Political Thought from "The ISM Book"
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Anarchism (Doctrine and Movement in ethics and politics) - Anarchism was a
sometimes violent political movement around the turn of the century, but the
word also describes a moral-political ideal of a society untouched by
relations of power and domination among human beings. This moral ideal has
most often expressed itself in what is the technical meaning of the term,
namely the total absence of government. Anarchism, in this sense, differs
from the position of classical liberalism or libertarianism in politics
(which upholds not a lack of government but limited government), but in its
moral sense (the abolition of force and domination from human relations) it
is consonant with a rational ethics. Note, however, that this ethical aspect
is overshadowed in popular understanding by the political aspect, and by the
former political movement. [Reference from pacifism.]

Authoritarianism (Doctrine in politics) - Authoritarianism is a term used to
describe the political practice or philosophical defense of the
subordination by force of the wishes and aims of the individual to the
interests of the state. Following the usage of Jeanne Kirkpatrick,
authoritarianism is sometimes held to involve a less egregious violation of
individual rights than totalitarianism. [References from absolutism,
collectivism, communism, legalism, and totalitarianism.]

Capitalism (Principle in politics) - The reputation of capitalism, which was
quite bad for a while, has recently been on the rise. This is no doubt due
mainly to the universal failure of socialism and communism, but credit must
also be given to those scholars who have emphasized that what has been
traditionally lampooned as evil "capitalism" is in fact the idea of minimal
government, which is better described as classical liberalism or
libertarianism - which is much more humanistic than the twentieth-century
authoritarianism and totalitarianism that supplanted capitalism
historically. However, some economists insist that capitalism is not a
doctrine or theory in political philosophy in the way that Marxism is,
because the free market is not an ideology but simply the economic
phenomenon that occurs naturally in the absence of political control. One
prominent advocate of this view is Michael Rothschild of the Bionomics
Institute. [References from dialectical materialism and Social Darwinism.]

Collectivism (Principle and Tradition in politics and ethics) - Collectivism
is a doctrine in political (or ethical) philosophy which holds that the
individual's actions should benefit some kind of collective organization
like a tribe, the members of a certain profession, the state, a community,
etc., rather than the individual himself. Collectivism in political theory
depends on altruism in ethics. There are many forms of collectivism in
political reality, such as tribalism, communism, socialism, certain forms of
trade unionism, authoritarianism, totalitarianism, communalism, and so on.
Collectivism is a rather technical term, and isn't used very often in
everyday language. [References from communalism, communism, Hegelianism,
holism, individualism, Platonism, socialism, and totalitarianism.]

Communalism (Doctrine in politics) - Communalism is collectivism or
communism on a smaller scale or on a voluntary basis, usually in a utopia or
an ideal community (see utopianism). For example, there were many
communalist utopias in 19th century America which did not really ascribe to
what we would call communism. [Reference from collectivism.]

Communism (Doctrine and Movement in politics) - Communism, philosophically
speaking, is the political theory that the individual's actions should
benefit the community or the state rather than the individual himself. It is
the most radical kind of political collectivism, and depends on an equally
radical collectivism or altruism in ethics. In practice, communism has
always been a form of authoritarianism or of totalitarianism. When referring
to actual political systems, communism is sometimes called Marxism-Leninism
because of communism's link with the revolutionary doctrines of Marxism and
with countries inspired by the examples of Lenin's revolution in Russia (and
Mao's in China). [References from capitalism, collectivism, dialectical
materialism, and socialism.]

Communitarianism (Idea and Movement in politics) - With the demise of true
socialism as a viable intellectual force, communitarianism is now the most
active philosophical opposition to libertarianism. Communitarianism is
usually presented in a vague terms, but it is probably best understood as a
mild form of collectivism or "democratic socialism". Communitarianism has
had some influence in the realm of practical politics, as witness the fact
that Hillary Clinton is reputed to admire many communitarian thinkers.

Legalism (Movement in politics and ethics) - Legalism is the name for an
early Chinese form of authoritarianism, most often associated with the harsh
rule of the Ch'in period.

Liberalism (Principle and Tradition in politics) - Liberalism, at least in
the classical sense of the word, is a doctrine or principle in political
philosophy that is very similar to modern libertarianism - namely, that what
matters in political affairs is the absolute freedom and rights of the
individual. Unfortunately, this word has lost its original meaning (at least
in the United States), so that it now refers to something akin to
egalitarianism or a watered-down version of socialism. [References from
anarchism, Aristotelianism, capitalism, egalitarianism, and libertarianism.]

Libertarianism (Doctrine and Movement in politics, Idea in metaphysics) - In
metaphysics, the term libertarianism refers the idea that human beings have
free will (opposed to necessitarianism and determinism). Libertarianism in
political philosophy (sometimes also called classical liberalism) espouses
the right of individuals to act in whatever way they please, so long as they
do not initiate force or fraud against other people; sometimes
libertarianism verges on anarchism. [References from accidentalism,
anarchism, capitalism, determinism, egalitarianism, liberalism,
necessitarianism, and voluntarism.]

Pacifism (Idea and Movement in politics) - Pacifism holds that the highest
political or social value is peace, which must be sought at all costs.
Another meaning of pacifism - connected with the actions and views of
reformers like Thoreau, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King - is the ideal of
non-violence in human affairs (akin to the moral aspect of anarchism).

Socialism (Doctrine, ovement, and Tradition in politics) - Socialism is a
watered-down version of collectivism, with the same ethical content of
subordination of the individual to the community but with less of a
totalitarian or authoritarian bent than communism. Interestingly, in Eastern
Europe they call former their political system socialism (not communism) and
the word Nazism is short for national socialism. [References from
capitalism, collectivism, dialectical materialism, egalitarianism, and

Totalitarianism (Doctrine in politics) - Totalitarianism is authoritarianism
or political collectivism taken to its logical and physical conclusion - the
state in which government possesses total control over the individual.
[References from authoritarianism, capitalismcollectivism, communism,
Marxism, Platonism, and pluralism.]



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