Topic 1: Should ideology be the foundation of identity? Identity: A person’s idea of who he or she is. A person’s national identity and personal identity is made of a mix of how other people view them as well as how they view themselves. A person’s beliefs and values help create identity.
Ideology: A set of beliefs and values that is held by a society. These are key beliefs around which a political or economic system is centered. In general, there is a strong ideological difference between those who value individualism and collectivism. For example, individualists believe in benefiting themselves before the society. Collectivists believe in economic equality and putting the goals of the society ahead of their own personal interests.
A) Factors that influence individual and collective beliefs and values Common Good: Means putting the public interest above self-interest and group demands. Common good involves working to achieve social and economic conditions that benefit everyone. It promotes a responsibility and service to others. Common good also involves doing more to meet our responsibilities to aid the disadvantaged, protect our natural resources, and provide opportunities rather than burdens for future generations.
Individual beliefs and values: Are beliefs and values that focus on the individual person as more important than the group of people.
Collective beliefs and values: Are beliefs and values that focus on the group of people as more important than the individual person.
Culture: Is a combination of beliefs, customs, practices, and behaviours of a group of people. Family and society in which a person lives helps forms a person’s culture. A shared culture will help influence ones ideology.
Language: The common words and actions that a group of people have. Language along with culture unites people and is an important part of a person’s identity.
Media: Is the tools used to pass along information including the radio, television, newspapers, and the Internet. These forms of media have a strong influence on our beliefs and values including what people buy and affect our opinion of body image.
Relationship to land and Environment: Individuals who have lived or worked in an area for a long time feel connected to the land or environment. If a person has lived on particular land or lived off the land (aboriginal groups) help shape a person’s values and beliefs. For example being raised on a farm will become a part of that person’s identity as farmer or rancher.
Gender: Involves the roles and expectations of males and females. Each society has different roles for men and women. These roles affect a person’s personal identity. Gender roles have changed in Canadian society as a result of the two world wars because while men were fighting overseas, women were required to leave their roles as housewives and work in the factories.
Religion: A set of collectively held beliefs and practices involving places of worship or faith. Religion focuses on God or gods that try to explain why humans exist and what is our place in the universe. When a person joins a religion it becomes a part of their identity.
Spirituality: Involves a person connecting with their soul/spirit or religious/sacred objects. A person does not have to be a part of a religion to be spiritual. Being spiritual can affect the way one sees the world.
Ideologies Change: Beliefs and values change over time. Often new ideas and opinions cause people to change the old beliefs and values. These changes can be encouraged by revolutions or protests. Some changes are a result of a shift from individualism to collectivism or collectivism to individualism.
B) Historic and modern ideas of individualism and collectivism Individualism: A value held by supporters who believe that the goals of the individual are more important than the goals of society. Capitalists and those who believe in democracy believe in individualism. Individualism is a key value of liberalism because personal freedoms, including political freedom and human rights, are important parts of individualism. Individualism developed out of the Renaissance period (approx. 1300s – 1600s). During this period the importance of the individual overtook the importance of a class or group. During the Age of Enlightenment (1600s to late 1700s) philosophers began to write about the importance of the individual. People realized that each person is important, that reason should be the source of knowledge, and that individuals could govern themselves.
Collectivism: A value held by supporters who believe that the goals of society are more important than the goals of the individual. Collectivism believes that individuals depend on each other within society and that companionship, support, and approval of others is crucial to happiness. Collectivism found early roots in Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal groups were focused on meeting the needs of the group when it came to land management, decision-making, and the education as well as raising of children. It is the opposite of individualism. Communists and socialists believe in this value as the underlying principle of these ideologies in equality. Collectivism is the opposite of liberalism because collectivism takes away the importance of the individual.
C) Characteristics of ideologies Interpretations of history: History is about how we got to be who we are and what society was like in the past. When a nation looks at its history, their understanding of their history becomes a part of their ideology. Another important belief when trying to understand history is that humans are progressing and improving over time however there are some people who feel the advances in technology have hurt, not helped society.
