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POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES and The Political Spectrum. Social Studies 11. Learning Outcome. Demonstrate an Understanding of Political Ideologies and the Political Spectrum. This is what you need to know!. POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES.

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learning outcome
Learning Outcome
  • Demonstrate an Understanding of Political Ideologies and the Political Spectrum

This is what you need to know!

political ideologies

A political ideology is a belief system about a particular system of government that has specific guidelines

political ideologies1

While these political belief systems help us to classify and understand different forms of government, it is important to recognize that the theoretical definitions often do not exactly match the practices of actual governments

political ideologies communism

The ideas of communism are based on the theories of Karl Marx who thought that the masses of poor workers had been exploited throughout history by the wealthy landowners

political ideologies communism1

Belief: that eventually the oppressed working class would overthrow the rich upper class in a violent revolution

political ideologies communism2
  • The ideal communist setting:
  • A world with no private property
  • Shared ownership of land
  • Elimination of the ruling class
  • Complete equality for everyone
political ideologies communism3

Do you think these ideas are possible? Why/why not?

political ideologies communism4

No country has ever experienced true communism—in communist countries today, the government controls much of the business and industry, the media, and owns much of the land (on behalf of the people)

political ideologies socialism
  • Leading socialists of the past: Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Henri de Saint Simon
  • Many basic principles of communism are shared by socialists, such as public government control of land and resources
political ideologies socialism1
  • They also believe that major factories and industries should be owned by the community rather than wealthy individuals
  • They believe that change can come through peaceful, non-violent revolutions
political ideologies socialism2
  • Modern socialists generally allow for limited private enterprise
  • In Canada, the NDP party is considered socialist and traditionally supported workers’ rights, government ownership of resources and industries (crown corporations—BC Hydro…)and strong social programs such as Medicare, and social assistance
political ideologies liberalism
  • Classic liberals are considered to be in the ideological centre and support economic and intellectual freedom
  • They are believers in the “goodness” of human nature
  • They think that limited government intervention in the economy is desirable, but don’t want the government becoming too involved in everyday lives of its citizens
  • Social programs are seen as an important safety net to ensure that everyone has access to the basic necessities of life
political ideologies liberalism1

In Canada, the Liberal party would fall under this category, but depending on the leader and the MPs (members of parliament), the Liberals can be more right wing or left wing than traditional ideology

political ideologies conservatism

This is a slightly right wing ideology that has its roots in the Latin word “conservare” (to save)

Classic conservative believe strongly in tradition and approach major changes with caution. They tend to support private enterprise and economic freedoms (business for profit)

political ideologies conservatism1

They are also concerned with the preservation of strong community morals and values and may support gov’t censorship when perceived necessary

Conservatives are not as strongly committed to intellectual freedoms as liberals and feel that individual freedoms, such as speech, association, and expression must be balanced against the needs of society as a whole.

political ideologies conservatism2

They do not like government having too much economic influence and usually are in favour of lower taxes, fewer social programs, and fewer crown corporations

political ideologies fascism

This is an extreme right wing philosophy practiced by Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy.

Fascism was based upon strong nationalistic sentiments and was usually enforced by a very strong, and often oppressive, military or police force

political ideologies fascism1

Intellectual freedoms were limited, as the rights of the individuals were considered secondary to the glory and power of the nation

Limited economic freedoms were permitted, but the government tended to be involved in all aspects of society.

This term is still used to describe right wing, militaristic governments

political ideologies3


The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture.

In terms of Political Ideologies: it is a set of beliefs that form the basis of a political system.

vocabulary activity
Vocabulary Activity

Authoritarian (Regime) Authoritarianism: describes a form of social control characterized by strict obedience to the authority of a state (gov’t), often maintaining and enforcing control through the use of oppressive measure. Limited/restricted personal freedoms

vocabulary activity1
Vocabulary Activity

Democracy:a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting

vocabulary activity2
Vocabulary Activity

Tyranny: A gov’t in which a single ruler (a tyrant) has absolute power

vocabulary activity3
Vocabulary Activity

Public Ownership: Public ownership generally refers to enterprises, wholly or partially government owned. Public ownership is important at all 3 levels of Canadian government.

