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Lecture 18

Lecture 18 - Contemporary Crises of Ideologies

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 1000
Martin Breaugh

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Both socialist and liberals agree that people are born free and equal
Freedom and equality should be both instrument and end of our existence
Freedom and equality should be a reality of everyday life
Freedom and equality in liberal thought is formal
In reality we know some people are freer than other, and there is inequality
Socialists would argue that we must go beyond the formal nature in equality
Private property creates the inequality, “he possesses”
Main culprit is private property, it creates exclusion
Inequality creates class conflict
Economic inequalities creates exploitation, people will be paid to work for others
Economic exploitation will create real inequality, pave the way for political domination
Few who owns things will seek to dominate the power over many
Put an end to natural liberty
Equality and freedom is destroyed
Socialism will be an “improved” version of liberalism
We can replace private property with
o State appropriation of property
o Social appropriation of private property
Communal living, “workers’ self management
If you have workers at GM, instead of having bosses making
decisions, you will have democratically elected council of workers to
decide output productivity and hiring criteria
o Based on a rational approach to human needs
o Socialist agree: we should use our reason and we have our reason to decide
precisely that we need
Contemporary Crisis of Ideologies
Behind each ideology, there is a specific social force
Each ideologies rest upon a social force that coalesce in the 19th century
o Either come to be or become very powerful in the period
All 3 ideologies are born before radio, television
We are living in 21th century but using intellectual apparatus created and designed for
another era
Why is it we still speak of liberalism, socialism and conservatism?
Beginning of 19th century will be characterized by intense activity around the creation of
o Creativity will progressively diminish as time goes on
By the mid 20th century, new ideological thinking will cease
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The 20th century will be the theatre of a wide scale attempt to translate ideologies into
o Ex. Fascism in Italy, national socialism in Germany
o Both fascism and national socialism will disappear after second world war, and will
not represent an alternative to liberalism or socialism
o Struggle between Marxism-Leninism and western liberalism
o Ideology will be important to understand the 20th century
Technological transformation will justify the new development of ideologies
In addition, there are other developments that would normally change the way we look at
political life
o E.g. decolonization, development of the state, extension of political rights to women
and aboriginal people, globalization, supranational communities (EU should push us
to new different ways of thinking)
3 main ideologies are unable to keep up with the times
Based on assumptions from 2 centuries ago
Therefore, ideologies are in crisis
We realize ideologies today cannot help us resolve problem, or lead to the happiness of the
Today, we are confused
Specific changes occurred in the 20th and 21st century
Fragmentation of the ruling class or dominant ruling classes, few
o In 19th century, Bourgeoisie as a ruling class is very coherent
Based on private property, end was economic profit
o Today, dominant ruling class is less unified and focused
At least 3 different types of social forces that compete for power (economic
and political)
Owners of large corporations, don’t run what they own
Professional managers/executives, don’t own what they run,
interest do not always corresponds to the interests of owners
Politicians, political leaders, civil servants, political advisors, who
control and establish public policy, and determines large
bureaucratic operations of modern state
o Ken Silversteen
Interests do not necessarily coincide
Fragmentation of the many
o The working class in the 20th century has profoundly changed the nature of the
o Rise of the union, changes in technology
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