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Themes of The Fountainhead: Individualism Versus Collectivism
More boldly, since all forms of enquiry are based on ideas, de Tracy suggested that ideology would eventually come to be recognized as the queen of the sciences. However, despite these high expectations, this original meaning of the term has had little impact on later usage. The career of ideology as a key political term stems from the use made of it in the writings of Karl Marx. Marx's use of the term, and the interest shown in it by later generations of Marxist thinkers, largely explains the prominence ideology enjoys in modern social and political thought.
Yet the meaning Marx ascribed to the concept is very different from the one usually accorded it in mainstream political analysis. Marx used the term in the title of his early work The German Ideology  , written with his lifelong collaborator Friedrich Engels — This also contains Marx's clearest description of his view of ideology: The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it.
Marx used ideology as a critical concept, whose purpose is to unmask a process of systematic mystification. His own ideas he classified as scientific, because they were designed accurately to uncover the workings of history and society. The contrast between ideology and science, between falsehood and truth, is thus vital to Marx's use of the term. Second, ideology is linked to the class system. Marx believed that the distortion implicit in ideology stems from the fact that it reflects the interests and perspective on society of the ruling class. The ruling class is unwilling to recognize itself as an oppressor and, equally, is anxious to reconcile the oppressed to their oppression. The class system is thus presented upside down, a notion Marx conveyed through the image of the camera obscura, the inverted picture that is produced by a camera lens or the human eye.
Liberalism, which portrays rights that can only be exercised by the propertied and privileged as universal entitlements, is therefore the classic example of ideology. Third, ideology is a manifestation of power. In concealing the contradictions upon which capitalism, in common with all class societies, is based, ideology serves to disguise from the exploited proletariat the fact of its own exploitation, thereby upholding a system of unequal class power.
Finally, Marx treated ideology as a temporary phenomenon. Ideology will only continue so long as the class system that generates it survives. The interests of the proletariat thus coincide with those of society as a whole. The proletariat, in short, does not need ideology because it is the only class that needs no illusions. Later generations of Marxists have, if anything, shown greater interest in ideology than Marx did himself. This largely reflects the fact that Marx's confident prediction of capitalism's doom proved to be highly optimistic, encouraging later Marxists to focus on ideology as one of the factors explaining the unexpected resilience of the capitalist mode of production.
However, important shifts in the meaning of the term also took place. Most importantly, all classes came to be seen to possess ideologies. In What is to be Done? For Lenin and most twentieth-century Marxists, ideology referred to the distinctive ideas of a particular social class, ideas that advance its interests regardless of its class position.
However as all classes, the proletariat as well as the bourgeoisie, have an ideology, the term was robbed of its negative or pejorative connotations. Nevertheless, although Lenin's concept of ideology was essentially neutral, he was well aware of the role ideology played in upholding the capitalist system. Hegemony means leadership or domination, and in the sense of ideological hegemony it refers to the capacity of bourgeois ideas to displace rival views and become, in effect, the commonsense of the age.
Gramsci highlighted the degree to which ideology is embedded at every level in society, in its art and literature, in its education system and mass media, in everyday language and popular culture. The capacity of capitalism to achieve stability by manufacturing legitimacy was also a particular concern of the Frankfurt School, a group of mainly German neo-Marxists who fled the Nazis and later settled in the USA. Its most widely known member, Herbert Marcuse see p. Antonio Gramsci — Italian Marxist and social theorist. The son of a minor public official, Gramsci joined the Socialist Party in , becoming in the general secretary of the newly formed Italian Communist Party.
He was elected to the Italian Parliament in , but was imprisoned by Mussolini in He remained incarcerated until his death. In Prison Notebooks Gramsci, , written between and , Gramsci tried to redress the emphasis within orthodox Marxism upon economic or material factors. Gramsci remained throughout his life a Leninist and a revolutionary. By manufacturing false needs and turning humans into voracious consumers, modern societies are able to paralyse criticism through the spread of widespread and stultifying affluence. According to Marcuse, even the apparent tolerance of liberal capitalism serves a repressive purpose in that it creates the impression of free debate and argument, thereby concealing the extent to which indoctrination and ideological control take place.
One of the earliest attempts to construct a non-Marxist concept of ideology was undertaken by the German sociologist Karl Mannheim — Like Marx, he acknowledged that people's ideas are shaped by their social circumstances, but, in contrast to Marx, he strove to rid ideology of its negative implications. In Ideology and Utopia  Mannheim portrayed ideologies as thought systems that serve to defend a particular social order, and that broadly express the interests of its dominant or ruling group. Utopias, on the other hand, are idealized representations of the future that imply the need for radical social change, invariably serving the interests of oppressed or subordinate groups.
Mannheim nevertheless held that all ideological systems, including utopias, are distorted, because each offers a partial and necessarily self-interested view of social reality. However, he argued that the attempt to uncover objective truth need not be abandoned altogether. The subsequent career of the concept was deeply marked by the emergence of totalitarian dictatorships in the inter-war period, and by the heightened ideological tensions of the Cold War of the s and s. However, not all political creeds are ideologies by this standard. A distinctively conservative concept of ideology can also be identified. This is based upon a long-standing conservative distrust of abstract principles and philosophies, born out of a sceptical attitude towards rationalism and progress.
