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Political ideologies

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Political spectrum

The first mention of the term ideology dates back to 1801, when Antoine Destutt de Tracy published Elements of Ideology. However, the meaning that Tracy applied to this neologism had nothing political about it: it was about a science of ideas and sensations: “I want in this writing, not to teach you, but to point out to you all that happens in you when you think, speak, and reason.” In fact, it only takes on its current meaning from the German Ideology of Karl Marx, written in 1846, but published much later.


Liberalism is a school of thought in political philosophy, born of an opposition to absolutism and divine right in Enlightenment Europe (18th century), which affirms the primacy of the principles of freedom and individual responsibility over power of the sovereign master. It is based on the idea that every human being has fundamental rights that no power can violate. Consequently, the liberals want to limit the social obligations imposed by the power and more generally the social system with the profit of the free choice of each individual.

Liberalism is based on a moral precept which opposes the subjugation of the individual, from which flow a philosophy and an organization of life in society allowing each individual to enjoy maximum freedom, particularly in economic matters. For most liberals, therefore, the dichotomy between “economic liberalism” and “political liberalism” does not exist, since it is the application of the same doctrine in different areas.

In the broad sense, liberalism advocates a society based on the freedom of expression of individuals with respect for the right to pluralism and the free exchange of ideas. It must join on the one hand in the economic field, private initiative, free competition and its corollary the market economy, on the other hand, political and economic powers well framed by the law and the checks and balances. It therefore values ​​merit as the basis of the hierarchy. This ideally supposes a rule of law where minorities are respected, down to the smallest, the individual, the State being only the guarantor of this respect and having to render accounts for its action.

However, depending on the country and the political context, liberalism may manifest itself in very different, even opposite ways. The liberal could thus be, according to the place, even according to the times, the one who requires the State to break a religious or social traditionalism oppressive for the individual (caste, statutes, discriminations and privileges…) or that it intervenes to give everyone a real capacity for economic action (restrained by a monopoly, poverty, lack of education, credit or other), or conversely, those who oppose the intervention of power. This comes in particular from the ambiguity of the term between the English liberal which designates the progressive supporters in particular of interventionism, and “liberal” term which designates the philosophical movement and opposed to the intervention of the State outside the regalian. If they both refer to the Enlightenment, that of the Anglo-Saxon world is heir to the liberalism of the 1920s (like that of Beveridge, or initiated by John Stuart Mill, in particular in his work On Liberty), when he returns to France to the Austrian school and the turn of liberalism after the 1970s, often called neo-liberalism.

The limits to be set on the action of the State, as well as the modalities of public action (in particular the respective roles of administrative action and the law), will be especially subject to debate within the organization itself. Most liberals consider that the action of the state is necessary for the protection of individual freedoms, within the framework of its sovereign functions, and many of them (like Adam Smith, Raymond Aron, Karl Popper or Benedetto Croce) accept and even recommend certain state interventions in the economy, particularly in terms of control and regulation. In contrast, libertarians (or anarcho-capitalists) deny the state any legitimacy in any area whatsoever.


Socialism is a type of social organization based on collective ownership (or social ownership) of the means of production, as opposed to capitalism.

It is the objective of various currents that have appeared and developed since the 19th century, and have culminated today in the various Marxist and anarchist currents, as well as in the social democrats. The distribution of goods and services can be done according to the production of each individual (collectivism, piecework) or according to the needs of each individual (communism, taking the heap). Marxist states have a collectivist economy, while communism is advocated by anarchists. The socialist movement seeks social justice, condemns social inequalities and the exploitation of man by man, defends social progress, and advocates the advent of an egalitarian society, without social classes.


Originally, fascism (in Italian fascismo) designates an Italian political movement that emerged at the end of the First World War. On March 23, 1919, Benito Mussolini brought together a number of dissidents from the PSI, and began to form a “Fighting Beam” (fascio di combattimento). By “fascio”, Mussolini then meant a spontaneist movement, in line with Italian revolutionary syndicalism. The term actually belonged to a far-left vocabulary. In direct competition with other revolutionary organizations (including the nascent Communist Party), the Fascii tried to recover a right-wing clientele. These attempts at recovery reassured the Italian bourgeoisie, which, following the repression of workers’ movements, considered this movement to be a lesser evil.

The ideology of this movement is difficult to define: one can see there schematically a synthesis of nationalism and revolutionary unionism, but multiple contexts and ideological movements have in fact preluded its creation: the revival of the irrational, futurism, anti-Semitism. Because of its composite nature, fascism struggled to form an original and new doctrine: at first, fascism was difficult to distinguish from other ultra-minority movements. Contemporaries themselves were skeptical of a “catch-all” program, which captures Marxist, nationalist and reactionary themes alike.

Considered from the angle of two pluralities, Fascism becomes a generic political concept, which, beyond Mussolini’s regime, characterizes Hitler’s Nazism, Codreanu’s Cuza League, the Austrian Heimwehr, Oswald Mosley’s BUF , the PPF of Jacques Doriot. It would even seem that one can speak, after 1929, of an international fascism. In 1932, Mussolini said in a speech given in Milan: “In ten years, Europe will be fascist or fascistized”. Earlier, one of the regime’s caciques, Asvero Gravelli, went so far as to declare in his journal Antieuropa: “Fascism is the gravedigger of old Europe. Here come the forces of the Fascist International”. It is in this spirit that Mussolini created the CAUR (Comitati d’Azione per l’Universalità di Roma) in 1933, in order to federate the movements which claim Italian fascism. This initiative remained a dead letter: fundamentally nationalist, fascisms cannot coexist. It was only through the expansionism of a few fascist states that fascism could impose itself internationally.

At the end of World War II, fascist movements ceased to be a viable political alternative. Both their involvement in crimes against humanity and the advent of a capitalist system infinitely more internationalized than in the past definitively mortgages their ideological future. Although the “epoch of fascism” is over, these movements continue, marginally, to exist.


Neoliberalism has the ideology of privatizing the public sector and limiting state intervention in the economic system to promote private sector profit. Ronald Regan and Margaret Thatcher promoted these practices during their tenure in the 1980s.

The main thrusts of neoliberal theses also aim to lower the cost of labor and control the evolution of the money supply to prevent inflationary effects.

Includes texts from Wikipedia with license CC BY-SA 3.0, translated and adapted by Nicolae Sfetcu

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