View Poll Results: What defines and ideology for all practical purposes?

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  • An ideology is largely defined by the philosophy of its founding intellectuals.

    3 30.00%
  • An ideology is largely defined by the beliefs and policies of the majority of its current adherents.

    7 70.00%
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Thread: What defines an ideology for all practical purposes?

  1. #1
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    What defines an ideology for all practical purposes?

    For all practical purposes, is an ideology defined by its historical intellectual principles (otherwise its largely stagnant), or by the beliefs of the majority of people that claim to be its adherents (otherwise its largely dynamic).

    For example, you constantly hear conservative ideologues (and to a slightly lesser extent liberal ideologues) claim that the policies advocated and enacted by current Republicans and conservative media pundits do not represent "true conservatism" or in the case of liberalism "true liberalism". In my opinion, conservatism for all practical purposes is what the majority of its current adherents believe it is, just like liberalism for all practical purposes is what the majority of its current adherents believe it is and thus both ideologies are fairly dynamic.

    For example, when a conservative tells a liberal that Obama is a hard core liberal, that liberal might respond with "Obama is not a liberal, Franklin D. Roosevelt was a liberal, Obama is not nearly as liberal as he is." The problem with that argument is that it assumes that liberalism is a static philosophy that never changes. However, for all practical purposes even though Obama is not nearly as liberal in terms of an activist government as FDR was, Obama represents the left of center in American political discourse, thus Obama is a liberal.

    Similarly, when a liberal tells a conservative that Bush was a solid right winger, the conservative might respond with "Bush is not a conservative, Barry Goldwater was a conservative, and Bush is nothing like him (or go into some Russell Kirk diatribe). The problem with that argument is that once again it assumes that conservatism is a static philosophy that never changes. Goldwater would not be a conservative today, he would be a right-libertarian. For all practical purposes, Bush represented the right of center in American political discourse, thus Bush is a conservative.

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    Re: What defines an ideology for all practical purposes?

    Well, I think political party identification and political ideology are overlapping, but not the same thing.

    Because we effectively have only two viable parties, the parties each represent more than one ideology, if that makes any sense.

    The terms 'conservative' and 'liberal' are referential, for me. For example, 'conservative' in 'conservative republican' and 'conservative democrat' don't mean the same things, to me.


    I think political party identification means you support most of a party's political platform, and political philosophy qualifiers identify where within a spectrum you fall.
    Last edited by jackalope; 09-09-09 at 04:46 PM.

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    Re: What defines an ideology for all practical purposes?

    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernDemocrat View Post
    [....] In my opinion, conservatism for all practical purposes is what the majority of its current adherents believe it is, just like liberalism for all practical purposes is what the majority of its current adherents believe it is and thus both ideologies are fairly dynamic.
    [.....]
    For all practical purposes? how exactly does this determine the substance of what an ideology is? what practical purposes?

    The beliefs of the adherents do not change the ideology because failure to adhere perfectly to an ideology does not change the principles behind it. The belief that it does is just another ideology it itself--and a self-defeating one at that.

    The first statement in the poll was closer to the truth. I would like to see an argument that proved ideologies were NOT static. Ideas don't change, although a person's opinion of them might. An idea that is "changed" is really just a different idea altogether. Variations of existing ideologies just create new ones, even if the difference is subtle.
    Last edited by other; 09-09-09 at 05:00 PM.

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    Re: What defines an ideology for all practical purposes?

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    For all practical purposes? how exactly does this determine the substance of what an ideology is? what practical purposes?

    The beliefs of the adherents do not change the ideology because failure to adhere perfectly to an ideology does not change the principles behind it. The belief that it does is just another ideology it itself--and a self-defeating one at that.

    The first statement in the poll was closer to the truth. I would like to see an argument that proved ideologies were NOT static. Variations of existing ideologies just create new ones, even if the difference is subtle.
    överens med but i thiink this is how media use it today. i f more people read books they will not beleive the media. now people hear somthing i n the news and believe this. people dont know what is true so they think media will give truth to them.

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    Re: What defines an ideology for all practical purposes?

    It's both, and more. Dynamic is the closer answer, and just using that word is probably closest.

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    Re: What defines an ideology for all practical purposes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    It's both, and more. Dynamic is the closer answer, and just using that word is probably closest.
    no this is the right one

    An ideology is largely defined by the philosophy of its founding intellectuals.

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    Re: What defines an ideology for all practical purposes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    It's both, and more. Dynamic is the closer answer, and just using that word is probably closest.
    If you believe that they are dynamic, then you believe they are completely useless.

    Here's why:

    Ideologies are simply LABELS. They are meant represent something concrete (and therefore they are useful, as they actually distinguish one position/idea from another). Now, if one believes that the same label can be used for several different things, what is the point of a label in the first place? It is no longer useful.

    Peoples' beliefs may be dynamic, that's why they often shift between or even create new ideologies. Ideologies themselves are not.

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    Re: What defines an ideology for all practical purposes?

    Optimally, I'd say option one.

    Realistically, it's option two.
    "All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language...No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." - John Donne

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    Re: What defines an ideology for all practical purposes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalle View Post
    överens med but i thiink this is how media use it today. i f more people read books they will not beleive the media. now people hear somthing i n the news and believe this. people dont know what is true so they think media will give truth to them.
    This is one reason why ideologies are useful. People who don't take time to understand and adhere to one are more susceptible to manipulation. Whether or not you believe this is good, bad, or neither is up for debate, but I believe that people should stand for something concrete, otherwise they are prone to be manipulated by others who do.

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    Re: What defines an ideology for all practical purposes?

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    If you believe that they are dynamic, then you believe they are completely useless.

    Here's why:

    Ideologies are simply LABELS. They are meant represent something concrete (and therefore they are useful, as they actually distinguish one position/idea from another). Now, if one believes that the same label can be used for several different things, what is the point of a label in the first place? It is no longer useful.

    Peoples' beliefs may be dynamic, that's why they often shift between or even create new ideologies. Ideologies themselves are not.
    I disagree. Labels don't always mean the same thing they used to. The democratic party was founded in 1792, the modern democratic party is 1828. I don't think that the label "democrat" means much like it did at either of those dates. The world changes, and ideologies have to change with the world.

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