Ideology and Political Choice: The Search for Freedom, Justice, and Virtue

Ideology and Political Choice: The Search for Freedom, Justice, and Virtue

Ideology and Political Choice: The Search for Freedom, Justice, and Virtue

Ideology and Political Choice: The Search for Freedom, Justice, and Virtue

Synopsis

"A lively and illuminating examination and texturing of current ideologies on the American political landscape. Its gracfully written presentation will bring students to an understanding of the ideological impulses that shape our politics and help determine the country's current direction. I look forward to using it in my classes for its intelligence, its content, and its clarity." - Joel H. Silbey Cornell University

Excerpt

This book is about political ideologies--current political ideologies in the United States. It is designed to help you choose the ideology you want to endorse and, even more, to help you marshal good reasons for your choice. By the same token, it is designed to help you decide what ideologies to oppose, in whole or in part, and why. Your most likely choice is between some kind of liberalism and some kind of conservatism, but other possibilities exist.

In choosing among ideologies, you will be choosing among action-oriented theories. a political ideology is a guide to political action. It helps you decide what to support, what to oppose, and why. It consists of a set of ideas and principles relating to the purposes to pursue in political life and the methods to employ; that is, relating to ends and means. Thus an ideology requires and reflects a choice among values and decisions about the relative emphasis to give to them; and it requires a choice among political strategies. If you have a well- thought-out political ideology, you are in a position to appraise the appeals of political candidates and officeholders, and in a position to become a candidate and officeholder yourself.

A political ideology is not only a guide to political action, it is also a help in explaining. If you want to know why people or political parties favor one course of action and oppose another, knowledge of their ideology will give you a major part of the answer. of course, ideologies tend to be general rather than particular in the guidance they give and the explanations they provide, so they may not help much with the finer points, but nevertheless they are likely to be helpful in explaining the larger patterns of behavior.

In addition to guiding and explaining, ideologies provide a basis for justifying or condemning a course of political action. Values (both goal values and instrumental values) are at the heart of ideologies. That is, ideas about good and bad, right and wrong, the desirable and . . .

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