Beliefs about human nature: Involves answering the questions of “What are humans like?” and “What should society be like?” It involves looking at what is the physical, emotional, and social (how people interact with each other) makeup of human beings. Individuals like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau have attempted to explain human nature and helped develop ideologies.
Thomas Hobbes: Believed human nature involves fear, violence, and dangerous self-interest. Hobbes believed that extreme individualism involved only looking out for themselves and hurting anyone who get in their way. Believed that we need to have security more than we need to have freedom.
John Locke: Believed that people are rational, smart, and realistic. Locke believed that power came from the people and those who should have power must be appointed by the people. Governments are in place to protect life, liberty, and property and that any action the government takes must be approved by the majority of the people.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Believed people are naturally good however become corrupted by society. He believed humans are free and equal. Rousseau saw that when an individual owns private property they become selfish and lose compassion for others. Rousseau wanted society to be focused on the will of the people was most important. He also believed that the people should make the decisions themselves instead of electing people to represent them in government.
Beliefs about society: Ideologies involve creating a society of peace and goodwill or tyranny and fear. Ideologies are the base that society is built upon. All societies must decide between individualism, collectivism, or a mix of both. Even though a society might be individualist there can be laws that promote collectivism.
Beliefs about the structure of society: Structure of society is built upon beliefs and values. Therefore, society will change when beliefs and values change. There are three main parts to the structure of society including social, economic, and political structures.
Social Structures: Unwritten rules in society about how people should act like respecting the elderly people. Social structures also involve how people interact with each other.
Economic Structures: How decisions regarding the economy are made. A society must choose between a centrally planned/command (collectivist) economy or a free market/capitalist (individualist) economy. An example is whether to have private hospitals where patients pay for treatment or the government providing health care to its citizens.
Society (through government) is Individuals are responsible
responsible for the well-being of others. for their own well-being.
Political Structures: How political decisions in a society are made. A society can have a democracy where decision-making power is divided up between many people or a dictatorship where all power is with one person. Also political structures involve how a citizen should behave. In a democracy a citizen can disagree with the government however in a dictatorship the citizen must allows follow the government.
Dictatorship (Communism) Dictatorship (Fascism)
Democracy Visions for the future: Ideologies have beliefs of what society should look like in the future. These future images all involve making life better for the people of that society. For example, Karl Marx, founder of the communist ideology, believes that in the future people will be free to do whatever and whenever they want.
D) Themes of ideologies Nation: Involve being linked to a specific country (Canada) or a group of people with the same culture, history, language, traditions, and goals (Métis people). People care deeply about their nation and this is an important factor when a person adopts an ideology.
Class: Involves the way society is built. Class is based on the job a person has or the amount of money people have. Examples include the working class, middle class, or upper class. Class is important for ideologies because ideologies like communism try to solve the class problem by making everyone equal.
Relationship to land and Environment: Involves the link between human being and the environment. Questions like how we can use the environment, how can we develop and protect the environment are important for questions for ideologies to answer.
Religion: Involves looking at important questions about human beings, how the world is, and the way the world should be. Ideologies attempt to answer these important questions. Furthermore many countries are ruled by religious beliefs and values.
E) Individualism as a key value of ideology Liberalism: A group of ideologies that focuses on the dignity and freedom of the individual person as the basis of society. Liberalism believes in human improvement as well as political and economic power being divided between many different individuals, not one person or group. Liberalism also respects the freedom of an individual to control their decisions and lifestyle. There are two main types of liberalism, classical and modern.
Individualism as an ideology: Individualism is the heart of classical liberalism and capitalism. It believes in the individual as most important. Individualism focuses on the private property, self-interest, freedom, competition, and that laws affect everyone equally.
Political Roots of Liberalism: The American and French Revolutions are the roots of Liberalism. The Declaration of Independence (United States) and Declaration of the Rights and Man and of the Citizen (France) both recognized the rights of the individual. These two documents were based on the ideas of Locke, Rousseau, and Montesquieu. These documents are the basis for many legal rights and freedoms in Western democracies..