The world is viewed as infinitely complex and largely beyond the capacity of the human mind to fathom. The foremost modern exponent of this view was the British political philosopher Michael Oakeshott — From this perspective, ideologies are seen as abstract systems of thought, sets of ideas that are destined to simplify and distort social reality because they claim to explain what is, frankly, incomprehensible. Ideology is thus equated with dogmatism, fixed or doctrinaire beliefs that are divorced from the complexities of the real world. Political Ideologies An Introduction 3rd edition Andrew Heywood Pragmatism Pragmatism refers generally to a concern with practical circumstances rather than theoretical beliefs, with what can be achieved in the real world, as opposed to what should be achieved in an ideal world.
As a philosophical doctrine most commonly associated with philosophers such as William James — and John Dewey — pragmatism holds that the meaning and justification of beliefs should be judged by their practical consequences. Though by definition a pragmatic style of politics is non-ideological, it does not amount to unprincipled opportunism. Pragmatism suggests a cautious attitude towards change that rejects sweeping reforms and revolution as a descent into the unknown, and prefers instead incremental adjustments and, perhaps, evolutionary progress.
Since the s, however, the term ideology has gained a wider currency through being refashioned according to the needs of conventional social and political analysis. This has established ideology as a neutral and objective concept, the political baggage once attached to it having been removed. An ideology is therefore an action-orientated system of thought. So defined, ideologies are neither good nor bad, true nor false, open nor closed, liberating nor oppressive — they can be all these things. The drawback of any negative concept of ideology is that it is highly restrictive. However, any neutral concept of ideology also has its dangers.
In particular, in off-loading its political baggage the term may be rendered so bland and generalized that it loses its critical edge altogether. Two questions are especially important in this respect: what is the relationship between ideology and truth, and in what sense can ideology be seen as a form of power? Ideology, truth and power Any short or single-sentence definition of ideology is likely to stimulate more questions than it answers. Nevertheless, it provides a useful and necessary starting point. In this book, ideology is understood as the following: An ideology is a more or less coherent set of ideas that provides the basis for organized political action, whether this is intended to preserve, modify or overthrow the existing system of power.
This definition is neither original nor novel, and it is entirely in line with the social-scientific usage of the term. It nevertheless draws attention to some of the important and distinctive features of the phenomenon of ideology. In particular it emphasizes that the complexity of ideology derives from the fact that it straddles the conventional boundaries between descriptive and normative thought, and between political theory and political practice. Ideology, in short, brings about two kinds of synthesis: between understanding and commitment, and between thought and action. Ideologies are descriptive in that, in effect, they provide individuals and groups with an intellectual map of how their society works and, more broadly, with a general view of the world.
However, such descriptive understanding is deeply embedded within a set of normative or prescriptive beliefs, both about the adequacy of present social arrangements and about the nature of any alternative or future society. Ideology therefore has a powerful emotional or affective character: it is a means of expressing hopes and fears, sympathies and hatreds, as well as of articulating beliefs and understanding. One of the implications of this is that no clear distinction can be made between ideology and science. In this light, it is helpful to treat ideologies as paradigms, in the sense employed by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions An ideology, then, can be seen as a set of principles, doctrines and theories that help to structure the process of intellectual enquiry.
In effect it constitutes a framework within which the search for political knowledge takes place, a language of political discourse. For instance, much of academic political science and, still more clearly, mainstream economics draws upon individualist and rationalist assumptions that have an unmistakable liberal heritage. The notion of ideology as an intellectual framework or political language is also important because it highlights the depth at which ideology structures human understanding. The tendency to deny that one's own beliefs are ideological often while condemning other people for committing precisely this sin can be explained by the fact that, in providing the very concepts through which the world becomes intelligible, our ideology is effectively invisible.
We fail or refuse to recognize that we look at the world through a veil of theories, presuppositions and assumptions that shape what we see and thereby impose meaning on the world. The second synthesis, the fusion of thought and action, reflected in the linkage between b and c above, is no less significant. At a fundamental level, ideologies resemble political philosophies in that they deal with abstract ideas and theories, and their proponents may at times seem to be engaged in dispassionate enquiry.
At an operative level, however, ideologies take the form of broad political movements, engaged in popular mobilization and the struggle for power. Ideology in this guise may be expressed in sloganizing, political rhetoric, party manifestos and government policies. While ideologies must, strictly speaking, be both idea-orientated and action-orientated, certain ideologies are undoubtedly stronger on one level than the other. For instance, fascism has always emphasized operative goals and, if you like, the politics of the deed.
Anarchism, on the other hand, especially since the mid-twentieth century, has largely survived at a fundamental or philosophical level. Nevertheless, ideologies invariably lack the clear shape and internal consistency of political philosophies; they are only more or less coherent. This apparent shapelessness stems in part from the fact that ideologies are not hermetically sealed systems of thought; rather they are, typically, fluid sets of ideas that overlap with other ideologies and shade into one another.
