Political Theory Political theory can be termed as the study of political relationships that exist among men
Political theory can be termed as the study of political relationships that exist among men. Political theory has been important in providing the best political system for people throughout human history. Political theory identifies different political ideologies that exist in the world. Some of them are populism, Liberalism, and communism.
Populism is a political program that champions the common person, usually by favorable contrast with elite. It combines elements of the left and right opposing large business and financial interests and it is also hostile to established socialist and labor parties (Wodak, 2013). The main aim of populism is to represent the interests of the majority of ordinary citizens through reforms. In most cases, populism is associated with an authoritarian form of politics where a charismatic leader appeals to and claims to embody the will of the masses in order to ascend to power (Wodak, 2013). In the United States, populism helped create the populist people’s party in 1892, whose demand for democracy in the United States was realized.
Populism has its own advantages and disadvantages. In most cases, populism represents the authentic views and interests of many ordinary citizens. It taps into the fears of the people with the promise of addressing those fears. Populism provides the society with political leaders that can genuinely represent their interests because populist leaders understand what affects their people. Through populism, ordinary citizens can be able to remove the few elite who violet the rights of ordinary citizens from positions of power. When the few elite who control every level of government start misusing the powers given to them by ordinary citizens, or start violating the rights of citizens, then people can use populism to get the numbers and remove such people from power.
Populism has several disadvantages. It is a monotist and moralist ideology which denies the existence of divisions of interests and opinions within people and rejects the legitimacy of political opponents (Wodak, 2013). Whenever anyone speaks of a different opinion, they are dismissed as representing the other side or the elite. Populist governments tend to misuse political power. Most populist leaders once in power, try to weaken institutions that may limit their powers such as the judiciary. A large number of populist governments stay longer in power, as a result of exploiting people’s fears.
Liberalism is a political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. Any liberal person believes that the government is required to protect the rights of its citizens. At the same time, they believe that the same government has the ability to trample of those rights and cause harm to its citizens. The main challenge then, is to come up with a system that gives government the power it needs to protect individual liberty and also prevent those who govern from abusing that power (McConnehey, 2017).
Liberalism puts more focus on the role of the state in environmental protection, the preservation of human rights and the promotion of economic opportunities for its people. Through liberalism, governments allow free trade and capitalism and promote equal opportunities for the minority in the society. Liberalism encourages diversity and the minorities in the society are also well accommodated through the respect of their opinions and fair treatment. It also facilitates the creation of a community that allows participation of everyone regardless of wealth and social status.
Some of the disadvantages of liberalism are that it promotes certain unhealthy or morally objectionable issues and practices because it is tolerant of peoples’ ways of life whether good or bad ( McConnehey, 2017). Liberalism promotes state control on different aspects of the society. Such control is not ideal for investments. Through liberalism, many people choose to depend on the government’s assistance instead of working. This is because liberalism encourages governments to support their people in different ways. Since liberalism rely heavily on government programs, they are expensive and they result in many undesired consequences that may increase the social problems it was supposed to address. Lastly, it overestimates the ability of governments to handle social issues.
Communism is a political and economic doctrine that aims to replace private property and a profit-based economy with public ownership and communal control of major means of production and the natural resources of a society (McConnehey, 2017). It is basically an advanced form of socialism. The main aim of communism is to create equality in a society by encouraging people to work and receive payment according to their needs. The main disadvantage of communism is that it can be easily manipulated to serve the purpose of the state (McConnehey, 2017). In most communist societies, individual rights are limited because people are restricted from performing their own interests. Most people in such societies are kept in ignorance because the flow of information and knowledge is controlled by a single party. Earning is also limited as an individual is paid according to their needs and not the amount of work done.
The advantages of communism are that all the people in society are presented with the same chance to build a life for themselves. There is little or no unemployment because everyone must contribute to society in any capacity. Communism puts emphasis in agriculture and manufacturing industries leading to a growth in GDP. Agriculture and manufacturing industries provide the most of the needs of people, using limited resources.