The Role of Ideology in Political Life

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"The Role of Ideology in Political Life"
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Ideologies are necessary in any walk of life. They act as stable alternatives to rash and uncontrolled behavior. Certainly the governing system of any nation must have in place workable perfectionistic goals that will guide them toward more effective leadership.

Yet the key is reality. This sobering quality is needed to keep perfectionism in its proper place and to not allow it to run headlong into disruptive and out of order conduct. This is as true in politics as it is in every other life endeavor. Ideally, politics strives to do the most good for the most people and to be fair and honest in all dealings. But realism intervenes in more down to earth situations and attempts to see things as they are, not as they should be.

Then why has ideology as a measuring rod for political guidelines gone wrong? Possibly it’s caused by wrong interpretations of the word ideology. Ideology does not stem from the word ideal—although they’re related— but is the study of ideas. And ideas by their very nature can be good or they can be bad. Often they’re a combination of both, and without these being separated one or the other dominates.

Yet, it’s ideologies that make up political theory and policy. And these keep shifting as the world moves onward and new thoughts and ideas are brought in to patch up threadbare ideologies’ that have outlived their usefulness. An example of this is the Tea Party bandwagons many US citizens climbed onto in the past few years to protest new health care ideas being presented to the public.

The sad part of these disruptions is not in their ideas and their beliefs but the wrong interpretations by those who will see something in these demonstrations for themselves and will climb aboard. They carry the idea further and into more dangerous ground than it was ever intended to be taken into. And then when some psychotic individual takes matters into their own hands and kills people, then people begin to think.

In other words, what’s in it for me’ is not as innocent and as safe as it appears to be. Up to a point every responsible person must take care of their own personal needs and the needs of their family but that can create dangerous politics. In political thinking this is a deadly concept. Yet in principle, it’s far superior to social systems that use people for state run ideologies and thrust all together and make no distinction between who works harder and who deserves the rights to the better life style than what’s being offered.

Political ideologies run the gamut from Democracies where the people rule by electing representatives to speak for them to those who believe the state owns everything and all must work and share alike; an example is communism. In between these two extremes is socialism where a little bit of both philosophies are somehow intertwined.

The role of political ideologies is common sense. The intention, no matter how far from the original intention it has strayed, is to create a society that is humane, decent, economically sound, and where the government is solely for the welfare of the people. What causes governments to go wrong is not in the ideology, or the ideals that prompted it in the first place, but are directly related to those in charge. They’re not up to the challenge of effectively running a government.

Yet, the next question is who is? The impossibility of trying to create a heaven on earth without even acknowledging the leader of such a venture is doomed to failure. All good leaders need a mentor, or one who can be looked to for guidance, why not political ideologies?

What do political analysts believe?

More about this author: Effie Moore Salem

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