Political Ideologies

Political ideologies are sets of political values held by individuals regarding the basic goals of government and politics.

Liberalism, for example places emphasis on individual political and economic freedom. Liberals seek to maximize freedom for all people, including free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association.

Liberals also believe that citizens have the right to disagree with state decisions and act to change the decisions of their leaders. Communism in contrast to liberalism, generally values equality over freedom.

To eliminate inequalities and exploitation, communists advocate the takeover of all resources by the state that in turn will insure that true economic equality exists for the community as a whole. Socialism shares the value of equality with communism but is also influenced by the liberal value of freedom.

Socialists accept and promote private ownership and free market principles, but also believe that the state has a strong role to play in regulating the economy and providing benefits to the public in order to ensure some measure of equality. Fascism also rejects the value of equality and accepts the idea that people and groups exist in degrees of inferiority and superiority.

Fascists believe that the state has the right and responsibility to mold the society and economy and to eliminate obstacles (including people) that might weaken them.

No strictly fascist regimes currently exist, but fascism still is an influential ideology in many parts of the world.

The last ideology is religion. Most societies are secularized, so that religious leaders are usually not the same people as political leaders.   However, when we consider our core countries, we find that the British monarch is formally the head of the Anglican Church (the state religion).   Iran bases its entire political system on Shia Islam and in Nigeria; religious law (Sharia) is an important basis of legitimacy in the Muslim North but not in the Christian south.