Is there a best ideology to achieve the “common good”? Throughout centuries there have been different ideologies that have been put in place to control people of different nations. History has shown that most ideologies such as Communism, Fascism, and Socialism, have all failed do to the fact that it imposes a strong restriction upon people. This is factual, as history has shown in the downfall of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany in their treacherous ways of controlling its people. Reform liberalism, Classical liberalism, and Conservatism are ideologies that guarantees people freedom and democracy but there are many criticisms that underlie these philosophies. This essay will analyse all the six ideologies that persisted throughout history and also in today’s society, but come to a conclusion on what ideology specifically works best for the conditions society faces in this modern day and age.
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Communism is a system in which private property has been replaced by collective or communal ownership and in which everyone would be free to take from society what they need (Mintz et al, p.114). Modern day Communism is based on the writings of two German economists, Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels. Karl Marx saw history as the story of human labour and struggle. Friedrich Engel a friend of Marx was a big critic of capitalism. Their partnership and ideas gave birth to what we know as communism. Communism, a branch of socialism, is a social system, characterized by lack of private property. The community as a whole owns the means of production and thus the profit is shared equally with everyone. In theory, labour would be divided up among all citizens according to ability and interest and resources would be distributed according to need. There would also be no ruler, no president, king, or dictator. The assumption is that private ownership of property somehow corrupts humans, making them greedy, selfish, arrogant and uncooperative. Communism believes that human nature is determined by external social and economic relations, so if the community is fair and equal, people will automatically be more kind, virtuous and unselfish (Sheldon, p.66).
Fascism is a political theory that emphasizes a unified powerful state to which all individuals and groups submit (Sheldon, p.102). The original fascist movement was that of Italian leader Benito Mussolini in Italy, organized in March 1921,although its origins lie in the first world war and ,more deeply , in the intellectual reaction against liberalism which began in the latter half of the nineteenth century (Bogdanor,p.227). Unhappy with the liberal emphasis on the individual and with the socialist emphasis on contending social classes, the fascist provided a view of the world in which individuals and classes were to absorbed into an all embracing whole a mighty empire under the control of a single party and a supreme leader (Ball et al.p.173). Nazism is a version of fascism associated with Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader of Germany, emphasizing racial conflict and the superiority of the “Aryan race” (Mintz et al, p.117). In most respect Nazism in Germany closely resembled Fascism in Italy. Both had a hatred for liberalism and communism. For Hitler and his followers, the essential fact of human life is that human beings belong to different races. There is no such thing as a universal human nature, in their view, because the differences that distinguish one race from another mark each race for a different role or destiny in the world. The swift destruction of fascist states and philosophy after World War II ended this ideology, except in Spain where it continued into the 1970s. Latin American countries such as Argentina with close ties to Germany and Spain had fascist military government but lacked the influence of European fascist regimes (Sheldon, p.103).
Socialism is an economic and social system and ideology that denies the absolute individual right to private property ownership and insists that society as a whole (or its state) should control production and distribution of wealth (Bogadanor, p.487). Socialist theory is often contrasted with capitalism developed in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries in response to industrialism. Socialist theories and systems varied widely over the extent of private property and trade allowed, the state management of the economy, and the community regulation of individual behaviour advocated and an agricultural commune style of society focused on advanced, mass industrial production, social democracy blends private entrepreneurship with state regulation for the economy and state ownership of key industries (e.g., telecommunications and transportation) (Sheldon, p.280). The main premise of socialism is that people will work harder and be more creative, kind, and happy if all their basic material needs are taken care of by society.