Rule of law and the Social Contract: The idea that the ‘law’ has the greatest power in society and that all individuals must follow those laws. No individual is greater than the law, no matter how much power they have. If an individual breaks the law they are allowed to be penalized for their actions. The Magna Carta is an example of rule of law. The Social Contract is an idea where each individual of society agrees to be governed so that he or she can gain the benefits of living in that society.
The Magna Carta: Passed in 1215, this document attempted to limit the powers of the ruler of England and to prevent the leader to rule without regard for the law. This document became the document with Western democracies based many laws on.
Individual rights and freedoms: Are an important value of individualism and democracy. Nations that support liberalism pass charters to ensure that all citizens have the same legal freedoms and rights. Governments decide what the individual rights are as well as the limits on these rights. In Canada, the government passed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) to protect every Canadian citizen no matter what race, sex, etc… one belongs to.
Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982): Created with the Canadian constitution the Charter of Rights and Freedom protect the privileges Canadians citizen have. Included is the right to choose a religion, freedom of speech, the right to vote, rights to life, liberty, and security, etc…
Economic Roots of Liberalism: The economic roots of Liberalism come from the idea of mercantilism.
Mercantilism: Originated in the 1500s, mercantilism believed that a country should export more goods than import, accumulate gold and silver, and protect their economy by taxing and setting quotas on imports. Mercantilism also believed that a health economy came from the oppression of the workers. They believed that more work was done if there was less free time, extra money, or education for the workers. Out of mercantilism brought ideas of individuals, like Adam Smith, who believed in an economy where there is no government control or intervention.
Self-interest: Based on a person acting in a certain way to look after what is important to that person. Many believe that when a person acts in their self-interest they will help others and contribute to the common good.
Competition: The underlying principle of individualism. Competition occurs when individuals struggle and compete for the same goal. Competition is essential in capitalism and fundamental to free market economies.
Privatization: Where government owned property or businesses are sold to private companies or individuals. These individuals or companies who buy the property or business are to run the business without government involvement. Nationalization is the opposite of privatization.
Economic freedom: Ability for individuals to choose what to buy, what to sell, and where to work to look after their self-interest. Employers also have a right to look after their self-interest by choosing who to hire and how much to pay them.
Private property: A characteristic of free market economies, it is when ownership of resources is in the hands of individuals. In a free market economy citizens have the right to own private property. The opposite is public or government ownership.
Social Roots of Liberalism: Social roots of liberalism developed out of the late 1800s and early 1900s when people made a case for the government to get involved in society to protect and support those living in poverty. The Great Depression in the 1930s brought more government intervention into society and changed the classical liberal ideas that government should play a lesser role in society.
F) Collectivism as a foundation of ideology Collectivism as an ideology: Collectivism is the heart of communism and socialism. It believes in central planning of the economy and that the group is more important than the individual person. Collectivism focuses on public property, equality of all persons, and working together as a group to help everyone (cooperation).
Collective responsibility: There are two aspects to collective responsibility. First, it involves the group’s responsibility to the individual. If one person succeeds or fails, the group will receive the reward or criticism. Secondly, the individual is responsible to the group. Therefore a person must consider the affect their actions will have on the group.
Collective interest: Based on goals or ideas that focus on what is best for the entire group. All individuals focus their decisions and actions toward achieving the goal to benefit the group. Many times the individual will have to put aside their own personal interests so they can benefit the entire group.
Cooperation: A collectivist idea that states people will put forth a common effort to produce goods
Nationalization: Where the government takes ownership of businesses and/or property from the individual. The government then controls the business or property for society. Privatization is the opposite of nationalization.
Economic equality: The idea that all individuals in society make the same amount of money and have the same quality of life. In Canada there is not much equality but the government collects income taxes to support programs like employment insurance and welfare to try to provide for those individuals who need them.
Adherence to collective norms: Collective norms are a set of actions that are considered acceptable by a group. Individuals who are a member of a group must decide to follows the collective norms of that group. These norms are in place to benefit and protect the group’s values and beliefs.
Public property: Where property, in theory, is owned by an entire society and not by private individuals. In practice, property and resources are owned and controlled by the government.
