Political Ideology: Crash Course Government and Politics #35



hi I'm Craig and this is crash course government and politics and today we're gonna get personal not personal in the sense that I'm going to tell you I'm a bed-wetter because I'm not gonna tell you that we're gonna talk about people's personal political views and where they come from this is what political scientists sometimes call political socialization but before we get into the forces that help create our political outlooks we should probably define what political ideologies look like in America in America there are a number of ways that people characterize themselves politically typically they identify with a political party although as we'll see when we talk more about parties this has become less likely over time and although there's a lot of overlap between political party and political ideology there's not a hundred percent correspondence between the two but there is a hundred percent overlap between my fist and this Eagle speak politics so now I should probably say what I mean by political ideology basically I'm talking about whether you identify as liberal or conservative or libertarian or socialist or anarchist or nihilist or criest people who just love me I'm one of those you're probably familiar with the idea that liberals are on the left and conservatives are on the right and this can be a helpful shorthand but what political views do these terms represent let's go to the clown zone what the clone zone it's right here now I'll just I'll leave then this way I'll go this way taking a cue from anti federalists American conservatives believe that a large government poses a threat to individual liberty and we prefer our national government to be as small as possible we have this in common with libertarians there are some basic functions like national defense that government can best take care of but especially since the New Deal our federal government has taken on too much what government we need is best handled by states and localities for the most part American conservatives believe in the free market and that it will provide the greatest economic opportunity and benefit to the greatest number of people American conservatives usually support a strong defense this is one place where we generally don't think spending should be cut most other programs the things that fall under discretionary spending can and should be left up to the private sector and this will allow the government to reduce its spending lower spending in turn will mean lower taxes delicious lower taxes this means that we don't like flag-burning and we favor prayer in schools because these reflect traditional religious and patriotic values just like the eagle I love the eagle you're my friend many conservatives as strong adherence to religious faiths are against abortion but I'd say there is a greater diversity in conservative views on social issues than on economic one so the social sphere is where we differ significantly from our libertarian friends who don't see any role for government in people's personal lives this means that libertarians often support things like marijuana legalization that more traditional conservatives do not some if there's one value that American conservatives privilege above others its liberty America is a country of freedom and in most cases government is more of a threat to Liberty than a protector of it and I'm out not bad conservative clone but bad here's why sometimes liberals in the US are called New Deal liberals because the policies that we support grew out of the New Deal and lately a number of us are trying to rebrand ourselves as progressives although this is a little tricky given that historically progressives and liberals aren't the same thing in general American liberals believe that government can help solve problems and a bigger government like a glorious soaring eagle can solve bigger problems and more of them we support government intervention in the economy both in the form of regulations and higher taxes especially when that intervention benefits historically marginalized groups like minorities women and the poor we like to see the government step in on behalf of consumers and to protect the environment because in general we don't trust that the free market will be fair to everyone we know that protection of the environment aiding the poor and expanding civil liberties all cost money so we usually favor a progressive tax system with higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations although not all American liberals are anti-business as a rule we don't have a lot of faith that big businesses have the average Americans best interest at heart and so we prefer to see them regulated although we still see national defense as important most American liberals feel that the country spends more than enough on the military and that the defense budget should be cut leaving more money for necessary social programs in the debate over guns or butter we like butter although we're also fine with the government telling us not to eat so much of it if conservatives value Liberty we liberals cherish equality as our primary political virtue and we see government as a necessary agent in promoting equality or equals meaning that Eagle thanks Clones so for the most part this is what most American liberals and conservatives believe and these are the basic foundations upon which they build their political opinions but where do they come from political scientists sometimes refer to the process by which individuals establish their personal political ideologies as political socialization and they have identified four main agents that contribute to our political identities let's go to the thought-bubble the first and most important source of our politics is family this makes a lot of sense since kids either want to emulate their parents or reject their ideas and parents are usually the first people that express political opinions to kids as I suggested family can influence your political outlook and negative and positive ways if you respect your parents and admire it's likely that you will adopt their political ideology on the other hand adopting an opposing political view can be a form of rebellion still for the most part liberal parents breed liberal children and conservative parents create new generations of conservatives a second major influence on political ideology is social groups which in this case refer to one's race gender religion or ethnicity obviously these are generalizations but certain groups tend to fall predictably into liberal or conservative camps African Americans and Jewish people are among the most liberal Americans while white Catholics tend to be conservative Latinos are an interesting case because many identify as Catholic but they tend to be more liberal politically one of the reasons that many use to explain why African Americans and Latinos tend to be liberals is that these groups are disproportionately poor and receive a significant share of government benefits to this way of thinking economic self-interest is a prime determiner of where one stands politically and it also explains why white conservatives especially those who are wealthy favored policies of lower taxes and less government intervention one problem with this purely self-interested view of political ideology though is that there is a large number of low income low wealth white voters who also do or would game for more government benefits but they tend to be conservative in other words be careful when you try to define a person's politics by looking at their bank account gender also tends to be statistically significant in terms of political ideology the gender gap refers to the fact that women tend to be more liberal overall than men this is especially true on the issue of national defense where they tend to favor spending reductions rather than increases thanks thought-bubble the third agent of political socialization in the u.s. is education namely the primary and secondary school system this is the most formal way that our political views are shaped since almost all American students take at least one year of American history and many states require courses in civics in these courses students learn about political values like liberty and equality and may come to align themselves with a liberal or conservative view and maybe you're watching me in one of these classes right now conservatives tend to think that American schools and textbooks skewed towards a liberal outlook but this might be because most public school teachers are members of unions and teachers union membership correlates highly with a liberal viewpoint whether or not most teachers and textbooks are liberal it's a bit of a leap to assume that most students will automatically adopt the ideology of their teachers education does relate to political ideology and at least one measurable way though and at the higher the level of the education one attains the more likely one is to profess liberal views on issues such as women's rights or abortion on the other hand higher education levels also correlate with more conservative views on issues like governments of national health insurance or affirmative action programs to help African Americans so as with many things we look at things aren't so clear-cut and it's important to have some kind of data to back up our generalizations one final agent of political socialization are the political conditions one lives through example if you grew up during the Great Depression and saw FDR's New Deal programs benefit you and your family it's likely that you developed and maintained pro-government liberal views if you came of age during the Reagan era when popular politicians were singing the praises of self-reliance and calling government the problem rather than the solution it's likely that you developed conservative political views it remains to be seen whether people who form their political identities during the Great Recession will be liberal or conservative but don't worry pollsters are busy trying to figure it out so there you have a very broad outline of what the words conservative and liberal mean in American politics and some of the factors that turn people into liberals or conservatives more than probably anything I've said in this series these are generalizations that you need to look at critically this doesn't mean that if you find someone or if you are someone who doesn't fit either description 100 percent that we're completely wrong only that political ideologies are complex and change over time but we need to understand the outlines of these generalities because they get used all the time in our discussions of American politics in fact it would be hard to talk about politics without them thanks for watching see you next time crash course government and politics is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios support for crash course US government comes from vocal vocal supports non-profits that use technology and media to advance social equity learn more about their mission and initiatives at voqal.org crash course is made of the help of all of these political ideologues thanks for watching you




