PowerPoint developed for lectures on Political Theory and Ideology and delivered to PS 240 Introduction to Political Theory at the University of Kentucky, Spring 2007 by Dr. Christopher s. Rice, Instructor.
Criticisms of ideologies (Robert Putnam, APSR 65, Sept. 1971)
They provide ideas reflecting people’s private interests rather than more universal, public interests. More specifically, ideologies are the “weapons of the ruling class” – ideas that allow the most powerful members of society to maintain their dominant status.
They are based on paranoia, or irrational fears about the motivations and powers of some “evil” opponents, leading to (a) simplistic evaluations contrasting the forces of evil (“them”, the other) against the forces of good (“us”), (b) intolerance of everyone who does not believe precisely as “we” do, and (c) an unwillingness to bargain and compromise with “them”.
They assert a moral and political absolutism, dogmatically insisting on certain principles and behaviors and demanding conformity to their “truths”.
They are extremist in that they reject the established political, social and economic institutions and the stable benefits provided by these institutions.
The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it.
A set or system of ideas whose function is to justify and legitimize the rule of a dominant class in society
the “legal, political, religious, aesthetic or philosophic” principles which reinforce capitalist society
Marx didn’t believe his own ideas were ideological…
a relatively coherent set of empirical and normative beliefs and thought, focusing on the problems of human nature, the process of history, and socio-political arrangements
a fairly coherent and comprehensive set of ideas that explains and evaluates social conditions, helps people understand their place in society, and provides a program for social and political action
The Triadic Model of Freedom (from Ball and Dagger, Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal ) B. OBSTACLE A. AGENT C. GOAL
Sin – i.e., oppression or indifference to suffering. Equal dignity and respect for all. Christians Liberation Theology Racist beliefs and attitudes. Black pride, power, and dignity. Black People “ Black Power” Homophobia. Gay power, pride, and dignity. Gay men and women Gay Liberation Sexist beliefs, attitudes, and stereotypes. Power and respect for differences. Women Feminism (Women’s Liberation) Legal and institutional discrimination. Equality of Opportunity. Women Feminism (Liberal) “ Inferior races,” humanitarian ideas, class divisions. Racial Supremacy; “1000 Year Reich.” The Aryan Race Fascism (Nazism) Individualism, independent groups, class divisions. The power and glory of the state. The Nation-State Fascism (Italian) Class divisions, economic inequalities, unequal life chances, “false consciousness.” Fulfillment of human needs, e.g. satisfying work, fair share of product. The common/ working people Marxism Radical ideas, innovation, passions, desires, lack of restraint. Order, stability, harmony, continuity. Interconnected Individuals Conservatism Laws, customs, or conditions which block individual choice. To live his or her own way, without undue interference from others. The Individual Liberalism OBSTACLES GOAL(S) AGENT(S) IDEOLOGY
“ The left/right continuum…is itself ideological. It serves the purpose of bestowing a moderate or, respectively, radical or even dangerous aura on an ideology. It suggests that to move among ideologies can be a gradual process, and it indicates that ideologies are mutually exclusive and hence offer clear-cut alternatives.” - Michael Freeden