Comparing Political Ideologies
In chapter 1, we developed a framework for the comparative analysis of political ideologies in terms of five interrelated components: cognition, affect, valuation, program, and social base. In chapters 2 through 7, we examined the six most explosive and significant political ideologies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: nationalism, fascism and nazism, Marxism, Leninism, guerrilla communism, and democracy. At the end of each chapter, we saw how a particular ideology can be analyzed, dissected, and understood in the light of our comparative framework. I shall now recapitulate our efforts by summarizing and highlighting the fit between all our ideologies and the analytical framework.
As noted in chapter 1, some overlap between the five dimensions of our framework is unavoidable. Moreover, as we have seen, nationalism and democracy share some elements of the affective and evaluative dimensions. (In fact, insofar as all our ideologies, explicitly or implicitly, appeal in practice to nationalist feelings and sentiments in one way or another, nationalism emerges as the most pervasive and influential political ideology of recent times.) Finally, needless to say, any attempt at recapitulation involves some repetition. But given the pedagogical objectives of this introductory text, I believe that such repetition is defensible. Nonetheless, in order to minimize repetition, I have decided to: (1) stress the most essential points, leaving aside much detail, and (2) lump together Marxism, Leninism, and guerrilla communism when feasible and appropriate, particularly since the latter two are considered as variations upon the first.