Political Ideologies: Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism

Introduction

Political ideologies are values given to political, social, and cultural interactions by a large population in a given society. The values explain the principles governing the distribution of wealth, protection of the environment, creation of peace, and human rights. There are various political ideologies which vary in the application in different societies. Political ideologies discussed in this essay are liberalism, conservatism, and socialism.

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Liberalism

Liberalism advocates for the representation of people in the government, eradicate class privileges and gives responsibility to the state to protect each individual. Liberalism began in the 18th century, where social well being was achieved by implementing the law and making reforms instead of revolution. The advocates of liberalism were opposed to aristocracy and believed in self-governance. Self-determination rule and significance of an individual in a nation are the prevailing ideas in liberalism.

Liberalism supports human rights, free and fair elections, constitutionalism, and freedom of religion, free trade, and liberal democracy. Other ideologies have acknowledged and shared liberal ideologies. Among the traditions and variants within liberalism is social liberalism and classical liberalism.

Classical liberalism gained popularity in Western Europe, the United Kingdom, and America in the 18th century. Ideologies subscribe to a defined type of governance, society, and public policy that specifically suit an industrialized and urbanized society. Free markets, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press are advocated for in classical liberalism.

Social liberalism ideologies came after classical liberalism. Social liberalism includes social justice as modern liberalism. Social liberalist deems the state as responsible for addressing healthcare, economic, unemployment, and education needs of its citizens. Individuals in the state are allegedly entitled to civil liberties and human rights.

Liberalism in America was championed by John Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson. The ideology has seen black Americans with voting rights, women abortion rights, healthcare, gay rights, healthcare, education, and social welfare. A federation known as Liberal international has united and strengthened liberal ideologies. The federation advocates for environmental sustainability, human rights advocacy, tolerance, a sense of solidarity, free and fair elections, and social justice (What is liberalism.com 1).

Liberalism’s political role is to guard the progress of the individual who belong to groups with a common interest. It serves the people in government by enacting natural individual rights and moral law. Under natural rights, an individual is entitled to owning land.

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According to Riley (1) the individuals in the liberal state can confront injustices by making change in the government. The laws in society are derived from natural laws and liberated people from domination. Limited government is a concept of liberalism. Consequently, the state or the government has the duty to protect individuals. Thus, governments go to the extent of not punishing those who utter unfavorable words and protect those who are in danger of external threats. The government can be used as an enabling institution to improve the lives of its citizens. The belief is that, in liberalism, institutions and policies are for the common good of all.

Rationality is in the heart of liberalism. The government is believed to be competent to solve challenges in political, cultural and social areas. Individuals are capable of rationality. Capitalism, which advocates for free markets, goes hand in hand with liberalism. Protecting the powerless and minorities is a modern version of liberalism. Economic and social institutions are controlled to avoid discrimination. Liberalism bears societal change.

Conservatism

A governmental system where the maintenance of institution has minimal governmental interference and advocates for free enterprise is known as conservatism. The political and social system upholds traditional institutions and allows slow growth.

In line with Riley (1), the existing institutions are highly regarded and conservatists protect and ensure their continuity. The institutions have support from customs and traditions of the people. People are viewed as irrational. There is the belief that, human interactions are directed by supernatural powers. Conservatisms view human beings as unequal hence; the social hierarchies are part of the society. Another conservatism ideology is that individual needs to belong to a community as they become emotionally attached to others in their society.

Change in society is viewed as gradual and when it occurs, it is inevitable. Conservatisms seek constancy and continuity. Sometimes the conservatism advocates oppose modernism with an aim of retaining tradition and customary institutions. Change is treated with suspicion, hence; the existing institutions are valued and people resist change.

Hierarchy is acknowledged as part of society where the ultimate authority among humans is ruled by divine right. The human beings are irrational and so are the nations. Strong institutions are necessary to overcome the evil which exist in society. The leadership rests on aristocrats who are the suitable people to rule. Aristocrats, who are rulers, have authority and belong to the high status social class.

Individuals in society are responsible for their well being and possess individual liberty. The government makes policies and laws that enable individual exercise their freedom on their desirable goals. Individuals have the power to solve their challenges given than the individuals are empowered by the government to pursue interests.

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The conservatism is part of the right wing. There is authority in the political systems, where orders follow the hierarchical structure. The hierarchy is continued and passed on to new generations as the presented social order. Conservatism upholds the right to own property.

Since institutions are a source of capital, it is natural to have them. Innovation is therefore not welcome. Freedom is achieved when one accepts aristocracy; otherwise, freedom cannot be achieved. People strive to obtain freedom and any resistance is not welcome by the aristocrats therefore, violence has occurred in conservatism regimes. Consequently, democracy cannot be achieved. Democracy is government governed by an elected representative of the people.

Socialism

Socialism emphasizes common ownership of means of production, exchange and distribution of resources. The political system belongs to the left wing where equality, fraternity and liberty are upheld. Equality refers to a society without class and the wealth is distributed throughout for the welfare of the society. Fraternity is the brotherhood in society where people labor and live in unison in one community. Liberty denotes the right to dissent and freedom of speech.

Socialism supports egalitarian society, where resources and power are evenly distributed. They also believe in capital control in the market economic. The social system removes hierarchy in politics and economics. Socialism believes in production for consumption and inputs are directed to meet human beings needs. Nationalization of production and public control of economic capital are the dominant ideologies. Private ownership of land is not supported.

Values and economic activities have been created by human beings and can be changed. Work is performed communally for the common good of all. Socialism seeks to establish a classless society, where wealth is distributed evenly. Equality is emphasized and work is performed for the common good of all. Exploitation of the minority by the wealthy is eliminated through equal distribution of wealth. An individual’s contribution in the society is the basis of what one gains.

Socialism contrasts with capitalism where the means of production is owned by individuals and production is for generating profits. Competition for individual wealth causes the markets to produce for the customers and to maximize on profits which consequently lead to development and innovation. Socialists produce for consumption and market innovations are reduced.

Work is performed collectively by all in government or society owned institutions. Planning is collective and the capital is provided by the central government. Self governed economies prevail with decentralized decision making. There is technocratic management on economic policies as well as means of production. Marxists believe that socialism was instigated by the need to react to industrial capitalism.

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A planned economy is deemed to encourage scientific innovations and development. Socialist supported socialism on the understanding that it would create equality if individual talent is considered. The social environment close to an individual affects their well being. Excessive wealth and inequalities in society are not advocated for in socialism (Mints et al 80).

Conclusion

Liberalism is an advocacy of human rights, liberal democracy free and fair elections, constitutionalism, free trade and freedom of religion. Socialism encourages ownership of property. Socialism is criticized for distorting prosperity. The rate of innovation is slow and workers have limited incentives. In the market, signals are altered. Innovations happen in every generation hence; it would be inappropriate to view states that advocate for conservatism as unsuccessful.

Conservatism level of control shifts from one level to another, depending on the aristocrat. Freedom is minimal and changes occur as a way of adjusting. Freedom can only be achieved if individuals practice their rights and are protected by the government. Equality is achieved if wealth is fairly distributed and there is less disparity in social classes. States that endeavor to allow an individual pursue goals give freedom.

Works Cited

Mints, Eric., Close, David and Croci, Osvaldo. Politics, Power and the Common Good: An Introduction to Political Science, 3rd ed. Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Education, 2011.

Riley, Jim. Moderate political Ideologies: liberalism and conservatism, 1990. Web.

What is liberalism.com. What is liberalism?, 2011. Web.

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