Which Ones Describe You?

People interested in government and governmental affairs tend to throw around a lot of terms to describe not only their perspective, but also what they think others believe/support.

IMO, the terminology some people use is often inaccurate (especially when describing others who hold a different viewpoint than theirs), so I did a little “outside research.” Listed below (in alphabetical order) are definitions of several popular positions. I think readers may be surprised at some of the meanings.

Feel free to share the terms that fit your personal outlook.

  • Absolutism – The belief that the government should have all the power and be able to do whatever it wants.
  • American Conservatism – The belief that freedom trumps all other political considerations; the government should play a small role in people’s lives.
  • American Liberalism – The belief that the government should promote equality in politics and economics.
  • Classical Conservatism – A view that arose in opposition to classical liberalism; it claimed that tradition was very valuable, human reason limited, and stability essential.
  • Classical Liberalism – A view that arose in the early modern era in Europe; it argues for the value of the individual, the necessity for freedom, the importance of rationalism, and the value of the free market.
  • Communism – An extreme form of socialism that advocates violent revolution to create a socialist state.
  • Constitutional Democracy – A type of government characterized by limitations on government power spelled out in a constitution.
  • Environmentalism – The belief that humans have an obligation to protect the world from the excesses of human habitation, including pollution and the destruction of wilderness.
  • Federalism – A system of government in which power is shared by national and state governments.
  • Internationalism – The view that the United States should play an active role in world affairs.
  • Isolationism – The view that the United States should largely ignore the rest of the world.
  • Libertarianism – The belief that government should be small and most decisions left up to the individual.
  • Limited Government – A government that places few restrictions on its citizens’ choices and actions, and in which the government is limited in what it can do.
  • Nazism – Political ideology from Germany that stressed the superiority of the German race, authoritarian rule by one party, military expansion, and a longing for a mythical past
  • Neoconservatism – A recent development in American conservatism that believes the power of the state should be used to promote conservative goals.
  • Patronage – Government jobs and contracts given out to political allies in exchange for support. (Does this remind you of anyone?)
  • Political Efficacy – The belief that the government listens to normal people and that participation can make a difference in government.
  • Representative Democracy – A system of government in which the people elect officials to represent their interests in the government.
  • Republic – A regime that runs by representative democracy.
  • Socialism – Political view that the free market breeds servitude and inequality and should be abolished.
  • Supply-Side Economics – An attempt to improve the economy by providing big tax cuts to businesses and wealthy individuals (the supply side). These cuts encourage investment, which then creates jobs, so the effect will be felt throughout the economy; also known as Trickle-Down Economics.

I also came across a couple of words that aren’t in common usage, but I felt they were relevant to today’s political environment.

Caesaropapism – The belief that the powers of church and state should be united in one person.

Demosclerosis – The inability of the U.S. government to get anything significant done because interest groups block all major change.

And finally … one that many people in this country seem to be lacking:

Multiculturalism – The idea that Americans should learn about and respect the many cultural heritages of the people of the United States.

These and other definitions can be found here.

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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41 thoughts on “Which Ones Describe You?

  1. Hmmmmm. Responsible Anarchy seems to be missing from your list. But no surprise, I may have been the one to invent the term, so I don’t expect many to know it.
    Responsible Anarchy involves having no government, but with all citizens being responsible to all others so that no one hurts another in any way. What hurts anyone hurts everyone.
    Not to worry, I already know most people believe this is impossible. I don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Those definitions are generally accurate with four obvious exceptions. The following are the correct definitions with my personal additions in brackets:

    absolutism: the acceptance of or belief in absolute principles in political, philosophical, ethical, or theological matters. [an “absolutist” believes in the sanctity and supremacy of an idea]

    communism: a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.

    republic: a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives [i.e. rule of law], and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch [i.e. arbitrary rule].

    socialism: a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I admit your definitions are more detailed than those in the list, but can we say they are the only “correct” ones? A little internet research reveals that while similar to what you presented, there are some variations. IMO, it probably depends a great deal on individual interpretation.

      Nevertheless, I do appreciate you providing more detail as a couple of the definitions were a bit sparse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Those were not “my” definitions, they were copied from a dictionary. This isn’t about “individual interpretation,” this is about the accurate meaning of political terms taught in any quality civics classroom. Specifically:

        Absolutism is a general term that is not commonly applied to politics. If it was, it would be more appropriately phrased as “political absolutism” which in its purest form would describe autocracy and dictatorship.

        Communism is a socioeconomic philosophy, not a unique advocacy for violent revolution. I remind you that the American revolution was very violent, and the American colonists who waged it were capitalists.

        Republics are not limited to democracy, and not all democracies are republics. Iran is a republic where the rule of law is based on theocracy and not on democracy. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy (not a republic) having a separate Head of State (currently the Queen) and a parliamentary elected Head of Government (a Prime Minister). The Democracy Index rates Iran as “Authoritarian,” the U.K. as a “Full Democracy,” and the U.S. as a “Flawed Democracy.”

        The most democratic nations in the world have economies with a strong mix of socialism and market-based practices. So, saying that socialism and free markets are incompatible is demonstrably false.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. American Liberalism is a good start for me with hints of Classical Liberalism!

    Environmentalism most definitely! In fact, anyone who LOVES science, especially the Natural Sciences, has to be an outspoken active Environmentalist. 🙂

    I must modify this one: Internationalism. I’d prefer it to be Internationalism within Parity. IOW, do not verbally boast and behave as if YOUR native country is any better on all levels than another. That is a sure fire way to create enemies and lose allies! Duh!

