The types of ideology predominating today explain a good part of how we behave collectively. Even though it may not seem so, in our ways of thinking there are always beliefs and perspectives that we have inherited from previous generations and that determine a good part of our actions. There are simply no such things as free thinkers.
In this article we will see what the main types of ideology are and what ideas and beliefs they are based on.
The 6 types of ideology
Ideology is a system of beliefs, ideas and feelings that guide our thinking when it comes to interpreting how the world is and the social phenomena that take place in it. Thus, they are cognitive schemes on which we rely to think.
We will now review these types of ideology, but first we must be clear that they are valid today, that they have not always existed and that in the future they will mutate or even disappear to make way for others.
1. Religious conservatism and extreme right-wing ideologies
Religious conservatism is characterized by the fact that the religious beliefs of a religious group to which one belongs set the political agenda, which is normally oriented towards making the symbols, rituals and beliefs associated with that religion prevail.
This means that in this ideology the content of the sacred texts has great importance , and that the answers to a great part of life’s questions are sought in them, regardless of what reality shows us through experience.
It is common for this ideology to use terms such as “sacrilegious” or “unnatural” to define activities or habits that are considered to be against faith, which by definition is not questioned: in fact, blind belief is rewarded without asking for the necessary evidence to see if the predicted is fulfilled.
On the other hand, an extreme right-wing ideology is one in which it is a matter of repressing people and groups for not fitting in with ideas linked to “essences” . These essences can refer to the country and the nation, on the one hand, attributing to a territory some customs, symbols and rituals, as well as frequently a religion, language and race, as well as to the human condition, also pointing out a series of supposedly “unnatural” behaviours.
Thus, both conservatism and its more radical versions of the extreme right are characterized by essentialism and the identification of political and social objectives with ideas about how the right society should be according to arbitrary parameters based on the supernatural.
Liberalism is a type of ideology based on individualism, that is, attention to one’s own needs. On the other hand, the analyses of society, economy and politics that are carried out from this position also place in a priority place the subjectivity of oneself and the freedom of choice , to which more importance is given than to the economic equality.
The concept of private property is of great importance in liberalism, since it is seen practically as an extension of the self. That is why it advocates the need to be able to do practically anything with private property, as well as with one’s own body, without being accountable to anyone, as long as this does not directly harm other individuals.
On the other hand, from the liberalism certain initiatives are defended attending to the ida that they represent and to the analysis of if these are legitimate or not, for which it is considered that it is an idealistic ideology.
Socialism is fundamentally one of the types of collectivist ideology that, unlike religious conservatism (also collectivist), are secular. In other words, it is detached from any religion and rejects any initiative that has to do with regulating political and social life on the basis of beliefs in the divine.
On the other hand, socialism is clearly different from liberalism in two fundamental respects. The first we have already seen, and it is that liberalism is individualistic, while socialism is collectivistic , which means that it gives much importance to social phenomena, which cannot be explained by focusing only on the actions and preferences of individuals, as if they were isolated from each other.
The second difference is that while liberalism is idealistic, socialism is materialistic; not in a moral sense (since socialism rejects consumerism) but philosophical: it is not the ideas that matter, but the facts and their effects on the world . For example, from this ideology it is considered that the idea of freedom does not mean anything if that freedom is given to people who, because of their poverty, are forced to choose only between precarious jobs in which they will be exploited.
Moreover, as socialism has a historical perspective by going beyond the individual , they point out several problems inherited from generation to generation, most of which have to do with the concentration of capital in few hands and with the subjugation of women to men that has historically occurred and that continues to occur clearly in many countries even today.
On the other hand, in this type of ideology there are two differentiated variants: anarchism and communism.
Anarchism is a type of ideology based on socialism that defends the need to collectivize goods, that is, to make resources available in the hands of a minority. On the other hand, it should be noted that there are different types of anarchism (or libertarianism) and not all of them propose the same strategies to achieve this.
The communists, whose ideology has been heavily influenced by the ideas of the philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, are committed to a planned economy and the use of the state to end various forms of elite domination.
However, ideological conceptions of socialism and communism should not be confused with socialism and communism understood as historical contexts, parts of a political project. You can learn more about this in this article: “The 5 differences between socialism and communism”
4. Social Democracy
The Social Democrats adopt elements of the Liberals and the Socialists. On the one hand, they do not simply focus on the individualistic analysis of reality. On the other hand, they renounce the idea of eliminating problems of inequality and domination through the elimination of private property over the means of production (i.e., technological or natural resources that create wealth if others work in them: factories, fields…). Instead, they try to seek a balance based on the redistribution of wealth .