LINN: A Handy Guide To Political Ideologies

Written by Andrew Linn on October 3, 2022

There has been a lot of talk lately about fascism, socialism, etc., so have I decided to provide a list of these ideologies and their meanings.

  • Capitalism: an economic system in which there is minimal government interference and supervision. It is also known as laissez-faire.
  • Welfarism: an economic system in which there is major government redistribution of income to the poor. It is also known as the welfare state.
  • Statism: an economic system in which the state owns major industries in order to enhance its own power and prestige.
  • Socialism: an economic system in which industries are owned by the government for the good of the entire society. It is implemented by means of legislation.
  • Communism: Karl Marx’s version of socialism in which the capitalist system is overthrown by means of violent revolution in order to provide better wages and working conditions for the working class, a.k.a. the proletariat. It is also referred to as Marxism.
  • Leninism: Vladimir Lenin’s version of communism in which a proletariat dictatorship was established in Russia. It is also referred to as Bolshevism.
  • Trotskyism: Leon Trotsky’s version of communism which advocated a worldwide revolution by the proletariat.
  • Stalinism: Joseph Stalin’s version of communism which is based on centralization and totalitarianism.
  • Maoism: Mao Zedong’s version of communism in which the proletariat seizes power by means of guerilla warfare and periodic upheavals.
  • Titoism: Josip Tito’s version of communism involving decentralization, de-bureaucratization, and worker self-management; hence a more moderate and liberal version of communism.
  • Nationalism: an extreme form of patriotism in which there is an idea of people having a real and/or imagined cultural unity (e.g. language), which then becomes a political unity so that the territory of each people coincides with its state boundaries.
  • Fascism: an extreme version of nationalism that is based on socialism and militarism.
  • Nazism: Adolf Hitler’s version of fascism which advocated war and genocide.
  • Militarism: the idea of aggressively using a nation’s military in order to enforce its interests and/or values.
  • Authoritarianism: a system in which a nation’s people are strictly obedient to their government at the expense of their personal freedoms.
  • Totalitarianism: a system in which the state, group, or political party has complete control over the nation’s population.
  • Racism: a belief that one or more race of human beings is superior to other races.
  • Islamism: a system in which a nation and its government totally adheres to the Islamic faith- hence Sharia (Islamic) Law is the law of the land. It is also referred to as Islamic fundamentalism.
  • Liberalism: generally refers to the idea of changing the status quo.*
  • Conservatism: generally refers to the idea of preserving the status quo.*
  • Progressivism: generally refers to the idea of advancing society through social and political reforms, by means of advancements in science, technology, economic development, and social organization.*
  • Tyranny: the abuse of power by government.
  • Dictatorship: when a government is given absolute power.
  • Absolutism: a system in which sovereignty is embodied in a ruler, who claims to rule by the divine right of kings, in which monarchs claimed that they answered only to God.
  • Democracy: a system of rule by the people, defined by the existence of popular sovereignty, political equality, and political liberty.
  • Republicanism: a political doctrine advocating limited government based on popular consent, and thus protected against majority tyranny.

Note: * indicates a term having more than one definition.

I hope these definitions will clear the air.

Andrew Linn
Andrew Linn is a member of the Owensboro Tea Party and a former Field Representative for the Media Research Center. An ex-Democrat, he became a Republican one week after the 2008 Presidential Election. He has an M.A. in history from the University of Louisville, where he became a member of the Phi Alpha Theta historical honors society. He has also contributed to examiner.com and Right Impulse Media.