    Political Efficacy? Yes. But I’m sure this needs more elaboration. LOL

    Representative Democracy and Republic? For sure, but isn’t that supposed to be what we’ve had since 1776? 😉 😛

    Multicultural? Without a doubt! When you’ve traveled the world so much, living in spells on 4 of the 6 inhabitable continents as I’ve been so fortunate to do, your perspectives and horizons are forever changed, never to be what they were before. I LOVE this planet’s endless diversity! Diversity that is also always changing.

    To conclude, everything that I have not listed/mentioned, I am not! Never will be! Very, VERY happy with who I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve forgotten “Me-ism”: A political ideology which states; “Whatever I say or feel is right at the moment politically is, and whatever you feel at the moment, politically speaking, if it is not in line with what I am thinking and/or believing at the moment, is wrong.” There is also my personal favorite “Gas Chamber/Crematorium Politics”. This is a political view wherein all not believing exactly what I do and living their lives accordingly are placed into a gas chamber and then quickly cremated so as not to rot and be stinky. I’m running for Senate on both these ideologies, and, so far, no one has opposed me or said a single thing against them. I should do just smashing in Nov of 2020, I do believe.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Umm, Jeff/IBTD with lightning bolt and toga… you forgot Acute NobelPrize Hoarding!!! 🙄 If you include that as well, then I will consider voting for you in 2020. BUT you must provide great snacks, great circus/trapeze flying monkeys and seals (with colorful beach balls!) at your campaign rallies while screaming “DEATH TO INTELLECTUALISM and EDUCATION ABOVE 6TH GRADE” and “PUT 7 HIGH-POWERED GUNS IN EVERY AMERICAN’s HANDS”!!! That way we’ll all feel much safer staring down 14-gun barrels pointed at all of us 328-million Americans!

      Damn I love this Republican Wild Wild West America where anything goes when there is no serious Checks-n-Balances, accountability, principles, and rampant Mob-boss lifestyles from White House to all Wisteria Lanes!!! 🇺🇸 (stands in Nazi salute to national anthem playing!)

      …O’er the ramparts we watched,
      were so gallantly Tweeting!

      And tha AR-15’s red glare,
      body-parts bursting everywhere,
      Gave proof over 53-years
      that gun-sells outweigh life.

      O say, does that rat-tat-tat
      hit wave after wave
      O’er the dead that do not breath,
      and the home… of tha… graves!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. American Conservatism – The belief that freedom trumps all other political considerations; the government should play a small role in people’s lives.

    Wrong. There is not and never has been an ideology that believes that. Libertarianism comes closest, with the proviso that it only means economic freedom, not other kinds of freedom, and in practice only the economic freedom of the wealthiest to shit all over everybody else. Even traditional conservatism has always touted subservience to religion and the state, not freedom.

    Today, “American conservatism” in practice means three things:

    – God hates fags
    – You must have your rapist’s baby
    – Tax cuts for billionaires at the expense of the rest of society

    I don’t care what they say. I’m going by what they do when they hold power. The above three points are the entire sum total of American conservatism as it actually exists in the real world. Any other attempt at defining it is irrelevant.

    Socialism – Political view that the free market breeds servitude and inequality and should be abolished.

    Wrong. Actual socialist economies as they exist in the real world, like Germany and Britain and Canada, all include a substantial role for the free market. They just have a more substantial social safety net than we do.

    Communism is differentiated from socialism in that communism requires state ownership of the means of production (although this was not always fully carried out in practice — in Poland most farmland remained privately owned even during the communist period). This gives it an inherently totalitarian character which makes it difficult to distinguish from fascism in practice. See how China transitioned from communism to de facto fascism so easily. It’s drastically different from actual existing socialist countries.

    “Supply-side” or “trickle-down” economics is a scam, not a system. It has never, ever worked as described in the definition. It’s purely a cloud of verbal squid ink concocted to legitimize more tax cuts for the wealthy, and it’s foolish to pretend that anyone who supported it ever meant it to be anything else.

    The problem with definitions like this is that they take theoretical abstractions as their starting point, rather than starting with systems actually observed in the real world and attempting to classify them. This makes them largely useless. In fact, most of them read like they were copied from some right-wing propaganda site.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I just happened to come across this website in my wanderings and thought the defs would make for some good discussion. I didn’t think the site was a particularly “right-wing propaganda site,” but maybe so … ?? (I did provide the link if you want to check it out.)

      In any case, I do agree some of them are too cut and dried to serve as an actual definition, but as I said, the post was mostly to stimulate conversation.

      Like

    • I researched the source linked in this post. The site is called SparkNotes, a company created in 1999 by four Harvard students (including Sam Yagan, Vice-Chairman of the e-dating site Match.com), which has been criticized by university teachers for posting study materials allowing student to cheat on their exams. However, I could not find any direct indication of its political bias; although, such bias is quite apparent judging by some of its published content.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. And thus, Nan, everything breaks down, with everyone having their own ideas of what kind of government they have and what kind they want–none of which matters because they are stuck with the kind of government they get!
    Except for the class wars part, Marx saw the world for what it was, and what it would become, a small oligarchy of rich people ruling over huge masses of powerless wage-slaves.
    No one anywhere knows the best form of government because it does not exist. As long as you have government, you have power-hungry people wanting to tell others how to live to best help the powerful live the lives they want. That is what government is all about–do things my way so that I can have whatever I want.
    Trump is showing us that right now. He is intentionally obvious about it. His way, or no way! Give him another 5 years and there will be no public form of law!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Paul! Thanks for stopping by. And I think environmentalism is one of the best choices. In fact, we need a lot more people to embrace that particular “ism.”

      BTW, visited your blog. I like your poems. You might be interested in visiting my “creative” blog … link is above in the menu

      Hope you’ll visit again … and often.

      Liked by 1 person

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