Comments
  1. I supported who I supported when I was poor. I still support that party now that I'm better off. I support them without regard to my gender or ethnicity. Am I alone in the fact that I try not to let friends or family influence how I vote?

  2. Can you do a video explaining socialism and what it means to someone like Hitler vs stalin in their societies and why fascism and communism isn't on the same end of the spectrum, considering the fact that both are highly similar

  3. Until I get retribution for stolen intellectual property including copyright infringment, identity theft, plagarism, defamation. No more political commentary from myself. Not volunteering to be homeless. Im angry.
    Im Independent. Not the dems nor reps political commentary buffet. Frfr

  4. The only "LIBERAL is that noise & labeling the GOP does…along with "LEFT" & "SOCIALISM". The Dems act like housewives, WIMPY…taking responses instead of advances. The Loud Mouth GOP are swindling the country's average hard working Americans. Put a stop to Bush Voting Machines(switchable) Double voting in 2 states. Gerrymandering. Time for Popular
    Voting, Holidays to do it. Poles that are OPEN No More Electoral voting, Dumping Ballots…all generated by GOP who are thieving
    everyone…not paying their share of taxes, the list is so long…it's embarrasing.
    In many countries they have no trouble with Health Care, here the GOP oppose it because the Drug & Medical community pay them to run for Government. We have been bought & sold. These Greedy Senators are just helping themselves. Greedy Old Politicians=GOP Time for a Better Goverment! Remind yourself that this Crook of a President was SELECTED by the GOP to Run for their Party….Trump represents the GOP>

  5. One problem of US politics is that members of both parties identify themselves as liberals. But in reality, there is a distinction between:
    > conservatives: favoring economic freedom but traditionally disfavoring personal freedom (example: abortion)
    > progressives: favoring personal freedom but disfavoring too much economic freedom, hence higher taxes
    > liberals: favoring both more economic freedom and personal freedom

    Of course, the lines are always blurred, especially in American politics. 
    > Progressivists can be liberals, when they support more economic freedom. 
    > Conservatives can also be liberals, when they support more personal freedom.
    > Socialists, who are still progressivists, are not in favor of extreme personal freedom: they are against gun ownership for example. Furthermore, they take measures against discrimination that other liberals (more often than not conservative-liberals) consider as a restriction of personal liberty.
    > Libertarians are liberals, but they support a policy that is much closer to "laissez-faire" than traditional liberals.

    All of this to say two things:
    1) Politics are not black and white. They are mostly in different tones of grey.
    2) the terms "conservative", "liberal" and "progressive" also depend on the context in which they are used. Today's conservatives are not the same as yesterday's conservatives. Times change, circumstances change and therefore, political ideologies change. It is clear than in an ultra progressive country, conservatives are closer to the center than in our current societies, and progressives are the equivalent of today's far left.

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