What is an Ideology?
An Ideology is a set of ideas that links thought to action.
To be an ideology, a concept must be:
Not all “isms” are ideologies.
Veganism is an ideology (see http://www.vegan.org).
•Veganism seeks to explain why people today eat animal products and to
steer them toward what members view as a more humane approach to
•It provides standards by which people can evaluate what to eat and how
•The vegan movement can provide a source of identity for its members,
including dictating not only what they will eat but what clothes they will
wear, what food they feed their pets, and what political candidate they
Terrorism is an ism but not an ideology.
•Terrorism does not explain anything about the world. It is a means to an
•It is not a theory that helps us evaluate the world around us.
•It does not tell us what we should and should not do in certain
Democracy is an ideal—but not an
Nationalism and Anarchism comprise
different ideologies but are not
ideologies in and of themselves.
Ideology is not the same as scientiﬁc
theory because it is not empirical
Ideology does not describe
something that is, but instead seeks
Political ideologies are about
assessing human potential.
2 elements to this:
Who are we (human nature)?
What are we capable of (level of
freedom)? (pp. 9-11)
FREEDOM IS NOT UNIVERSAL. IT IS A CONTESTED CONCEPT.
McCallum says that every conception of freedom contains 3 components:
3.Barrier or Obstacle to Achieving Goal
The way each of these 3 components are deﬁned will differ based on the particular
ideology. Thus, each ideology has a different idea of freedom.
Agent = person or animal
Goal = respect of all life, animal and human
Barrier or Obstacle = Lobbying of cattle industry; Deliciousness of Big Mac sandwich
Agent = class of people
Goal = end of private property
Barrier or Obstacle = power of capitalist system; greed
Agent = all Muslims around the world
Goal = creation of global Muslim state
Barrier or Obstacle = converting non-Muslims; secularists
Agent = women and men
Goal = “equality” of sexes
Barrier or Obstacle = “Conservative” ideas about home and family; Religious mandates
Cold War (1945-1991)
Communism vs. Democracy and Industrial Capitalism
Self-identiﬁcation of world governments with regard to
democracy, as of March 2008. The only governments
not self-identiﬁed as democratic are Vatican City,
Saudi Arabia, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Brunei.