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Political Culture and Ideology
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Political Culture and Ideology

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  1. Political Culture and Ideology Applying the Principles of the Declaration of Independence

  2. Major Themes of the Declaration of Independence Self evident truths We hold these truths to be self-evident Human equality All men are created equal They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights • Among these rights: • Life • Liberty • Pursuit of happiness Natural rights Purpose of gov’t To secure rights Measure of Justice Consent of the governed Whenever any form of gov’t is destructive of the security of natural rights Right of revolution • Prudence: • Long-established gov’ts shouldn’t be overthrown for “light and transient causes” • Experience: • Men are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves Limits to the right of revolution

  3. Political Culture • A general set of Ideas, attitudes and beliefs • Shapes a region’s politics • Political Cultures in the US may identify with certain principles in the Declaration of Independence • Political culture sometimes confused with ideology • Most communities in the US participate in at least one of the following: • Traditionalism • Individualism • Moralism

  4. Traditionalism Basic features Associated region Advantages Disadvantages Stability Predictability Laws and customs tend to remain constant • Strong attachment to long-established institutions • Preference for traditional ‘modes and orders’ • Suspicion of change • Family legacies The “Old South”: South Carolina North Carolina Virginia Tennessee Georgia Mississippi Alabama Louisiana Texas Inflexibility Lack of social mobility Tolerance of corruption in the public sector Hostility to reform Fatalism Examples: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” “You can’t fight city hall.” Uncontested elections Political Dynasties (Bush, Thurmond, Moncrieff, Kennedy)

  5. Individualism Basic features Associated region Advantages Disadvantages Opportunity Privacy Recognition of individual efforts Accountability • Strong belief in self-reliance • Preference for individual and independent action; free enterprise • Suspicion of public institutions • Resistance to regulation • “The Self-Made Man” The “Old West”: Wyoming Texas Colorado New Mexico Arizona Nevada Montana North Dakota South Dakota Isolation Lack of community support Intolerance of public sector involvement Tolerance of corruption in the private sector, provided one isn’t caught Examples: “You’ll get my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands.” “You’ve got nobody to blame but yourself.” Entrepreneurs, independent contractors “Caveat emptor”

  6. Moralism Basic features Associated region Advantages Disadvantages Community Accountability Active social support structures “safety nets” • Strong belief in community, “commonwealth” • Preference for formal community action • Suspicion of private institutions and interests • Strong regulatory presence “New England”: Massachusetts New Hampshire Connecticut Maine New York Pennsylvania Also prevalent in the Pacific NW and in capital cities • Intrusiveness • Tolerance of corruption in the public sector if it serves the “moral duty” of serving the commonwealth • Inaction unless initiated by community officials • High public debt; high taxes Examples: “Did you bring enough for everybody?” “We’re from the government and we’re here to help you.” Social Security, social welfare programs Public education programs

  7. Political Culture v. Ideology • Political Culture • A set of general attitudes, ideas and beliefs • Broadly informs and shapes a region’s politics • Ideology • A set of specific attitudes, ideas and beliefs • Provides or advocates a coherent plan for social, political, or economic action

  8. Examples of ideologies • Economic ideologies • capitalism • communism • globalism • protectionism • Keynesianism • monetarism • Market fundamentalism • Political ideologies • Libertarianism • Liberalism • Conservatism • Anarchism • Socialism • Fascism • Communism • Communitarianism • Statism • Social ideologies • Tribalism • Ethnocentrism • Nationalism • Feminism • Multiculturalism • Supremacism

  9. What ideology Is • A set of specific ideas, attitudes and beliefs • Provides or advocates a coherent plan for social, political, or economic action • Plan is consistent with, and is explained in terms of, the ideas, attitudes and beliefs held

  10. What ideology is not: • Ideology is not political culture • Traditionalists are not necessarily conservatives • Liberals are not necessarily moralists • Ideology is not partisanship • Democrats are not necessarily liberal • Republicans are not necessarily conservative • Ideology is not a policy position • E.g. Abortion • advocates are not necessarily libertarian or liberal • opponents are not necessarily conservative or libertarian • E.g. Immigration • “Open border” advocates are not necessarily libertarian globalists • “Closed border” advocates are not necessarily conservative ethnocentrists

  11. Comparative Ideology 1: Left and Right Wings Motto of the French Revolution: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (liberty, equality, brotherhood) Origins in the French National Assembly Advocates of Liberté and Fraternité, sympathetic to the ancien régime, sat on the right side of the room Revolutionary Advocates of Liberté and Egalité, opposing the ancien régime (the Old Order) sat on the left side of the room This distinction grafted onto the American Congress in the early 19th Century

  12. Left and Right: The Political Spectrum The most common comparative model of ideological preference in the US Left Wing Right Wing Communism Socialism Liberalism Centrism Conservatism Statism Fascism

  13. Comparative Ideology 2: The Political Compass ? • First suggested in Jerry Pournelle’s Doctoral dissertation in 1964 • Appeared in Meltzer, Albert and Stuart Christie. The Floodgates of Anarchy. (London: Sphere Books, Ltd., 1970) • Seeks to address limitations of the Political Spectrum • Describes two independent dimensions: • Moral: Individualism to Collectivism • Economic: Capitalism to Collectivism • Clarified for American audiences in 1971 by David Nolan • Economic Freedom v. Economic Control • Personal Freedom v. Social Control • Favored by those whose ideologies do not fit well with the Political Spectrum, especially libertarians • Widely used by online political actors, pundits & campaigners

  14. Limits of the Political Compass • Equates policy positions with ideology in their tests (See the Nolan Quiz) • Identifies attitudes on “personal” and “economic” issues • Does not identify organizing principles or the general purpose of government • Ill-equipped to distinguish moderates from extremists • communists from welfare liberals • anarchists from libertarians • fascists from conservatives • Does not distinguish one kind of “centrist” or “moderate” from another • Fails to identify some known ideological positions • Communitarianism • Anarcho-communism • Anarcho-syndicalism • Nazism (with its fascist rhetoric and anarchist means) • Unable to account for real linkages within its framework • liberal-leaning conservatives • conservative-leaning liberals • Assumes liberals and conservatives are opposites

  15. Comparative Ideology 3: Ideological Space • Suggested by Steven Kautz in 1995: “enduring controversies regarding the nature of popular government give rise to three distinct strains: • liberals (who love liberty) • democrats (who love equality) • republicans (who love virtue)” • Problems with Kautz’ formulation • Order more fundamental than virtue • Political “virtue” depends on the political order it inhabits • Kautz’ vision clouded by the American partisan/ideological debate • “Liberal” has different meanings inside and outside the US • “liberal” is an ideology • “democrats” and “republicans” are coalition political parties in the US • Alternative principles of ideological preference • Liberty • Equality • Order “Ideologies…map the political and social worlds for us. We simply cannot do without them because we cannot act without making sense of the worlds we inhabit.” Michael Freeden, Ideology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford UP, 2003.

  16. Liberty, Equality, Order • Widely held political principles • Regardless of expressed ideology • Held in different proportion by different ideological adherents • Ideologies can be identified by different proportional attachment to or rejection of these three principles • Suggests measurability • Attachment to: positive ideology • Rejection of: negative ideology • May be used to describe an ideological map with three axes • Liberty • Equality • Order

  17. LEO Space Three axial principles (Dimensions) Liberty Equality Order Six levels Describe distance from ideological center Centrist Moderate Ideologue Hard-Liner Radical Extremist

  18. Ideological Regions in LEO Space • L+E+O+ (Standard Ideological Preference) • L-E+O+ (Anti-libertarian) • L+E-O+ (Anti-egalitarian) • L-E-O+ (Anti-libertarian and Anti-egalitarian) • L+E+O- (Anti-establishmentarian) • L+E-O- (Anti-communitarian) • L-E+O- (Anti-libertarian and Anti-establishmentarian) • L-E-O- (Universal Opposition) • Most ideological preferences found in only 1st region

  19. LEO Made Simple Principle Centrist Ideology Moderate Ideology Radical or Extreme Ideology Libertarian Centrist Libertarian Left Libertarian Right Libertarian Anarchist Anarcho-Communist Anarcho-Syndicalist Liberty Liberal Centrist Liberal (US), Labour (UK) Liberal Egalitarian Liberal Communitarian Conservative Liberal Socialist Communist Equality Conservative Centrist Conservative Libertarian Conservative Conservative Communitarian Liberal Conservative Statist Fascist Order

  20. Other Ideologies in LEO • Communitarianism • Equal parts Equality and Order • Liberty subordinate • The Reagan Coalition • Equal Parts Liberty and Order • Equality subordinate • Thomas Hill Green’s Welfare Liberalism • Equal Parts Liberty and Equality • Order subordinate

  21. Critique of the LEO Model • Advantages • Identifies a wider range of ideologies than either Spectrum or Compass • Suggests linkages between ideologies • Renders ideological claims testable • Distinguishes mere negative opposition from true preference • Predicts accusations of extremism by opponents • Independent of policy position • Independent of partisan assumptions • Disadvantages • Complexity • Abstraction • Potentially awkward or unfamiliar ideological nomenclature • Posits potentially absurd ideological possibilities • Still unable to explain Nazism (fascist rhetoric, anarchist means)