Government is not evil. It cannot be as it is only a tool wielded by people and parties. To be fully honest, parties themselves are not evil, just the people in them using the tools inappropriately. Even then, not all the people are evil. When looking at a person’s ideological point of view, we need to measure and understand where they stand on issues to determine their beliefs.
There are four ideologies, generally speaking, and they stem from two spectrum that interact with each other. These two spectrum can’t be identified as left and right, but instead as free and restrained. They are called, economic, with a person either believing that people should have more economic freedom or more economic restraint, and social, with a person either believing that people should have more social freedom or more social restraint. Depending on where you align on these two spectrum, a person would believe in one of the four ideologies.
For example, a person who believes that we need to increase taxes to pay for universal healthcare or increase military spending would align as economic restraint. A person who believes we need to cut taxes and regulations on businesses would align as economic freedom. A person who wants to allow abortions to occur, marijuana to be legal, or allowing gay marriage would be aligned socially free. A person who wants to prevent these things would be aligned to social restraint. All political controversies or beliefs either fall under economic or social freedom and restraint.
The four ideologies are combinations of these beliefs. Before identifying the four ideologies we need to realize that these are general categories, and a person may agree with increasing taxes for military but cutting them for less social services, the end idea is: more or less overall taxes. The same concept goes for social issues, generally speaking, more or less restraint.
The first ideology is overall, more freedom in both the economic and social categories, this group of people would be libertarians.
The second ideology is overall, more restraint in both economic and social categories, this group of people would be supporters of dictatorships or monarchies.
The final two ideologies are combinations of some restraint and some freedom.
Freedom of economics but restraint of social issues is historically considered the right, or Republican Party. This is not necessarily the case anymore as many Republicans are moving more towards the libertarian ideology. These people are generally more religious believing that mankind is immoral and that it needs more social restraint to prevent the collapse of a moral society. They often believe in maintaining the tradition of our ancestors; having stable marriages, preventing moral decline, and keeping the status quo.
Freedom of social issues and restraint of economics is historically considered the left, or Democratic Party. Looking at growing the social support systems in welfare and limiting business accumulation of wealth by redistributing that wealth to the workers are both priorities. Further they generally believe that a person’s freedom to choose what to do with their lives in terms of social moral standards should be left to that person and not directed by the government. These people are generally looking to change what they see as a failed system and are open to trying new things.
The end point here is that both the Republican and Democrat parties are essentially the same, looking to restrain your freedom in some ways, while guaranteeing more freedom in another. Where those freedoms and restraints lay is the difference, and as mentioned before the Republican Party is actually shifting towards the Libertarian ideology as many of the religious Republicans are moving towards the idea that God gave man agency or choice and man should not take that choice away. Those who don’t want to shift have felt alienated by this new Libertarian group in the Republican Party and have stopped participating as much as they used to, this has further driven the growth of the Libertarian leaned group as they consolidate power.
Charles Horikami is a Social Studies Teacher at BLMS, and the Legislative District 32 Chair for the Idaho State Republican Party. The views expressed are not representative of the BLSD or of the Idaho State Republican Party. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and welcomes all comments and critiques.