Let's talk about the ideologies we see in the U.S. and across the world.
Most political analysts suggest that we are moving to the extreme ends of the spectrum and are more polarized than we have been since the Civil War.
Many feel authoritarianism is on the rise, both here and in other democracies. Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by strong central power and limited political freedoms. Under an authoritarian regime, individual freedoms are subordinate to the state, and there is no constitutional accountability and no rule of law. Authoritarian regimes can be autocratic, with power concentrated in one person, or can be a committee, with power shared among officials and government institutions. The political scientist Juan Linz synthesized authoritarian political systems as possessing four qualities:
1. Limited political pluralism, realized with legalistic constraints on the legislature, political parties, and interest groups.
2. Political legitimacy based upon appeals to emotion, and identification of the regime as a necessary evil to combat enemies of the people, socio-economic underdevelopment, and guerrilla insurgency.
3. Minimal social mobilization consequent to legalistic constraints, such as political suppression of all anti-regime activities.
4. Informally defined executive powers, which extend and allow government authority into every sphere of life.
On the other end of the spectrum, Socialism is being discussed in the Democratic primary. Socialism is defined as a social and economic doctrine that calls for public rather than private ownership or control of property and natural resources. According to the socialist view, individuals do not live or work in isolation but live in cooperation with one another. Socialists complain that capitalism necessarily leads to unfair and exploitative concentrations of wealth and power in the hands of the relative few who emerge victorious from free-market competition—people who then use their wealth and power to reinforce their dominance in society. Because such people are rich, they may choose where and how to live, and their choices in turn limit the options of the poor. As a result, terms such as individual freedom and equality of opportunity may be meaningful for capitalists but can only ring hollow for working people, who must do the capitalists’ bidding if they are to survive.
Democratic Socialism is being talked about in relation to some of the newest members of The House of Representatives. Democratic socialism is a political philosophy that advocates political democracy alongside a socially owned economy, with an emphasis on workers' self-management and democratic control of economic institutions within a market or some form of a decentralized planned socialist economy. Democratic socialists argue that capitalism is inherently incompatible with the values of liberty, equality and solidarity and that these ideals can be achieved only through the realization of a socialist society.
A significant group of Americans identify as Libertarian. Libertarianism is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association, and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.
These are only a few of the ideologies present in our changing political environment. So come prepared to discuss (civilly) those that intrigue you.