Recently, I heard a very well known radio talk show host tell his audience not to worry about the meaning of words. It shocked me for two reasons. First, this host is well known for telling his audience that “Words mean things,” and then defending the meaning of the word or words in question. But what shocked me even more was the words in question this time were those words we use to describe the various political ideologies in America today. What’s more, this host not only told his audience not to listen to anyone who tries to explain what these terms mean and to just accept what he tells his audience they mean. Well, this has bothered me ever since I heard it — mostly because, after saying these things, this host then proceeded to give a false meaning for many of these terms. So I had to write to help any who might be interested understand what the terms mean and from whence they came.
First things first: I trust we can all agree that the person who invents or develops an idea is the one who defines that idea. By this I mean, if you invent something or develop an idea, then you are the ultimate authority on what that idea is and what it means. No one else has the authority to come along later and tell you that you are wrong, or to change your idea and then assert that they now control it. It is your idea and you alone define it — period. Well, the same applies to those men and women who developed the various political ideologies vying for influence in America today.
Now that we have this understanding — that the inventor defines — let us look first at the political ideologies that are all vying for control of the American people. Keep in mind, I have given generalized definitions which, when investigated, will reveal themselves to be accurate, but not exhaustive.:
In the United States, this would be our founding fathers.
This has nothing to do with the ‘Liberalism’ of today. This is why those who know and understand political ideology often refer to it as ‘Classic Liberalism.’ In simple terms, Liberalism is about the individual and individual rights and liberties. However, Liberalism also contains an inherent sense of personal responsibility and accountability not only to ourselves, but also to each other and to society. In other words, Liberalism acknowledges duty and accountability to others and to society. Hence, it is dependent upon a strong moral foundation.
In the United States, developed by Teddy Roosevelt, then co-opted by Woodrow Wilson.
This is an ideology that is difficult to explain. In short, it is based on the notion that man can use science to purposely control society and direct human evolution. hence the use of the term ‘progress’ in the name. However, in the United States, Woodrow Wilson clearly and forcefully explained that ‘Progressive’ was a term chosen to sell Communism to the American people. Thus, at least in America, ‘Progressive’ is synonymous with Communism. But, no matter where it is found, the spirit of Progressivism is the idea that man is his own god and, as such, can direct his own evolution/destiny.
Developed by Karl Marx.
In theory, Communism is a political ideology whereby society just naturally agrees on everything and runs itself by this collective conscience of agreement. However, this is an impossibility. While social in nature, man is not a collective organism. Even among collective creatures such as ants and bees, there is a queen. Thus, in practice, Communism is a derivation of the old system of the son king, or ruler as god. Only, in this case, government is the god. Under this system, the government owns and controls everything. Thus leaving those who would control society to fight over control of the government.
Developed and named by Benito Mussolini (whose symbol is that of community organizers today: a fascine, or bundle of small sticks into a larger stick with an axe head built in).
Also called corporatism by Mussolini, this is the primary competitor of Communism. Whereas in Communism the government owns and controls everything directly, Fascism allows for a cooperation between business and government where private ownership and operation is allowed, but only so long as it is operated in accordance with the will of those running the government. Otherwise, there is little difference between Communism and Fascism. Here again, the struggle is to be the one in charge of the State, and hence, the nation.
This one has many authors, but one of the most prominent would be Ayn Rand.
This terms is actually a term used to describe a wide range of ideologies which all hold one primary value in common: that of self-interest above all else. Thus, it is easier to explain what Libertarianism is not. Most important to understand is that Libertarianism is not Liberalism. While the Libertarian values the individual, and individual rights and liberties, there is seldom any sense of duty or responsibility to others or to society in the Libertarian ideal. In general, the Libertarian is all about themselves. Ayn Rand’s “Fountainhead” is the perfect illustration of the Libertarian ideal, as is “Atlas Shrugged.”
[NOTE: Rand’s ideology is called Objectivism, and is actually a mix of Liberalism and Libertarianism. Her ideology has influenced the Libertarian and American Conservative movement, although, the American Conservative movement has no real claim tot hat name.]
In the American tradition, developed by Edmund Burke.
Like Libertarianism, Conservatism is another ‘catch-all’ term. Contrary to modern assertion, Conservatism does not stand for any unique political ideology. Rather, it is all about holding on to what already is. In this sense, a Progressive who seeks to hold on to what they have gained is a Conservative. Likewise, so is a Communist who seeks to hold on to their power, and a Fascist. A better way to look at Conservatism would be as a traditionalist, or a ‘hold-what-you-have’ type of person. What Conservatism is not is a positive assertion of any particular political ideology or set of beliefs.
Here is where we have to be discerning. These are solid operational definitions for each of these ideologies. But there is a tendency to co-opt or steal the term of one ideology so as to cloak the agenda of another. For example:
Woodrow Wilson used the term ‘Progressive’ to represent his political agenda. He spoke in Progressive terms, talking about progress and science and the scientific administration of society. However, he was also very public in stating that he preferred Communism for America and that he chose to hide his true agenda behind the term ‘Progressive’ because he thought it would be the best way to get America to accept Communism. Thus, Wilson co-opted ‘Progressivism’ to hide his Communist agenda (and he said so in his own words).
Likewise, today, the American Conservative ‘claims’ to represent the ideology of America’s founding fathers. However, upon closer examination, one will discover that it doesn’t. It actually represents the ideology of Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive movement, which was Fascism by another name.
So, one must be aware of the constant attempt to take the name of one ideology and hide behind it so as to sell a secret agenda to the American people. This is done because, if the true nature of the hidden agenda were to be known, the American people would reject it. We can guard against falling into such traps by knowing what each term really means and then looking for its characteristic tells behind whatever term if being used. If someone starts the “America First’ Party and claims to stand for the individual, but then gets into power and starts to protect the State, or push a globalist agenda, you know you are dealing with Communism. If they get into power and push the State and nationalism, you are probably dealing with Fascism. And so forth.
The point is, just know what the people who developed these ideologies said they stand for and look for their tell-tale signs in whatever movement is courting your vote. This will not guarantee you will not be fooled by a deceiver, but it will make it much more difficult for the deceiver to fool you.