Reform Liberalism is a version of liberalism that combines support for individual freedom with a belief that government action may be needed to help remove obstacles to individual development (Mintz et al, p.104). But reform liberalism maintains that government is not just necessary evil. On the contrary, properly directed government can be a positive strength for encouraging individual independence by ensuring that everyone enjoys an equal opportunity in life. Reform liberalism argues that government should play a role in assisting the disadvantage through such measures as employment insurance, old age pensions, healthcare, and education. This will create a proper way of freedom for the less fortunate and it will ensure that a minimum standard of living is available to everyone. Reform liberalism also argues that property rights may need to be limited, to some extent in order to advance the rights and freedom of others. An example would a freedom of a factory owner may need to be limited by the government regulations in order to protect labourers from unsafe working conditions, consumers from harmful products, and the environment from the discharge of pollutants (Mintz et al,p.105). Reform liberalists think authority should be used to support free trade, but also protect the parts of society that are vulnerable. They believe that governments should facilitate redistribution. In all reform liberalism is based on the notion that everyone is equal when it comes to opportunity.
Classical Liberalism is a form of liberalism that emphasizes the desirability for limited government and the free marketplace (Mintz et al, p.104). Today’s classical liberals agree that individual freedom ranks above material equality, that the state’s sphere has to be more strictly limited than it is today and that freedom is the guarantor of wealth for the people (WordPress,2010). Classical liberalism, however, is not such a rational body of thought, as it sometimes appears to be, partly because the original liberal tradition was also one of considerable diversity. Although more sceptical of state coercion than the new liberals in general, the old liberals held widely differing views about the state’s responsibilities. It is a blend of political liberalism and economic liberalism which is derived from Enlightenment thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Adam Smith, Voltaire, John Stuart Mill, and Immanuel Kant (Sheldon, p.89). Classical liberalists think that political authority should be used carefully to ease free markets, free trade and to protect the individual’s right to private property and other economic freedoms.
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Conservatism is a political viewpoint that sees value in conserving past traditions, especially the timeless truths about human nature and society in the Judaeo-Christian religion (Sheldon, p.71). The leading modern conservative was Edmund Burke, an Englishmen philosopher and a statesman, who believed that the perennial truths of western civilization Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy and law, Western Christianity, classical literature such as that of Shakespeare, high art architecture, and music reflect the best thing in the world and must be taught to young people to produce civilized, decent, and moral human beings and a healthy, orderly society (Sheldon, p.72). Conservatism sees past traditions caring for the future world that we leave our children. Conservatism hates innovation, disrespect, and change for the sake. Conservatives typically oppose government policies designed to move society in the direction of greater equality (for example redistribution of income, wealth, and property from the rich to the poor). In a conservative perspective, people are naturally unequal (Mintz et al, p.107). (Sheldon, 2001). Conservative basic ideas include self-reliance, Personal responsibility; Private property rights limited government powers. Conservatism in the 21st century, as a whole is on the bases of us versus them the right and the left, which is dangerous in the world we live in nowadays because of the threat of terrorist acts being witnessed. Conservatives are known us the right wing in the political spectrum. Today their ideas are more focused on diving rather than uniting. This type of politics is very typical and being witnessed in the United States.
There is really no best ideology to achieve the common good. The world is full of problems like poverty and war. So come to come to a conclusion on the perfect ideology is absolutely impossible. Ideologies are based on different beliefs and values, which every human being shares differently. The one ideology that approach within reach in not achieving the common good but just equality for people would have to be reform liberalism. Reform liberalism to me promotes fairness and equality for people of all. It gives each individual a chance at better life but also the government to intervene and help whenever a person is need of assistance. Though were all equivalent but at the same time we have equal opportunities to achieve whatever it is we desire. Reform liberalism to me is the closes way to achieve the common good but also is the best ideology that benefits most and is praise upon by the majority of society.
In conclusion ideologies have shaped the world but also history. The rise and fall of the communist and fascist regime proves that human beings are not to be controlled. Instead be in charge of their own destiny. Ideologies such as liberalism and conservatism have work because of the freedom it ensures its people. Limiting the government in our everyday lives and less control is what is desired amongst society. In retrospect the more we learn about failed past ideologies the better it is for humanity to learn from and progress into a better future.
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