A political philosophy, or ideology, may be defined as a set of principles that motivate a political party or an independent candidate. In particular, it provides a vision of the society that the party or candidate wishes to create. A philosophy therefore serves as a unifying force between party leaders and supporters.
Christian Democrats hold allegiance to the doctrines of Christianity and oppose the goals of Socialism and Communism.
Christian Socialists aim to ally the working class and the Church in opposition to capitalism.
Communism holds that everyone should be equal and should live in co-operation and harmony. It opposes class divisions and the ownership of private property.
Countries with Communist governments have a planned economy, which is believed to be essential for equality, and a comprehensive welfare state. Even though Communism favours equality, however, Communist governments have always been totalitarian.
Conservatives seek to maintain the stability of society by preserving the historic continuity of its laws, customs, social structure and institutions. They oppose social upheaval and believe political institutions should evolve naturally. Conservatives place their trust in the national experience and prefer to remove practical grievances by gradual, piecemeal reform.
Conservatives oppose the use of what is termed "social engineering" as a means of achieving equality, believing the differences that exist between people are natural and should not be tampered with.
Conservatives support firm, but not despotic, government and the ownership of private property. Conservatism also has nationalistic sentiments, wanting to safeguard domestic values and the way of life against foreign incursions.
Fascists favour a totalitarian state in which only one party exists, and favour the complete identity of that party with the state. They oppose Communism and Liberalism and believe the interests of individuals should be subordinate to those of the national community. Civil and political liberties are therefore absent in Fascist states.
Fascism is intensely nationalistic, and Fascists emphasise the importance of nation and race. The consequences of this have included a desire for territorial expansion and the practice of racism and genocide.
Fascists stress the importance of firm leadership in solving a nation's problems.
Liberals support the right of individuals to take decisions, usually political or religious, according to the dictates of conscience. They believe people should be able to exercise the maximum possible freedom consistent with others being able to enjoy similar liberty, and oppose arbitrary power and discrimination.
Progressives favour social and political reform that is considered to be beneficial to the majority of the population. These reforms are put forward within the existing framework of capitalist society. Constitutional reform is a particular concern, as Progressives seek to bring government closer to the people.
Radicals advocate going to the root of a problem. They favour fundamental solutions to social, economic and political problems.
Social Democrats support a mixed economy, where state-owned and privately owned industry coexist. In such an economy, central economic planning is used to supplement the workings of the free market, not to replace it. Social Democrats have a negative view of nationalisation, believing it to be one means of securing state influence over the workings of the economy.
Social Democrats believe social inequalities can be addressed by an enhanced level of state intervention within the existing structure of the capitalist economic system.
Socialists are committed to equality and oppose inequalities in the distribution of wealth and political power. They want to see class divisions replaced by co-operation and fraternity.
Socialists favour state control of all means of production, believing that to be necessary for equality. They also favour centralised planning of the economy and the nationalisation of key industries.
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