An ideology refers to how a particular individual or a group of individuals thinks concerning a certain issue. There are several ideologies as exhibited by various thinkers. Ideologies give the basis of economic and political policies. The major ideologies are ethical, legal, race, religious, political etc. In the political scene, there are the ideologies, which are classified, as democratic, theocratic, aristocratic and monarchical (Farmer, 2005). In this essay, we are going to compare and contrast the conservative and the liberal ideologies on their stand on the role of the government on the market place. We will also look at the competing position of these two ideologies on choosing their stand on a social issue like the New York stop and the Frisky policy.
Conservative ideology is the ideology that has the following stand. It favors things to stay the way they are. They don’t advocate for change and they protect the existing laws and the status quo (Buchan, 2006). They believe that individuals are the best managers as compared to the government. People should be allowed to do their own things in the way they feel is best for them. They believe that the government acts as a hindrance to the progress and creativity of individuals. They advocate for individualism and people should have free enterprise. The various powers should be well separated where judicial matters are well defined based on states’ rights.
Liberal ideology is the ideology that advocates for new ideas. It is very flexible and it advocates for change in the society. It calls for people to be innovative and think critically on how to solve any problems in the society. Propagators of this ideology have a lot of trust in the government and believe that the government is the best provider for a good life to its citizens (Mill & Nathanson, 2004). Individuals cannot achieve this without the help of the government. They promote equal opportunities to all citizens and believe that people should share what they have with others and all of them are at par economically without some being very rich and others salvaging in poverty.
The basic position of the conservative ideology on the role of government in the market place is that the government should be less involved in the market affairs. This means that there should be no regulations on the prices of commodities and the taxes imposed on the commodities. They believe that the demand and supply should determine the prices of commodities in the market (Barker, 1982). They believe that the taxes should be very high and only the mighty will get the best and monopoly is a good thing. The government should not subside the commodity prices and the sellers should be free to sell their services at the prices they deem profitable. The government should not decide on whom to enter the market place but the availability capital and power should be the basis of joining the market. The services should be provided at higher levels and prices hence the rich and powerful dominate the market. They require no government influence on the happenings in the market. According to Adam Smith, from the book, Adam Smith and the Pursuit of
Perfect Liberty, by Buchan, he noted that a society that allows the market to allocate resources without government control has the following benefits:
- There is the freedom of choice from the customers. They can decide on the type of goods they want and the price at which they are comfortable.
- There is great economic efficiency since all the things are well defined and are carried out well.
- There is rising standards of living since there is a lot of competition in the market place and individuals are ready to do their best. As they strive to achieve this, high standards of living are achieved.
The basic position of the liberal ideology on the role of the government in the market place is that the government should be a key player in determining the prices and taxes of commodities (Turner, 2011). They advocate for much control from the government in fixing the prices of commodities so that they can be favorable to all the people. They believe the government should have sanctions on whom to join which market so that the prices remain low to offer equal purchasing opportunities to all people. The government should offer subsides to commodities and lower the taxes. The government should not allow the producers and the forces of demand and supply to dictate the prices of commodities. They advocate for economic equality and so they believe the government will play a key role in ensuring this equality in the market place. The government should know any chance in the market and work on rectifying it to the interest of the citizens. This is supported well by John Stuart Mill, in his book, Principles of Political Economy, where he notes that the right to private property is a qualified one rather than an absolute one. He believed that if legislation reduced the initial level of inequality, then social evils associated with private property would reduce. He supports the government intervention to control the market so as to reduce the inequality caused by the discrimination of the market prices.
