Does Ideology Matter in Politics Anymore?

2593 words 11 pages
Does ideology matter in politics anymore?

Political ideology has been an intrinsic part of world history for over two hundred years (Heywood 1998). The modern world was moulded by ideology resulting in political, economic and social upheavals. It has been argued in the 20th century that the importance of ideology in the political world has been declining and the question set requires an analysis of the arguments put forward by those who believe that ideology influence has come to an end.
This essay will challenge the view that ideology is no longer relevant in modern politics and argue that ideology is rife around the world. It will start with a definition of ideology followed with the theoretical basis required to support the claim
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Daniel Bell (1965) was writing in the 1960s after the fall of fascism and Francis Fukuyama (1992) in the 1990 after the unravelling of communism in Eastern Europe. Both Bell and Fukuyama argued that ideologies were no longer relevant for similar reasons. Both authors believed that because there were no serious movements campaigning for radical changes in liberal democracies, these societies were therefore ‘non-ideological’ (Schwarzmantel 2008). However it must be pointed out that asserting the ‘end of ideology’ is itself ideological. Predicting one ideologies ultimate triumph is an assertion that one set of political ideas and values are superior to its rivals. Furthermore, the prediction in itself, far from affirming the demise of ideology demonstrates that ideology is a concept which is incessant and never ending (Heywood 1998).
Bell (1965) argued that in Western liberal democracies, political ideas had been exhausted because none of the parties disagreed on the fundamental beliefs of the social and political system. Communism and fascism had lost their appeal and the remaining ideologies only disagreed about which of them could offer material prosperity. It seemed that economics had transcended politics. The representatives for the three major ideologies left- socialism, liberalism and conservatism- had a common goal: to manage capitalism (Heywood 1998) and while politicians


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