POL214Y5 Lecture Notes - Classical Liberalism, English Canada, Capitalism

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18 Apr 2012

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Chapter 2
Political Culture
o Ideologies, values and institutions
o Ideology: a set of interrelated beliefs about how society is organized
and how it ought to function. Encompasses politics, beliefs,
judgements, society and economics
o When societies are described as pragmatic and non-ideological, this
means there is a dominant ideology, which has become a norm for
that society
o Political culture consists of the characteristic values, beliefs and
behaviours of a society’s members in regards to politics.
o In Canada, the differences in political culture are found between
English-speaking Canada and French-speaking Canada
o General personality traits appear in an individual’s political ideas and
o Political ideas are usually categorized as left-wing, right-wing or
Right-wing in Anglo-American societies means you tend
towards a more individualist society where one’s own
decisions determine one’s opportunities
Left-wing means you tend towards a more collectivist society
and that social and economic circumstances determine one’s
o Libertarians: the idea that individuals should be allowed the largest
possible margin of freedom in all realms of life, including those that
involve moral choices. Although thought to be conservative, they align
more with left-wing on issues like abortion, homosexual relations and
o Socialism: an ideology based on the equality of condition
o Classical liberalism: associated with freedom of choice, practice,
religion, free enterprise and free trade
o Classical conservatism: based on the importance of tradition
o Today, liberalism and conservatism mean different things in the
Canadian political culture
Explaining ideas and institutions
o Explanations of Canadian’s political ideas and of the institutions that
embody them can be grouped in three ways
Fragment theory
The role of formative events
Economic explanations
o Fragment theory: European parents and cultural genes
Canada was founded by European immigrants from Europe
which means its roots and values stem from those in Europe
Social classes were underrepresented as the wealthy tended to
stay in Europe and people immigrated in waves
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