This not only fosters ideological development but also leads to the emergence of hybrid ideological forms, such as liberal conservatism, socialist feminism and conservative nationalism. Moreover, each ideology contains a range of divergent, even rival traditions and viewpoints. This highlights the problem of what W. These are concepts about which there is such deep controversy that no settled or agreed definition can ever be developed. Clearly, however, there must be a limit to the incoherence or shapelessness of ideologies.
There must be a point at which, by abandoning a particularly cherished principle or embracing a previously derided theory, an ideology loses its identity or, perhaps, is absorbed into a rival ideology. Could liberalism remain liberalism if it abandoned its commitment to liberty? Would socialism any longer be socialism if it developed an appetite for violence and war? One way of dealing with this problem, following Michael Freeden , is to highlight the morphology, the form and structure, of an ideology in terms of its key concepts, in the same way that the arrangement of furniture in a room helps us to distinguish between a kitchen, a bedroom, a lounge, and so on.
Each ideology is therefore characterized by a cluster of core, adjacent and peripheral concepts, not all of which need be present for a theory or a doctrine to be recognized as belonging to that ideology. A kitchen, for instance, does not cease to be a kitchen simply because the sink or the cooker is removed. Similarly a kitchen remains a kitchen over time despite the arrival of new inventions such as dishwashers and microwave ovens. Individualism, liberty and human rationality, for example, could be identified as liberalism's nexus of core concepts. The absence of any one of them need not compromise a doctrine's liberal credentials, but the absence of two of them would suggest the emergence of a new ideological configuration. What does this tell us about the relationship between ideology and truth?
For Marx, as we have seen, ideology was the implacable enemy of truth. Nevertheless, as Mannheim recognized, to follow Marx in believing that the proletariat needs no illusion or ideology is to accept a highly romanticized view of the working masses as the emancipators of humankind. However, Mannheim's own solution to this problem, a faith in free- floating intellectuals, does not get us much further. All people's views are shaped, consciously or unconsciously, by broader social and cultural factors, and while education may enable them to defend these views more fluently and persuasively, there is little evidence that it makes those views any less subjective or any more dispassionate.
This implies that there exists no objective standard of truth against which ideologies can be judged. Indeed, to suggest that ideologies can be deemed to be either true or false is to miss the vital point that they embody Perspectives on … Ideology Liberals, particularly during the Cold War period, have viewed ideology as an officially sanctioned belief system that claims a monopoly of truth, often through a spurious claim to be scientific. Ideology is therefore inherently repressive, even totalitarian; its prime examples are communism and fascism. Conservatives have traditionally regarded ideology as a manifestation of the arrogance of rationalism. Ideologies are elaborate systems of thought that are dangerous or unreliable because, being abstracted from reality, they establish principles and goals that lead to repression or are simply unachievable.
In this light, socialism and liberalism are clearly ideological. Socialists, following Marx, have seen ideology as a body of ideas that conceal the contradictions of class society, thereby promoting false consciousness and political passivity amongst subordinate classes. Liberalism is the classic ruling-class ideology. Later Marxists adopted a neutral concept of ideology, regarding it as the distinctive ideas of any social class, including the working class.
Fascists are often dismissive of ideology as an over-systematic, dry and intellectualized form of political understanding that is based on mere reason rather than passion and the will. Ecologists have tended to regard all conventional political doctrines as part of a super-ideology of industrialism. Ideology is thus tainted by its association with arrogant humanism and growth- orientated economics — liberalism and socialism being its most obvious examples. Religious fundamentalists have treated key religious texts as ideology, on the grounds that, by expressing the revealed word of God, they provide a programme for comprehensive social reconstruction.
Secular ideologies are therefore rejected because they are not founded on religious principles and so lack moral substance. Political Ideologies An Introduction 3rd edition Andrew Heywood values, dreams and aspirations that are, by their very nature, not susceptible to scientific analysis. Ideologies are embraced less because they stand up to scrutiny and logical analysis, and more because they help individuals, groups and societies to make sense of the world in which they live. As Andrew Vincent , p.
By providing us with a language of political discourse, a set of assumptions and presuppositions about how society does and should work, ideology structures both what we think and how we act. In a world of competing truths, values and theories, ideologies seek to prioritize certain values over others, and to invest legitimacy in particular theories or sets of meanings. Furthermore, as ideologies provide an intellectual maps of the social world, they help to establish the relationship between individuals and groups on the one hand and the larger structure of power on the other.
Ideologies therefore play a crucial role in either upholding the prevailing power structure, by portraying it as fair, natural, rightful or whatever, or in weakening or challenging it, by highlighting its iniquities or injustices and drawing attention to the attractions of alternative power structures. Left, right and centre Many attempts have been made to categorize political ideas and ideologies, and to relate them to one another. The most familiar and firmly established method of doing this is the left—right political spectrum. This is a linear spectrum that locates political beliefs at some point between two extremes, the far left and the far right.