Federal: CBC, the Bank of Canada, CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing…), VIA Rail…

Provincial: BC Hydro, BC Transit, BC Lottery, Tourism;

Regional: Parks and Recreation, RDN (Regional District)…

vocabulary activity4
Vocabulary Activity

Private Ownership: when individuals, rather than the gov’t, own and operate their self-owned businesses and property; ownership by non-government entities

vocabulary activity5
Vocabulary Activity

Intellectual Freedom: It is the right to freedom of thought. Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this concept was developed out of opposition to censorship

vocabulary activity6
Vocabulary Activity

Intellectual Equality: It is the right to the same opportunities, non discriminant on race, gender, religion, education, sexual preferences, culture…

vocabulary activity7
Vocabulary Activity

Anarchy: a state of society without government or law; political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control

vocabulary activity8
Vocabulary Activity

Capitalism: An economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and the exchange of wealth is made and maintained by private individuals and corporations.

what is the political spectrum
What is the political spectrum?

The Political Spectrum is a way of modelling different political positions visually. Most political spectrums have a left and right axis, but many others are more sophisticated.


Take a look at the handout that you have been given. Although, this is an American model, it will help you understand the political spectrum. Take note of five characteristics from the Left and note their Right counterpart.

a politicians controversy
A Politicians Controversy

Environment vs. Jobs

(Left) (Right)

history french revolution
History: French Revolution

The Left supported

The Revolution and Change

The Right supported the King and Tradition

The political spectrum terms “left wing” and “right wing” began during the French Revolution in the French Assembly.

the left wing
The Left Wing



The Left Wing –Any person or party who is described as “Left” is in favour of social change and equality for all.

Descriptive Term: socialist or liberal.

the centre
The Centre

The Centre position on the spectrum tries to keep a balance between left and right..

the right wing
The Right Wing

The Individual

The Right Wing – Any person or party who is described as right wing is in support of tradition (keeping things the way they were) and expect their to be a social strata (eg. Rich and poor)

Descriptive terms: Conservative

what is your opinion
What is your opinion?

Vancouver 2010 Olympics


If you thought the Olympics was a waste of money, which could have been spent elsewhere, that is a typically left wing point of view.


I f you thought the Olympics were a good opportunity to show British Columbia off to the world, and a good business opportunity, that is a typically right wing point of view.

what is your opinion1
What is your opinion?

The Death Penalty (Capital Punishment)

Discuss your point of view with a partner


If you fully support the death penalty, that is a right wing point of view

If you oppose the death penalty, that is leftwing point of view

what is your opinion2
What is your opinion?

Cell Phones in the Classroom

what is your opinion3
What is your opinion?

The War in Afghanistan

political parties
Political Parties

In Canada when we have elections, there are a number of political parties to choose from…

all of these parties fall somewhere on the Political Spectrum

political parties left wing
Political Parties: Left Wing

Elizabeth May

Green Party Leader

André Bellavance

BQ Leader (interim)

Thomas Mulclair, Leader of the NDP

political parties centre
Political Parties: Centre

President Obama

Democratic Party (USA)

*USA would view Democrats as Left vs. Republican Right

Justin Trudeau

Liberal Party Leader

political parties right wing
Political Parties: Right Wing

Stephen Harper

Conservative Party Leader

Current Prime Minister of Canada

G.W. Bush (Ex-American President)

Republican Party (USA)

the extremes
The Extremes

Fascism: Extreme Right

Communism: Extreme Left

political spectrum alternate form
Political Spectrum: Alternate Form
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODJfwa9XKZQ
  • Take note of the following terms:
  • Anarchy
  • Oligarchy
  • Democracy
  • Dictatorship/Monarchy
  • Republic