Political ideology in American Society can get a little confusing. This is due partially to the fact that the most commonly used model to explain political ideology is too simple. The linear model, as it is sometimes called, puts the ideological spectrum on a straight line. This model often leaves researcher's wondering about ideologies because it ties groups together that may have absolutely different ideas. Also, the linear model does not perfectly predict each point. A better way to explain the ideological spectrum is with the square model. This model puts the ideological spectrum in five dimensions, giving it a better representation of the ideological spectrum. First, however, to explain the importance of the square model verses the linear model, the understanding of the different elements involved in these models must be explained.
There are five main elements/political philosophies in most American political ideology models: left-liberal, right-conservative, authoritarian, libertarian, and moderate. The first, left-liberals, believe in governing themselves on personal matters, but they want government to control economics. The left-liberals "want government to serve the disadvantaged in the name of fairness. Leftists tolerate social diversity, but work for economic equality" (Libertarian 1). The opposite of the left-liberals is the right-conservatives. This group believes in free-markets with government putting a check on personal freedom. "Right-conservatives prefer self-government on economic issues, but want official standards in personal matters. They want the government to defend the community from threats to its moral fiber" (Libertarian 1). The next group is the libertarians. The libertarians want little government help or control. "Libertarians are self-governors in both personal and economic matters. They believe government's only purpose is to protect people from coercion and violence. They value individual responsibility, and tolerate economic...
Cited: Libertarian Party. "Worlds Smallest Political Quiz"
[http://www.self-gov.org] October 1999
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