There is also broad agreement about where different ideas and ideologies are located along this spectrum. Most people would recognize the spectrum depicted in Figure 1. Although familiar, it is far more difficult to establish precisely what the spectrum means and how helpful it is in defining and describing political views. Aristocrats who supported the king sat to his right, while radicals, members of the Third Estate, sat to his left.
A similar seating pattern was followed in the subsequent French Assemblies. In contemporary politics, however, the left—right divide has become increasingly complex and no longer reflects a simple choice between revolution and reaction. For example, although right-wing views may often be reactionary and preach a return to an earlier and better time, fascism, on the extreme right, has also been revolutionary, and in the case of Italian fascism, positively forward-looking. Similarly, although left-wing views have usually been progressive or revolutionary, socialists and communists have at times resisted change.
For instance, they have sought to defend the welfare state, or to prevent centrally planned economies from being reformed or abolished. The linear spectrum is commonly understood to reflect different political values or contrasting views about economic policy. In terms of values, the spectrum is sometimes said to reflect different attitudes towards equality. Left-wingers are committed to equality and are optimistic about the possibility of achieving it. Right-wingers typically reject equality as either undesirable or impossible to achieve.
This is closely related to different attitudes towards the economy, and in particular the ownership of wealth. Communists, on the far left, have believed in a state- planned economy; socialists and modern liberals have defended the mixed economy and government regulation; right-wing conservatives are committed to free-market capitalism and private property.
All such interpretations, however, involve inconsistencies. For instance, fascist regimes have practised economic management and state control, despite being on the far right of the spectrum. Moreover, it is unclear where anarchism should be placed on the linear spectrum. Anarchists are strongly committed to the idea of equality, which would normally place them on the far left of the spectrum, but their opposition to all forms of economic management and any form of government may suggest that they should be on the far right.
The weakness of the linear spectrum is that it tries to reduce politics to a single dimension, and suggests that political views can be classified according to merely one criterion, be it one's attitude to change, view of Figure 1. Political ideologies are in fact highly complex collections of beliefs, values and doctrines, which any kind of spectrum is forced to oversimplify. Attempts have nevertheless been made to develop more sophisticated political spectrums that embody two or more dimensions. The linear spectrum, for example, has sometimes been criticized because the ideologies at its extremes, communism and fascism, exhibit similarities.
However, all such spectrums raise difficulties because they tend to simplify and generalize highly complex sets of political ideas. At best, they are a shorthand method of describing political ideas or beliefs, and must always be used with caution. In fact a growing body of literature advocates abandoning the left—right divide altogether. As Giddens pointed out, the emergence of new political issues such as feminism, animal rights and the environment has rendered the conventional ideas Figure 1. The shift away from old class polarities has also furthered this process, leading to a situation in which, for instance, conservatives have developed a growing taste for radicalism and ideological politics, and socialists have evinced an enthusiasm for competition and the market.
In sharp contrast, however, Norberto Bobbio has argued that, since left and right essentially reflect different attitudes towards equality, the terms are far from irrelevant in a world characterized by new patterns of societal inequality and widening global inequalities. With hindsight, the two hundred years from the Fall of the Bastille in to the Fall of the Berlin Wall in , or, more briefly, the period from the outbreak of the First World War in to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, , appear to have been characterized by continuity and relative stability, at least by comparison with the uncertainty, even shapelessness, of the contemporary world.
Such arguments are examined in the final chapter of the book. At the very least, the major ideological traditions are having to adjust to, and are in some cases are being re- defined by, a series of new and often interlinked challenges. The ideological ramifications of the collapse of communism have been profound and wide-ranging, but remain the subject of debate. The earliest and initially most influential interpretation was that the demise of communism had left western-style liberal democracy, particularly in its US form, as the sole viable ideological model worldwide.
Such developments have certainly had a profound affect upon socialism. Revolutionary socialism, especially in its Soviet-style, Marxist-Leninist guise, appears to be a spent force, both in the developing world and in postcommunist states. Democratic socialism has nevertheless also been affected; some argue that it has been fatally compromised. These developments are examined in greater detail in Chapter 4. The ramifications of the end of the Cold War have not been confined to socialist ideology, however. For example, far from bringing about the victory of universal liberalism, the collapse of communism has resulted in the emergence of a range of ideological forces.
The collapse or retrenchment of their traditional enemy means that in the twenty-first century liberalism and conservatism are each becoming more shapeless and differentiated. However, it is less clear how it has changed and what its implications are, or might be, for the major ideologies. The advent of global terrorism has undoubtedly had major international and national consequences. Internationally, under the auspices of George W. Examples of this include the overthrow of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Nevertheless, the ideological consequences of such actions are difficult to predict. At a national level, global terrorism has served to bolster the state generally and, in particular, to ground state authority more firmly in its capacity to protect citizens and maintain security. To the extent that the terrorist threat establishes the primacy of order and state security over a concern with civil liberties and individual rights it may be associated with a drift towards conservatism and the erosion of liberal sensibilities. Postmodernity The birth of political ideologies can be traced back to the processes through which the modern world came into existence. The process of modernization had social, political and cultural dimensions.
Socially, it was linked to the emergence of increasingly market-orientated and capitalist economies, dominated by new social classes, the middle class and the working class. Politically, it involved the replacement of monarchical absolutism by the advance of constitutional and, in due course, democratic government. Culturally, it took the form of the spread of Enlightenment ideas and views, which challenged traditional beliefs in religion, politics and learning in general based upon a commitment to the principles of reason and progress.
Political Ideologies An Introduction 3rd edition Andrew Heywood If the major political ideologies were, in their various ways, products of modernization, the transition from a modern to a postmodern society cannot but have profound significance for their roles and character. Postmodernity, sometimes portrayed as late modernity, has both thrown up new ideological movements and transformed established ones. This has been evident since the s in the growth of new social movements — the peace movement, the women's movement, the gay movement, the green movement and so on — and in the emergence of new ideological traditions, notably radical feminism and ecologism.
New ideological thinking has also been stimulated by attempts to blend established ideological traditions with the ideas of postmodernism see p. These are each discussed in their appropriate chapters. The prospects of postmodernism displacing conventional ideological thinking altogether are examined in Chapter Globalization Globalization is a slippery and elusive concept. Obvious examples of this include the greater ease with which transnational corporations are able to relocate production and investment, the fact that financial markets react almost immediately to economic events anywhere in the world, and the emergence of so-called global goods, such as Coca-Cola, McDonald's beefburgers, Nike running shoes and Starbucks coffee houses, that are available almost worldwide.
Globalization affects political ideologies in a variety of ways. First, it has major implications for nationalism and for other ideological projects that are based upon the nation. On the other hand, forms of cultural, ethnic and religious nationalism may be strengthened by the fact that the state is losing its capacity to generate political allegiance and civic loyalty. Modern liberalism and social democracy have been compromised by the declining viability of national economic strategies, such as Keynesian demand management, and conservatism is having to grapple with globalization's tendency to weakening tradition and national identity.
Second, globalization is by no means a neutral ideological force in its own right. Rather, it has gone hand in hand with neoliberalism, in that it has strengthened the market at the expense of the state. Third, globalization has generated a range of oppositional forces. The idea of globalization as ideology is discussed in Chapter Further reading Eagleton, T. An examination of the different definitions of ideology that considers the ideas of key Marxist thinkers through to the various post-structuralists.
Freeden, M. An examination of the major ideologies that pays particular attention to their conceptual morphology. A journal, published since , that analyses the nature of political ideology and examines concrete ideological traditions; demanding but wide-ranging and authoritative. McLellan, D. A clear and short yet comprehensive introduction to the elusive concept of ideology. Schwartzmantel, J. A broad-ranging analysis of how the major ideological traditions are coping with the challenge of postmodern society.
Seliger, M. A very thorough account of ideology, considered by some to be the classic treatment of the subject. Thompson, J. A good introduction to debates about the nature and significance of ideology. Origins and development 2. The primacy of the individual — central themes 3. Liberalism, government and democracy 4. Classical liberalism 5. Modern liberalism 6. The Latin liber referred to a class of free men, in other words, men who were neither serfs nor slaves. It also came to be increasingly associated with ideas of freedom and choice. By the s the term was widely recognized throughout Europe in relation to a distinctive set of political ideas. However, it was taken up more slowly in the UK: although the Whigs started to call themselves Liberals during the s, the first distinctly Liberal government was not formed until Gladstone took office in As a systematic political creed, liberalism may not have existed before the nineteenth century, but it was based upon ideas and theories that had developed during the previous three hundred years.
Liberal ideas resulted from the breakdown of feudalism in Europe and the growth, in its place, of a market or capitalist society. In many respects liberalism reflected the aspirations of the rising middle classes, whose interests conflicted with the established power of absolute monarchs and the landed aristocracy. Liberal ideas were radical: they sought fundamental reform and even, at times, revolutionary change. In place of absolutism they advocated constitutional and, later, representative government. They also supported the movement towards freedom of conscience in religion and questioned the authority of the established church. The nineteenth century was in many ways the liberal century. As industrialization spread throughout western countries, liberal ideas triumphed.
Such a system of industrial capitalism developed first in the UK from the mid eighteenth century onwards, and was well established by the early nineteenth century. From the twentieth century onwards industrial capitalism has exerted a powerful appeal for developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, especially when social and political development was defined in essentially western terms.
However, developing-world states have sometimes been resistant to the attractions of liberal capitalism because their political cultures have emphasized community rather than the individual. In such cases they have provided more fertile ground for the growth of socialism or nationalism rather than western liberalism. Where capitalism has been successfully established, as in Japan, it has tended to assume a corporate rather than an individualistic character. Japanese industry, for example, is motivated more by traditional ideas of group loyalty and duty than by the pursuit of individual self-interest. Western political systems have also been shaped by liberal ideas and values, so much so that they are commonly classified as liberal democracies. These systems are constitutional in that they seek to limit government power and safeguard civil liberties, and are representative in the sense that political office is gained through competitive elections.
Developing first in western Europe and North America, liberal democracy was took root in parts of the developing world and, after the revolutions of —91, in eastern Europe too. In some cases western-style liberal regimes were bequeathed to African or Asian countries upon achieving independence, but with varying degrees of success. Elsewhere, however, liberal democratic systems have sometimes collapsed in the absence of industrial capitalism or because of the nature of the indigenous political culture. In contrast the political cultures of most western countries are built upon a bedrock of liberal-capitalist values.
Ideas such as freedom of speech, freedom of religious worship and the right to own property, all drawn from liberalism, are so deeply ingrained in western societies that they are seldom challenged openly or even questioned. In effect liberalism has come to be the dominant ideology of the industrialized West. Some political thinkers have even argued that there is a necessary and inevitable link between liberalism and capitalism. This has been suggested by liberalism's critics as well as its supporters. On the other hand, thinkers such as Friedrich Hayek see p.
Hayek therefore claimed that a liberal democratic political system and respect for civil liberties can only develop in the context of a capitalist economic order. Nevertheless, historical developments since the nineteenth century have clearly influenced the nature and substance of liberal ideology. The radical, even revolutionary edge of liberalism faded with each liberal success. Liberalism thus became increasingly conservative, standing less for change and reform, and more for the maintenance of existing — largely liberal — institutions. Liberal ideas, too, could not stand still. From the late nineteenth century onwards the progress of industrialization led liberals to question, and in some ways to revise, the ideas of early liberalism.
Political Ideologies An Introduction 3rd edition Andrew Heywood Whereas early liberals had wanted government to interfere as little as possible in the lives of its citizens, modern liberals came to believe that government should be responsible for delivering welfare services such as health, housing, pensions and education, as well as for managing, or at least regulating, the economy. This led to the development of two traditions of thought within liberalism, commonly called classical liberalism and modern liberalism. As a result, some commentators have argued that liberalism is an incoherent ideology, embracing contradictory beliefs, notably about the desirable role of the state. Since the late twentieth century liberalism has also confronted the challenge of growing moral and cultural diversity in its western homeland, and of the rise of religious fundamentalism and other political creeds that take issue with core liberal principles.
As a result, liberals have sometimes recast their ideas and values and, in extreme cases, they have come to question whether liberalism is applicable to all peoples and all societies. The primacy of the individual — central themes Liberalism is, in a sense, the ideology of the industrialized West. Liberal thinkers in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, influenced by an Enlightenment belief in universal reason, tended to subscribe to an explicitly foundationist form of liberalism, which sought to establish fundamental values and championed a particular vision of human flourishing or excellence, usually linked to personal autonomy. This form of liberalism was boldly universalist, in that it implied that human history would be marked by the gradual but inevitable triumph of liberal principles and institutions.
Progress, in short, was understood in strictly liberal terms. During the twentieth century, however, it became fashionable to portray liberalism as morally neutral. In other words, liberalism strives to establish the conditions in which people and groups can pursue the good life as each defines it, but it does not prescribe or try to promote any particular notion of what is good. While liberalism undoubtedly favours openness, debate and self-determination, it is also characterized by a powerful moral thrust.
The moral and ideological stance of liberalism is embodied in a commitment to a distinctive set of values and beliefs. Political Ideologies An Introduction 3rd edition Andrew Heywood The individual In the modern world the concept of the individual is so familiar that its political significance is often overlooked. In the feudal period there was little idea of individuals having their own interests or possessing personal and unique identities. Rather people were seen as members of the social groups to which they belonged: their family, village, local community or social class. Their lives and identities were largely determined by the character of these groups in a process that changed little from one generation to the next.
However, as feudalism was displaced by increasingly market-orientated societies, individuals were confronted by a broader range of choices and social possibilities. They were encouraged, perhaps for the first time, to think for themselves, and to think of themselves in personal terms. As the certainties of feudal life broke down a new intellectual climate emerged. Rational and scientific explanations gradually displaced traditional religious theories, and society was increasingly understood from the viewpoint of the human individual. Individuals were thought to possess personal and distinctive qualities: each was of special value. This was evident in the growth of natural rights theories in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These suggested that individuals were invested with a set of God-given, natural rights, defined by John Locke see p.
However, emphasizing the importance of the individual has two, contrasting implications. First, it draws attention to the uniqueness of each human being: individuals are primarily defined by inner qualities and attributes specific to themselves. Second, they nevertheless share the same status in that they are all, first and foremost, individuals. Many of the tensions within liberal ideology can, indeed, be traced back to these rival ideas of uniqueness and equality. A belief in the primacy of the individual is the characteristic theme of liberal ideology, but it has influenced liberal thought in different ways.
It has led some liberals to view society as simply a collection of individuals, each seeking to satisfy his or her own needs and interests. Such extreme individualism is based upon the assumption that the individual is egotistical, essentially self-seeking and largely self-reliant. In contrast, later liberals have held a more optimistic view of human nature, and have been more prepared to believe that individuals possess a social responsibility for one Individualism Individualism is the belief in the supreme importance of the individual over any social group or collective body.
Ethical individualism, on the other hand, implies that society should be constructed so as to benefit to the individual, giving moral priority to individual rights, needs or interests. Classical liberals and the new right subscribe to egoistical individualism, which places emphasis on self-interestedness and self-reliance. Modern liberals, in contrast, have advanced a developmental form of individualism that prioritizes human flourishing over the quest for interest satisfaction. Whether human nature is conceived of as being egoistical or altruistic, liberals are united in their desire to create a society in which each person is capable of developing and flourishing to the fullness of his or her potential.
Freedom A belief in the supreme importance of the individual leads naturally to a commitment to individual freedom. Individual liberty liberty and freedom being interchangeable is for liberals the supreme political value, and in many ways the unifying principle within liberal ideology. For early liberals, liberty was a natural right, an essential requirement for leading a truly human existence. It also gave individuals the opportunity to pursue their own interests by exercising choice: the choice of where to live, who to work for, what to buy and so forth. Later liberals have seen liberty as the only condition in which people are able to develop their skills and talents and fulfil their potential. Nevertheless liberals do not accept that individuals have an absolute entitlement to freedom.
In On Liberty  , p. Mill's position is libertarian see p. Mill was subjected to an intense and austere regime of education by his father, the utilitarian theorist James Mill, resulting in a mental collapse at the age of Mill's varied and complex work was crucial to the development of liberalism because in many ways it straddled the divide between classical and modern theories. Mill did not accept any restrictions on the individual that are designed to prevent a person from damaging himself or herself, either physically or morally. Such a view suggests, for example, that laws forcing car drivers to put on seat belts or motor cyclists to wear crash helmets are as unacceptable as any form of censorship that limits what an individual may read or listen to.
Radical libertarians may defend the right of people to use addictive drugs such as heroin and cocaine on the same grounds. Although the individual may be sovereign over his or her body and mind, each must respect the fact that every other individual enjoys an equal right to liberty. This has been expressed by the modern liberal John Rawls see p. Early or classical liberals have believed that freedom consists in each person being left alone, free from interference and able to act in whatever way they may choose. Self-mastery requires that the individual is able to develop skills and talents, broaden his or her understanding, and gain fulfilment. For J. Mill, for example, liberty meant much more than simply being free from outside constraints: it involved the capacity of human beings to develop and ultimately achieve self-realization.
These rival conceptions of liberty have not merely stimulated academic debate within liberalism, but have led liberals to hold very different views about the desirable relationship between the individual and the state. Perspectives on … Freedom Liberals give priority to freedom as the supreme individualist value. While classical liberals support negative freedom, understood as the absence of constraints or freedom of choice, modern liberals advocate positive freedom in the sense of personal development and human flourishing. Conservatives have traditionally endorsed a weak view of freedom as the willing recognition of duties and responsibilities, negative freedom posing a threat to the fabric of society. The new right, however, endorses negative freedom in the economic sphere, freedom of choice in the marketplace.
Socialists have generally understood freedom in positive terms to refer to self-fulfillment achieved through either free creative labor or cooperative social interaction. Social democrats have drawn close to modern liberalism in treating freedom as the realization of individual potential. Political Ideologies An Introduction 3rd edition Andrew Heywood Anarchists regard freedom as an absolute value, believing it to be irreconcilable with any form of political authority. Fascists reject any form of individual liberty as a nonsense. Ecologists, particularly deep ecologists, treat freedom as the achievement of oneness, self- realization through the absorption of the personal ego into the ecosphere or universe.
Religious fundamentalists see freedom as essentially an inner or spiritual quality. Freedom means conformity to the revealed will of God, spiritual fulfillment being associated with submission to religious authority. Reason The liberal case for freedom is closely linked to a faith in reason. Liberalism is, and remains, very much part of the Enlightenment project. Key Enlightened thinkers included Jean-Jacques Rousseau see p. Enlightenment rationalism influenced liberalism in a number of ways. In the first place, it strengthened its faith in both the individual and in liberty.
To the extent that human beings are rational, thinking creatures, they are capable of defining and pursuing their own best interests. By no means do liberals believe that individuals are infallible in this respect, but the belief in reason builds into liberalism a strong bias against paternalism see p. Not only does paternalism prevent individuals from making their own moral choices and, if necessary, from learning from their own mistakes, but it also creates the prospect that those invested with responsibility for others will abuse their position for their own ends.
A further legacy of rationalism is that liberals are strongly inclined to believe in progress. Progress literally means advance, a movement forward. In the liberal view, the expansion of knowledge, particularly through the scientific revolution, enabled people not only to understand and explain their world but also to help shape it for the better. In short, the power of reason gives human beings the capacity to take charge of their own lives and fashion their own destinies.
