4 Functions Of Political Ideology

The term “ideology” is derived from a combination of two different words – “idea” and “logy”. The first one means the sensations that we get to experience when we interact with other people, and the second one refers to the ideas that are generated by our mind due to these sensations. In simpler terms, we can refer to this term as a science or system of ideas. Ideology has several types, each having its own importance. For instance, political ideology has some types that include:

-          Liberalism

-          Conservatism

-          Anarchism

Every ideology is based on some rules and principles. Ideology plays an imperative role in directing people toward the right track. This article will discuss one of the main types of ideologies. Keep reading to learn about it.

What is political ideology?

Political ideology is defined as a set of rules, ethical ideas, myths, and doctrines of a particular class, group, or institution. It sheds light on how society should be working and also provides a base of cultural and moral values for social order. The allocation of power is one of the biggest concerns of society and political ideology answers this question. It mainly focuses on two important aspects – the management of society and how this management will take place, which means the methods of management. Apart from it, it also has a defined idea about an ideal form of government which means an autocratic government or a democratic government.

Let us have a look at each of the types of political ideologies:

-          Anarchism

It is an ideology in which political order is given no value. The state is considered evil and anarchists think that the state order is against the rule of freedom and equality. They consider the political order as a source of problems instead of considering it as a solution. Anarchists never listen to the state order but they give utmost importance to the natural order which is based on their own assumptions.

Thus, anarchists want a society that is stateless and where the issues are resolved through cooperation and understanding between individuals. This concept intersects the two traditions which are ultra-liberal and ultra-social. Anarchism has a lot of negative aspects as it has never become a winning ideology in history. It got great criticism because it favors “human goodness” so much. Due to this reason, anarchism is considered as the less significant ideology in comparison to all other forms of ideologies. It’s an unrealistic idea as complete dependence on human cooperation without the state being involved can never make a healthy society.

-          Conservatism

This ideology refers to the resistance to change. The ideology is set on the principle that humans need security and that they are greedy as well as selfish. They always have a lust for power and they are unable to deal with the complex problems of the world. Conservatism believes in the hierarchy of all social institutions and it gives prime importance to the property. This is due to the reason that property provides security to people. The idea of conservatism emerged in the late eighteenth century when society was bombarded with the pressure of nationalism, socialism, and liberalism. This ideology sets its steps on the rule that only authority and a shared culture can help the intellectually imperfect humans.

-          Liberalism

This ideology promotes full freedom of individuals as it is set on the principle that human needs fulfillment and freedom of work at all stages. Values like freedom, justice, tolerance, and rationalism are the core points of this ideology. It cannot be denied that human beings are all equal in their worth and equal opportunities should be provided to every individual to work and enjoy their lives, but liberalism believes that individuals should be rewarded based on their work, skills, and talent.

It is believed that the political tradition of the West is largely shaped by the influence of liberalism. Apart from it, liberalism is often correlated with the industrialized West. Today, it is considered modern to portray liberalism as a meta-ideology which means a collection of rules on which other political debate can take place.

In a society where the ideology of liberalism is prevalent, every business, from a software development company to larger-scale establishments, all have complete freedom. 

The Basic 4 Functions Of Ideology

It is now clear that ideology is a set of rules that allows people to understand their position in society and provide a strategy for social and political action. Two famous personalities who have presented several theories on ideology were Richard Dagger and Terence Ball. According to them, every ideology has the basic four functions but they are performed differently for each type.

These four basic functions are:

1-      Explanation

An ideology provides a sound explanation about the conditions of economy and politics. This explanation is provided in detail mainly in crises.

2-      Evaluation

For the evaluation of social conditions, an ideology provides a set standard. This standard helps in understanding the cause of many things happening in society and its good or bad impact.

3-      Orientation

Ideology gives a direction to people; it presents a preference in terms of societal issues. It also clarifies the postion of individuals in the world.

4-      Political program

An ideology provides a general and specific program to its followers. It sets a plan on which political and social actions are to be taken.

With the help of these four functions, political ideology tries to link the beliefs into actions. Every form of ideology provides a sound vision for the political world so that a better change can take place. It can also be said that all political powers run for winning the competition to gain full authority so that they can change society in a way that supports the ideology of their mind. It should be understood that ideologies are not related to a particular religion or scientific theory. All political ideologies are set on two main things which are human nature and freedom. By keeping these things in mind and relating the functions of ideology, political ideology provides a base for a good social change. 


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