Follow TV Tropes


Quotes / Political Ideologies

Go To

Liberals dream of equal rights,
Conservatives live in a world gone by,
Socialists preach of a promised land,[...]
Unionists tell you when to strike,
Generals tell you when to fight,
Preachers teach you wrong from right,
They'll feed you when you're born,
And use you all your life.

Democracy, as the sagacious Aristotle had observed, was the government of the mass of the people, who were, on the whole, poor. The interests of the poor and the rich, the privileged and the unprivileged, are evidently not the same; even if we assume that they are or can be, the masses are rather unlikely to consider public affairs in the same light...This was the basic dilemma of nineteenth century liberalism...devoted as it was to constitutions and sovereign elected assemblies, which it did its best to sidestep by being non-democratic, i.e. by excluding the majority of male citizens of state, not to mention the totality of their female inhabitants, from the right to vote and to be elected...What indeed, would happen in politics when the masses of the people, ignorant and brutalized, unable to understand the elegant and salutary logic of Adam Smith's free market, controlled the political fate of states?...Politicians might resign themselves to prophylactic extensions of the vote while they, rather than some extreme left, could still control it. This was probably the case in France and Britain. Among conservatives there were cynics like Bismarck who had faith in the traditional loyalty — or, as liberals might have claimed, the ignorance and stupidity — of a mass electorate, calculating that universal suffrage would strengthen the right rather than the left. But even Bismarck preferred to run no risks in Prussia (which dominated the German Empire) where he maintained a three-class franchise strongly skewed in favour of the right...Manipulation in the crudest sense was still easy. One might, for instance, place strict limits on the political role of assemblies elected by universal suffrage. This was the Bismarckian model, in which the constitutional rights of the German parliament (Reichstag) were minimized. Elsewhere second chambers, sometimes composed of hereditary members as in Britain, voting by special (and weighted) electoral colleges and other analogous institutions put brakes on democratized representative assemblies. Elements of property suffrage were retained, reinforced by educational qualifications ... Such 'fancy franchises' as the British called them, were reinforced by the useful device of gerrymandering or what Austrians called 'electoral geometry' — the manipulation of constituency boundaries to minimize or maximize support for certain parties...Patronage, as American city bosses knew well, could deliver voting blocs: in Europe the Italian Liberal Giovanni Giolitti proved to be the master of clientelist politics. The minimum age of voting was elastic: it ranged from twenty in democratic Switzerland to thirty in Denmark, and was often raised somewhat when the right to vote was extended. And there was always the possibility of simple sabotage, by complicating the process of getting on to electoral registers. Thus in Britain it has been estimated that in 1914 about half the working class was de facto disenfranchised by such devices."
Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire, Page 85-87.

There are three pure types of legitimate authority. The validity of their claims to legitimacy may be based on:
1. Rational grounds — resting on a belief in the "legality" of patterns of normative rules and the right of those elevated to authority under such rules to issue commands (legal authority).
2. Traditional grounds — resting on an established belief in the sanctity of immemorial traditions and the legitimacy of the status of those exercising authority under them (traditional authority); or finally,
3. Charismatic grounds — resting on devotion to the specific and exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him (charismatic authority).
Max Weber

If we want to categorize the unprecedented violence and terror of the past century, we could just as well use templates that have less to do with left-wing or right-wing isms. Backward countries driven to modernize quickly were (and are) often scenes of repression and sickening mass killing, whether they were self-proclaimed Communists or not. In addition to modernization, one could use religion, nationalism, economic competition, or the technology of war to group the century's deaths. If we want to play this scorecard game with isms, we could post a huge number of deaths to the account of capitalist and nationalist competition, starting with imperialism and two world wars and ending with excess deaths in Yeltsin's democratic Russia.
J. Arch Getty, The Future Did Not Work


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: