When we look at the political culture of a country, much of what we consider as culture is evident in people’s attitudes. One could argue that people’s attitudes determine the government, but in some cases the government controls people’s attitudes. For example, in the wake of Vietnam and Watergate, United States citizens became cynical about their government. However, a decade later, those same citizens displayed patriotic fervor, when then President Ronald Regan talked tough and stood up to the United States’ nemesis the Soviet Union. An underlying component to political culture is legitimacy. Legitimacy is the government’s earned respect of its citizens. Regimes that are corrupt and unstable never win the peoples’ respect, and are therefore considered to have low legitimacy. Those that endure and govern well have high legitimacy. Regimes within governments attempt to make their legitimacy stronger, by influencing symbols. One symbol that is easily manipulated is ideology. Political ideology is a belief system to improve society. One way to influence symbols is through propaganda. Two of our core counties used propaganda to sway the masses in their perception of government.

Questions to consider:

How significant is propaganda to a country’s ideologies?