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Political Ideolgies Essay

1157 words - 5 pages

Every ideology, whether it is conservatism, environmentalism, or fascism, has its own basic notion or conception of human nature. According to our textbook, human nature is defined as “some notion of basic human drives, motivations, limitations, and possibilities” (Ball and Dagger, 2011, p. 8). These different views of human nature are important as they form the basis for many of the varying ideologies throughout the world. Two significant ideologies which we as a class have extensively studied the past few months include radical Islamism and welfare liberalism. Followers of these two ideologies have similar, and yet differing, conceptions of human nature. In the following essay, I ...view middle of the document...

We are told, “This community must be tightly knit and strict in its enforcement of Islamic law (Shari’a). This community engages collectively in jihad by helping its members to resist the evil within each individual and the evil without--that is, external enemies who threaten the community” (Ball and Dagger, 2011, p. 291). In other words, there is a large role for the community and state to help assist and promote jihad. This is mainly how radical Islamism conceptualizes human nature.
Next, welfare liberalism’s conception of human nature is explored. Similarly to classical liberalism, welfare liberals adhere to the belief and importance of individual liberty, and they also see individuals as being self-interested (Ball and Dagger, 2011, p. 46). However, welfare liberals believe that this internal self-interest must be “carefully directed to promote the good of all” (Ball and Dagger, 2011, p. 46). They too see humans as being naturally competitive but feel that there should also be restrictions on all-out competition (Ball and Dagger, 2011, p. 72). Stemming from their belief in positive freedom and the need for humans to attain their “higher” selves by means of social cooperation, welfare liberals also believe, “Human beings are not merely pleasure-seekers and pain-avoiders. [Humans] have higher ideals, including ideals of what we can and ought to be as persons” (Ball and Dagger, 2011, p. 72). Lastly, welfare liberals assert that human beings are “social creatures, not isolated individuals who owe nothing to anyone else” (Ball and Dagger, 2011, p. 72). This sounds somewhat similar to radical Islamism's ideas about the role of the community and overcoming the “struggle” with the help of others. In sum, this is essentially welfare liberalism’s idea of human nature.
Now that the conceptions of human nature of both of these ideologies have been examined, what are the main differences between the two? For one, welfare liberalism’s conception of human nature is obviously not based on the Islamic religion. Religion plays a huge role in almost all aspects of the lives of radical Islamists. Religion, while it may be important to some, does not necessarily dictate the lives of those who follow welfare liberalism, and it does not show up in their conception of human nature. Another difference between the two is that radical Islamism’s beliefs concerning human nature are extremely anti-individualistic (Ball and Dagger, 2011, p. 291). While welfare liberals do think of themselves as social creatures who are not isolated...

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