Rationalism thus emancipates humankind from the grip of the past and from the weight of custom and tradition. Each generation is able to advance beyond the last as the stock of human Rationalism Rationalism is the belief that the world has a rational structure, and that this can be disclosed through the exercise of human reason and critical enquiry. As a philosophical theory, rationalism is the belief that knowledge flows from reason rather than experience, and thus contrasts with empiricism. While rationalism does not dictate the ends of human conduct, it certainly suggests how these ends should be pursued. It is associated with an emphasis on principle and reason- governed behavior, as opposed to reliance on custom or tradition, or non-rational drives and impulses.
This also explains the characteristic liberal emphasis upon education. People can better or improve themselves through the acquisition of knowledge and the abandonment of prejudice and superstition. Education, particularly in the modern liberal view, is thus a good in itself. It is a vital means of promoting personal self-development and, if extended widely, of achieving historical and social advancement.
Reason, moreover, is significant in highlighting the importance of discussion, debate and argument. While liberals are generally optimistic about human nature, seeing people as reason- guided creatures, they have seldom subscribed to the utopian creed of human perfectibility because they recognize the power of self-interest and egoism. The inevitable result of this is rivalry and conflict. Individuals battle for scarce resources, businesses compete to increase profits, nations struggle for security or strategic advantage, and so forth. The liberal preference is clearly that such conflicts be settled through debate and negotiation. Furthermore, it highlights the cost of not resolving disputes peacefully, namely violence, bloodshed and death.
Liberals therefore deplore the use of force and aggression; for example, war is invariably seen as an option of the very last resort. Not only does violence mark the failure of reason, but all too often it also unleashes irrational blood lusts and the desire for power for its own sake. Liberals may believe that the use of force is justified either on the grounds of self-defense or as a means of countering oppression, but always and only after reason and argument have failed. Justice Justice denotes a particular kind of moral judgment, in particular one about the distribution of rewards and punishment. The narrower idea of social justice refers to the distribution of material rewards and benefits in society, such as wages, profits, housing, medical care, and welfare benefits and so on.
The liberal theory of justice is based upon a belief in equality of various kinds. In the first place, individualism implies a commitment to foundational equality. Second, foundational equality implies a belief in formal equality, the idea that individuals should enjoy the same formal status in society, particularly in terms of the distribution of rights and entitlements. Consequently, liberals fiercely disapprove of any social privileges or advantages that are enjoyed by some but denied to others on the basis of factors such as gender, race, colour, creed, religion or social background.
Rights should not be reserved for any particular class of person, such as men, whites, Christians or the wealthy. The most important forms of formal equality are legal equality and political equality. Political Ideologies An Introduction 3rd edition Andrew Heywood Third, liberals subscribe to a belief in equality of opportunity. Each and every individual should have the same chance to rise or fall in society.
The game of life, in that sense, must be played on an even playing field. This is not to say that there should be equality of outcome or reward, that living conditions and social circumstances should be the same for all. Liberals believe social equality to be undesirable because people are not born the same. They possess different talents and skills, and some are prepared to work much harder than others. Liberals believe that it is right to reward merit, ability and the willingness to work — indeed, they think it essential to do so if people are to have an incentive to realize their potential and develop the talents they were born with. Equality, for a liberal, means that individuals should have an equal opportunity to develop their unequal skills and abilities.
A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. I read it during a pretty dark time of my life when I was starting to feel the burden of expectations. It definitely made me open my mind to the idea of living for myself, of aspiring to be free beyond the opinions of others. I thought the ideas presented were extremely unique to anything I had seen before, especially with the direction modern society is taking. I am usually good at guessing plots in books, but this novel kept surprising me with every page. The ending was completely unexpected and I felt like it tied up the concepts nicely.
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All rights reserved. ARI is a c 3 nonprofit organization. Newsletter Sign Up. Search for:. Anthem The Fountainhead Questions? Read what former essay contest participants had to say about Ayn Rand's classic novels. All expressions of individualism have been suppressed in the world of Anthem ; personal possessions are nonexistent, individual preferences are condemned as sinful and romantic love is forbidden. But are there other forms of prejudice in the society of Anthem? If so, against what or whom are they directed and why? In what ways are these forms of prejudice similar to or different from racial prejudice? Do you think that Equality is selfish? In your answer, give examples from the story that support your answer. What lessons do you draw from the story about what it means to pursue your own interests?
Do you find Liberty to be an admirable character? In your answer, give examples from the story about her actions, attitude, or character that lead you to answer as you do.The The Theme Of Individualism In Anthem of one person is always therefore in danger of becoming The Theme Of Individualism In Anthem licence to abuse another; each person can be said to be The Theme Of Individualism In Anthem a threat to and under threat from every The Theme Of Individualism In Anthem member The Theme Of Individualism In Anthem society. Get Aura Martinez Biography Essay Copy. Libertarian Futurist Society. They The Theme Of Individualism In Anthem encouraged, perhaps for the first time, to think for themselves, and to think of themselves in personal terms.