Political ideas are philosophies and concepts that seek to both understand and reorder society. In the most general sense, they are approaches to comprehend the sources and purpose of social power. Ideology is at the root of most contemporary political and moral debates. Its main questions concern the distribution of social goods, the role of the state, constitutions, human nature, rights and pleasure. Political ideas seek to make sense out of the relations among the individual, society and intermediate groups in a way that is fair and equitable to each. Few deny that some kind of governing structure with limited coercive power is needed to order modern life. How and why it is to be ordered and constituted is the realm of political ideology.
In this e-book, the broad purpose is to describe the basic views of many opposed ideologies important in the world today. It is ideal for college students to get a general grasp on the nature of ideology and how they dialogue with one another. Each point of view is contrasted to its most common opponent, so the foundations and assumptions of each view can be laid bare in a clear manner.
Political ideology is everywhere. It impacts all aspects of social life globally. In newspapers and major media, political ideas have a tendency to focus around specific issues. Environmentalism, abortion, international trade and many other issues are connected to deeper and more comprehensive commitments that human beings have socially. The purpose here is to lay some of these out in detail, showing how positions on issues might be connected to other more general ideas.
Political ideology and philosophy goes deeper than the specific issue. It means to show how issues are linked and integrated into a more or less comprehensive view of the world. Nearly all political ideologies have well developed concepts of what it is a) to be a human being, b) to be social, and c) to be happy and satisfied with one's social position. At the very least, it seeks to understand how social positions have come into existence, and importantly, how they are justified.
Hence, ideology does two things: first, it explains how a society came to develop the ideas that it has. Second, it seeks to justify either the society itself, or how society can be changed to conform to a concept of justice. Ideology then has the dual role of understanding and changing our social life.