When choosing a social issue, like the New York City Stop and Frisk Policy, these two ideologies will have different positions in their stand. The New York City Stop and Frisk Policy is a policy that was developed in the United States to give a police officer the mandate to stop and frisk you on suspicion that you are a criminal. The officer would search your documents and he would stop you based on your appearance. It is a law that has a lot of impact on the society and some people feel it is discriminative since statistics from the police department show that most of the people stopped were African- American. This raised concern on the credibility of this law since it seems to be based on ethnicity and it is subjective to the police officers. The position of the conservative ideology on this issue is that people should have the freedom to do what they want. It believes that the government should not be on the front line to control peoples’ lives. They believe that stopping an individual and frisking him hinders his free enterprise nature. They believe individuals are responsible and there are no criminal amongst them. Any suspicion is unwarranted and this will cause fear among the population and hinder their personal development. Anthony Gregory, who is a research editor in the Independent Institute, in his article. “Do we want a ‘stop-and-frisk’ society”, noted that in the year 2011, only one person was found to have a gun in a frisk done to two hundred people (Turner, 2011). He noted that the frisk targeted the Blacks and the Hispans.
He also argued that there were ethical concerns on the search since some police officers searched women and hence sexualized their frisk. This is not warranted and hence that policy is uncalled for. The liberal ideology on the other hand believes that the government is right to do so. This is because they trust the government to provide them with a better life. Any policy implemented by the government is seen as the best and therefore stopping a person and frisking him on suspicion that he is a criminal is a good way to protect the community. This is supported by Judy Morris report on the various issues associated with frisking. She notes that despite the many problems attached to frisking, there are various advantages that are good for the community. She gives an example of young white man by the name James E Holmes who was a medicine student at the University of Colarado. He opened fire to people in a club and if he had been frisked, then lives could be saved since that gun could have been confiscated (Turner, 2011). They believe this will ensure that people shun criminal activities and the police will not be biased on their enforcement of such a law since they are government employees and they trust the government to offer them the best. For example, the records issued by the New
York Police Department in the year 2011 showed that around 685,000 people were stopped and frisked and only one in every five was a criminal. From the conservative point of view on these results, they believe that one out of five is a very small number and therefore their argument that people should be free to carry out their activities without the government’s influence is justified. The liberal ideologists differ with this view and feel the gotten number of one criminal in every five people frisked is reasonable. They feel that this is a good endeavor to reduce criminal activities and the government is doing a good thing. Therefore, the two ideologies will take different positions on such an issue with the conservative ideology rejecting the policy while the liberal ideology would support the policy.
Another example of a social issue that these two ideologies would have differing stand is on the issue of whether people should own guns or the state should own the guns so that the society is safe. The conservative ideology believes that individuals are responsible, they can manage their life well, and hence even if they had guns, they would not engage in criminal activities. The government should let people own guns for their own security. On the other hand, the liberal ideology feels that the government is the best custodian of all the weapons and all people should be equal and some should not own guns. The government is the best provider of the security to all its citizens rather than them having guns to protect themselves.
The table below shows the various authors who are categorized on the two ideologies. Some support the conservative ideology while others support the liberal ideology.
In conclusion, different people believe and use different ideologies. The type of ideology that a community believes in depends on its culture. No one ideology can be satisfactory in its single use. Therefore, for a country to prosper, then it should combine several ideologist. Each ideology has its benefits and disadvantages and so a combination of several will yield better benefits. Different authors have supported this concept of using a combination of several ideologies in government and economics. In the market place, the government should be given a certain control while the forces of supply are given a chance to determine the prices of commodities. This is a combination of the conservative and liberal ideologies and the results will be marvelous.
Barker, M. (1982). The new racism: Conservatives and the ideology of the tribe. Frederick, Md:
Buchan, J. (2006). Adam Smith and the pursuit of perfect liberty. London: Profile.
Farmer, B. R. (2005). American conservatism: History, theory and practice. Newcastle-upon -Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press
Heineman, R. A. (1994). Authority and the liberal tradition: From Hobbes to Rorty. New
Brunswick, N.J: Transaction Publishers.
Mill, J. S., & Nathanson, S. (2004). Principles of political economy: With some of their
applications to social philosophy. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub
Turner, R. S. (2011). Neo-liberal ideology: History, concepts and policies. Edinburgh:
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