G) Relationship between individualism and common good in present-day societies Individualism and the common good: Societies that are democratic and capitalist often have difficulty finding a balance between the common good and the importance of the individual. The reason for this difficulty is because of the opposite values of placing the individual first (individualism) and looking after the common good of all people (collectivism). These two ideologies are the views of different political parties in a democracy therefore it can be difficult to meet the desires for the common good if a individualist government is in power. If a society takes pride in being individualist (free market/capitalist) it would be opposed to the government getting involved to make sure everyone is taken care of, this would become a mixed economy or collectivist (socialist).
H) Should personal identity be shaped by ideologies? Personal identity and ideology: Ideologies make up a person’s identity. All people are shaped by the society they grow up in and therefore will often take values from society and make it their own. Liberalism allows a person to think critically and voice their opinions whereas other ideologies like communism and fascism do not.
__________________________________________________________ Topic 2: Is resistance to liberalism justified? A) Aboriginal contributions to the development of liberalism The Haudenosaunee Confederacy (1400s-1600s): Involved membership of six Aboriginal nations (Mohawks, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora). Each nation of the confederacy had their own chief and council, these representatives would address the internal affairs of each nation. The leaders of these six nations worked together to promote peace and harmony. During this time the idea of individuals being given power to control aspects of society was contrary to European society where only the nobility, Church, and royalty have the right to run and obtain power.
The Great Law of Peace: Known as the constitution of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, outlined the path to harmony and unity among the warring nations, divided power between different levels of government, and established equal participation of people. It also guaranteed rights of speech, rights to religion, and rights to the individual.
Fur Trade (Before 1867): Aboriginal fur trade promoted business between aboriginals and the European settlers. Both groups benefited from mutual trade and this is an early example of a modern day market economy where buyers and sellers meet to exchange goods and services.
The Indian Act (1876): Originally meant to assimilate (absorb) aboriginal people into ‘white’ English-Canadian culture. Aboriginals were to change their lifestyle and traditions to ‘fit’ into the Canadian culture. Examples include prohibiting aboriginal ceremonies, dances, festivals, and tradition clothing. Even though the Indian Act took away individual rights and freedoms this eventually leads to an increase in awareness for aboriginal rights and freedoms.
Aboriginal Voting Rights (1960): As a result of the Indian Act of 1876 if aboriginals wanted to vote they had to deny their Aboriginal heritage and become Canadian however in 1960 Aboriginals were given the right to vote without having to lose their identity. This is an important step for the aboriginal desire for equal rights and freedoms.
The Red Paper (1970): Also known as Citizens Plus, the Red Paper is the Aboriginal response to the Canadian government policy of assimilation stated in the White Paper of 1969. The National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) wrote the response wanting for a return to traditional land ownership for Treaty Indian as well as a demand for aboriginal rights and freedoms.
Métis, First-Nation, and Inuit Self-Determination: After receiving rights and freedoms from the government, aboriginal groups are currently working to attain the ability to make their own laws, policies, and decisions that are in the best interest of their group (self-determination).
B) Relationship between the values of liberalism and the beginning of liberal ideas Western European Origins of Liberalism: Liberal ideas in the early 1800s began as challenges to the structure of European society. Spain and France were absolute monarchies where the king had absolute power. This power was often abused and individual’s right to travel, freedom to own property, and freedom of speech was restricted. In the mid 1700s people began to question the power of rulers and demand changes. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a supporter of a society that ensured civil rights and freedoms for individuals.
Adam Smith: Rejected the idea of mercantilism because government leaders often favoured the business owners and landowners which can lead to monopolies where one or two businesses could make a profit. Monopolies prohibit competition. However, Smith supported the idea of capitalism or free-market economy. He was a member of the movement toward classical liberalism which calls for individual rights and freedoms as most important. He believed that competition is an important part of the economy and to develop a person’s interests. In his book “The Wealth of Nations” Smith identified ideas of ‘laissez-faire’ (hands off) and the ‘invisible hand’ in support of capitalism. Smith focused on supply and demand, specifically that price is set by demand. Smith also was a supporter of consumer sovereignty.