One of the great things about studying political ideologies is that you develop the ability to discuss ideas in a calm, logical and open-minded way rather than to simply react with “Oh that is so silly!” One of the bad things about studying political ideologies is that there are exams. Although, they are easier to revise for than English or History as there are set things you know you have to learn.
One of these things are quotes and examples to back up the theory you discuss so I am going to embed some quotes into my brain by telling you wonderful people about them. Perhaps it may encourage you to read up more on political ideologies? A lot of it is similar to philosophy since each ideology is based on their respective view on human nature.
I’m going to start off with Anarchism because well, it is the most exciting one right? Actually, Anarchism has been tainted with a bad reputation when it actually has some interesting ideas. Whilst it calls for the complete abolishment of power, it does not desire uncontrolled mayhem as the word anarchy suggests.
Many are ruthless and most live in fear
Now this is quite an interesting idea. It suggests that in today’s world, there are those who hold power over others who fear them. However, it also implies that those who are ruthless are also living in fear. This can be seen in the way governments may be ruthless to their people, yet they are also fearful of attack from another or a challenge to their power and so this structural fear exists in society.
If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal
This quote is an example of Anarchism’s mistrust of democracy. They believe that true freedom cannot be brought about by it simply because there will always be an institution which has power over the people. Emma Goldman’s other quotes are also quite interesting so I would suggest searching her up.
War is the health of the state
Perhaps many people would agree with this statement even if they do not agree with anarchism completely. The idea is that those in charge use war as a tool to consolidate and maintain their power. Through war, they can create support for themselves and they can distract their people from their own failings.
Man was born free yet everywhere he is in chains
When I first read this quote, I smiled. Not because I am a sadistic person who likes the idea of chains but because this quote is remarkably accurate. We are told as teenagers that we can become anything and do anything but when we look around, we see so many barriers and restrictions that society has placed upon us.
To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so.
Pierre Joseph Proudhon
Now whilst I certainly will not be writing out this lengthy quote in my exam, I had to include it simply because it is so cool! Yes, perhaps it does have a rather arrogant and boastful tone but Proudhon is not talking about himself here, he is merely saying this is what government means for the general people. The quote continues so if you want, type his name into Google.
The mutual-aid tendency in man has so remote an origin, and is so deeply interwoven with all the past evolution of the human race, that is has been maintained by mankind up to the present time, notwithstanding all vicissitudes of history
This quote discusses the idea of mutual-aid. Collectivist Anarchists believe that humans have the capacity and desire within themselves to help others. Kropotkin believed that this desire is rooted in human nature which is why he promoted mutualism. Despite the corruption of individualism that people have gone through, he believed that humankind could embrace this side of themselves and live in a system where mutualism is an everyday feature of society.
So that is a taste of Anarchism. Of course, I did not cover the entire ideology and its key themes but that was not my intention. If you find this interesting then there are numerous books that can read which will provide more information.
Now, onwards to Socialism!
A Worried Student