When discussing political theory and political ideology, it appears that you cannot have one without the other. To truly understand these terms lets first take a look at the definition of them. Political theory refers to ideas of all political thinkers, may they be old or new, concerning any aspect of the government. Political ideology refers to the ideals, beliefs, symbols and etc. of political thinkers and groups explaining how a society should function. After looking at the definitions of both terms, it is easy to see that they intertwine and feed off one another.
In this essay, the connection between these two topics will be explored. The two political ideologies, which will be used in the explanation, will be Liberalism and Conservations, and they will be connected with political theories such as equality, freedom, the state/government and democracy. Liberalism, as defined in the book by Hoffman and Graham, is ” an ideology that takes freedom (or Liberty) to be a fundamental value; it also regards individuals as naturally equal… ” (pg 506).
This political ideology makes it very clear as to why the United States is more of a Liberalist country rather than one which believes that freedom and equality for all is impossible. As stated in the book by Hoffman and Graham, “Liberalism has emerged as the world’s dominant ideology” (Ch 8. pg 173). The people and community in a liberalist society all possess a great amount of multiculturalism. There is an immense amount of diversity, culture and religions, which allows everyone to grow and learn from many different political ideologies.
Liberalism is known more as a contemporary theory and ideology because in a way it is still new and people are trying to find ways to improve it. When taking a look at the state and democracy in a liberalist society, it is clear and easy to see that almost everything it does is for its people. A liberalist society believes in change and wants to better it’s people which is why it is working to help the LGBT community, people of different ethnicities, people who live in poverty and so much more.
Liberalism has allowed many people to move out of an enclosed box and focus on a larger picture and break away from old traditions. Equality and freedom initially was not available to all. As seen throughout past historical events, we used to live in a society which believed in slavery, inequality, laws which forbid certain groups such as women or gays from certain rights and etc. Majority of the population has moved on from the idea that people are unequal and have made it their goals to allow everyone to have the same opportunities.
A great example of this in a liberalist society is the ability to obtain a citizenship. The United States is open to people of all different cultures which makes it so diverse and understanding. This country has so much to offer which is why people from all around the world want to move and start a better life for themselves. The ability to obtain a citizenship regardless of race or ethnicity shows just how much equality and acceptance is present in the United States. Although there are steps which need to be taken before anyone can become a citizen, a liberalist society gives hope to its people for a better life.
As stated in the book by Hoffman and Graham, “liberalism establishes the formal freedom and equality of all members of society itself” (Ch 6. pg 121). Equality seems to be the heart of a liberalist society. The focus of people and their individuality is often the concern of the state and government. “Equal access requires that positions which confer advantages on their holders should be open to all, and that the criterion for award of those positions is qualification(s)” (Ch 3. pg 66). (ADD MORE).
The reason why people have these views on many and different theoretical concepts is all because of the ideology of Liberalism. Liberalism allows all to have a chance at a bite of a large piece of cake. This ideology is the reason why a Liberalist society is capable of allowing different groups to come together and not single out one another. Conservatism, on the other hand, is not a society that is based on freedom for all. As stated before, Liberalism breaks away from traditional values and focuses on new and contemporary values and idea.
A conservative society is all about focusing on religion, tradition, and staying inside a box with little regard for people of different groups. As stated in the glossary of the book written by Hoffman and Graham, “Conservatism is an ideology which is skeptical about reason: because human beings have limited rational capacities they must reply on tradition to guide them” (pg 504). Religion is a key aspect in Conservatism and the people belonging to this ideology believe that as long as they have faith in their religion than they will be saved and all will be well.
To be conservative, a person has to close themselves to others who are different and see the world in a different point of view. Equality in this type of society is hard to achieve. Women are not as equal and are not superior to the males. This society is more of a Patriarchy and they don’t believe that any one of color should have the same rights and rules. In the film, Right America Feeling Wronged, we see people who have Conservative views become outraged when Obama was elected as president of the United States. They viewed him as a follower of Hitler and believed that he would destroy America and its people.
They also called him Muslim and made crude comments about his name having Hussein in it, and they felt the need to group him with Saddam Hussein. The Conservatives in this film called themselves the “true Americans” and believed that they were right about everything. They stated on many occasions that people can be saved if they focused on religion and allowed God to lead them. Freedom and equality for all appears to be something that is hard to achieve in this type of society. The fear of African American people being able to be just as equal as white Americans appears to scare and make the Conservative people unhappy.
There is no area for improvement or acceptance and this feeling of the Conservatives being more superior to others appears to be very present. “Individuals do not have natural rights, the use of which transfers the individuals’ authority on to the institution…” (Ch 9. pg 201). Conservatives seem individuals as being unable to have a full access of many aspects of life. “The idea of ‘conservation’ or ‘preservation’ suggests that conservatives stand opposed to progression” (Ch 9. pg 195). It is easy to see why people who are Conservative has this closed minded idea on theoretical concepts as being present and equal to all.
When you have a closed mind and are unable to let new ideas in, you are denying a society growth and success. Liberalists and Conservatives look at human rights from two different angles. One views human rights as something that should concern all types of people while the other believes that outsiders should be excluded from human rights. In the film, Sweet Home Alabama, we see Alabama, a very conservative state, force out all people who are illegal immigrants. The HB 56 was known as one of the harshest laws passed in Alabama forcing all illegal immigrants to leave and vacate the state.
The people of Alabama believed that by removing these people, their state would become better and stronger but in the end it harmed the state and failed. The Conservatives lost revenue in farms and businesses and were unable to find hard workers who could compare to the illegal community of the Latinos. Conservatives don’t appear to be looking at things in the right way, they instead seem to be causing more harm. Although, the film, Right American Feeling Wronged, was already mentioned, it is still a great example showing how Conservatives are unable to break free from their traditional values.
The people live in a black and white society and don’t have any room for a grey margin. In the film, This is What Democracy Look Like, although we saw the state react in an unforgivable way towards its people, we were able to see different groups of ethnicities, religions, and ages come together for a cause which they all believe in. In a Liberalist society this movement is possible because people are more open to others who are different. It does not appear that Conservatives would be able to come together with people who are different because they do not accept difference.
Most of the films watched portrayed the state and government as manipulative and unworthy but when taking a look at the state and government of a Liberalist and Conservative society, it is clear that a Liberalist society is more understanding and willing to move towards a brighter and better future for all. No society is perfect and everyone has a long way to go before achieving any sort of perfection and excellence but it appears that a Liberalist society is on a better path to achieving more equality and freedom than any other group.
Understanding a society and its ideology towards any aspect of human life is necessary and it helps people better understand why a society is a certain way. Political theory and Political ideology go hand in hand because they fed off of one another. If both ideas were not present then people would not be able to connect why certain groups think one way or believe differently from others. There is nothing wrong with being different and each society and/or group has the ability to look at one another’s views and ideals all thanks to Political Theory and Political Ideology.