1. What is an ideology? Why are ideologies important?
An ideology is set of beliefs that reflect a person’s outlook on the world. Ideologies are important because they shape how we perceive and interact with the world. In politics, they affect the voting choices we make and the policies we support.
2. Define fundamentalism.
Fundamentalism is the belief that a religious text is absolutely, literally true. This ideology also states that anything that opposes the text must be wrong. All behavior and belief must be guided by this central text, and anything else is sinful.
3. Describe the core elements of classical liberalism. Name at least one key figure in the founding of liberalism.
The core elements of classical liberalism include the importance of freedom, political equality, limited government, the free market, and a faith in reason and progress.
4. American conservatism differs in many ways from traditional conservatism. Describe those differences.
Traditional conservatism was hostile to the spread of democracy and the free market because they undermined tradition. American conservatism embraces both of these ideas.
5. Socialism can be characterized as an attempt to make good on the failed promises of liberalism. Why is this?
Socialists argue that although liberalism promises freedom and equality, it does not deliver them because of the inequalities of the market. Therefore, socialists want the government to play a very strong role in the economy—perhaps even controlling it entirely—in order to rectify the failings of liberalism.