.e. Oakshottean). Further, libertarians are classical liberals (not conservatives) and their contributions to the classical liberal case have been discussed in the "liberalism" section. Again, please note that this article deals with ideologies, not political coalitions.
01:08:39 AM Jun 14th 2010
This is a lovely, well-written article, but certain groups get Strawman Political treatment via judicious use of "scare" "quotes." I don't want to edit what is clearly an individual's work too aggressively (it's very readable), but since the intent of the author appears to be neutral tone, I thought it worthy of mention.
05:45:41 AM Jun 14th 2010
edited by 188.8.131.52
edited by 184.108.40.206
Two glaring problems with the Socialism section, too, which I'm not going to fix since they're presented as pretty integral and I don't want to start an edit war. 1. "socialism's primary value is a society where all people are economically equal" Well, no. Market socialists would disagree *vehemently* here, as would most Orthodox Marxists. Even in the framework of Marxism-Leninism, socialism is supposed to represent a more rigorously meritocratic system than does capitalism — broadly, what you get is supposed to be proportional to the hours you work. Economic equity does not follow from this, at least if the unions are strong enough to haggle for leeway in control over hours. Which they are supposed to. A better definition of socialism's primary goal would be a broader one of class empowerment. I don't see class mentioned explicitly anywhere here, and it is absolutely fundamental to most (most!) prevalent form of self-professed socialism. Certainly the closest thing to a universal. So, as a sketch for a better intro, you're probably looking at 'Socialism = go workers, go!' In Orthodox Marxism and similar, those workers are specifically revolutionized industrial workers; in Maoism, revolutionized peasants; Social Democracy, (more on this later) reform-oriented politicians acting on the behalf of the working class in generall. 2. "The most well-known form of socialism is Marxism-Leninism..." No. In Europe and India at least (I can't vouch for South America. Sure, Che is big, but they were never actually red, and most recent governance has either social democratic or centrist) the overwhelming amount of the time the form most associated with the word socialism is Social Democracy, a tendency which parted ways with Communist Santa about 100 years back, before the Russian revolution and all that. Basic precept here is to try and introduce reforms that favour the working class (NB: something of a broader label outside the US) through the existing political structure, without overthrowing the bourgeoisie or even without having "economic equality" as a long term goal. The three biggest exemplars of this tendency off the top of my head will be:
- Labour Party (UK) — on-and-off ruling party of HM's United Kingdom for the last 90 years or so, recently kicked out of governance again. Social democratic, but with it's own internal splits. The last Marxist hangers-on, known then as the Militant Tendency and now as SPE&W, were ejected from the party in the 1980s. Never a Lenin fanclub.
- Dirigisme — French economic system that stretched from the end of WWII to roughly the late sixties. Not explicitly socialist, but coupled social democratic ruling parties with strong trade unions for a period known through nostalgia-goggles as the Trente Glorieuses.
- INC — Indian National Congress. Constitutionally democratic socialist/social democratic and currently India's largest party in parliament. This is a big deal, India being a big place.
- Socialism isn't about equality per se, more about improving the lot of the working classes.
- Democratic Socialism/Social Democracy has been massively more influential in Western & Northern Europe, Asia and (at present) South America than has M-L. Neither current has ever had much traction in the continental US in the last century, which might be the source of the confusion.
08:04:03 AM Jun 14th 2010
Man, I thought I was being as impartial and non-Americentric as possible! Go ahead and edit the article. I was relying on Wiki Magic to fill in the gaps anyway.
08:16:49 PM Jun 14th 2010
I wrote much of the article as it currently stands, and I don't see very much in the way of scare quotes. Most of the quotes are to refer to either titles of books or to distinguish between the concept and the word that labels it. There was certainly no intention to straw man any specific side. Regarding the points on socialism, I didn't specify economic equality as the overriding goal; that was on the original draft of the page and I merely expanded it. I should add, I think the part dealing with Marxism makes it very clear that Marxism is merely one form of socialism. Perhaps the socialism section should be split into subcategories? And by "most well known" I wasn't referring to "most commonly practiced these days," but when you say "socialism" a very large amount of people will probably think "communism" and Soviet Russia etc. Marxism-Leninism is probably the most infamous variant of socialism at least (unless one counts national socialism). It is completely correct that the majority of socialists these days are democratic socialists/fabian socialists/social democrats and believe in the peaceful use of the political process. I think this is mentioned in the article, although I didn't expand very broadly on it, I concede. I do support attempts to classify ideologies and describe their content in a fair and impartial manner, so if you have proposed alterations, feel welcome to edit them in or (if you want to play it safe) post them here for a quick overview by other members.
02:38:57 AM Jun 15th 2010
BS here again. Yeah, my only real point in (2) was that over here, the word "socialism" is more likely to trigger images of Mitterand or Tony Benn. But like I said, I can't vouch for South America. Any Argentine tropers in the house? Does a Marxism/Communism subsection seem like a good idea, here?
06:41:38 PM Jun 15th 2010
I agree there's certainly a case for a series of subheadings describing each kind of Socialism, with Marxism-Leninism as a subtype. That, or I can rephrase "most well known" to something more accurate. Perhaps "one of the most well known"?
12:41:30 AM Jun 20th 2010
220.127.116.11, I've implemented the changes you suggested. Specifically, I changed the primary value of socialism to what you suggested, as well as "most well known" to "one of the most well known". Thank you for your advice. I hope that you find the new version satisfactory. I'm hoping this page can be kept nice and neutral and fair to all sides.
06:20:33 AM Aug 31st 2010
On the differentiation between 'orthodox Marxism' and Leninism: Leninism most accurately refers to a set of organisational practices (collectively known as 'Democratic Centralism'), and not an ideological or methodological departure from Marxism. I could easily grab the quotes relevant, if someone wishes to dispute this, but I'm rather lazy at the moment.