A Citizen’s Guide to American Ideology
Conservatism and Liberalism in Contemporary Politics
Routledge – 2012 – 134 pages
Conservatives and Liberals often resort to cartoon images of the opposing ideology, relying on broadly defined caricatures to illustrate their opposition. To help us get past these stereotypes, this short, punchy book explains the two dominant political ideologies in America today, providing a thorough and fair analysis of each as well as insight into their respective branches.
To help us understand the differences between the two contrasting ideologies, Morgan Marietta employs an innovative metaphor of a tree—growth from ideological roots to a core value, expanding into a problem that creates the competing branches of the ideology. This approach suggests a clear way to explain and compare the two ideologies in an effort to enhance democratic debate.
A Citizen’s Guide to American Political Ideologies is a brief, non-technical and conversational overview of one of the most important means of understanding political rhetoric and policy debates in America today.
"Ideology has captured the interests of political scholars for decades. This book represents a valuable contribution to the growing literature in this arena, offering thoughtful explorations of the nature of ideological divides among Americans. The ideas offered here should inspire and guide a new generation of empirical investigations."
—Jon Krosnick, Stanford University
"This book provides an excellent roadmap that covers the broad scope of ideology in contemporary American politics. It does a great job of giving concrete meaning to the abstract ideas subsumed within terms like ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’. And, it highlights manifestations of these ideologies in current political controversies."
—William G. Jacoby, Michigan State University
"A Citizen’s Guide to American Ideology is just that—it provides solid and easy-to-understand guidance to understanding America’s culture wars. The author’s style is breezy yet compelling, and the substance found in this work will give all interested readers a firm foundation for appreciating both the nuanced and in-your-face rhetoric that informs America’s ideological politics."
—Brian A Bearry, University of Texas at Dallas
"Morgan Marietta has written the best comparative analysis of the two most relevant ideologies of American politics today. He dispassionately and objectively explains conservatism and liberalism in a way that partisans on each side of the ideological divide would generally agree. Readers will understand and appreciate why stimulating debates swirl about responsible and legitimate differences of opinion on some of the most crucial issues of our time. Marietta's book is a splendid contribution to our national dialogue."
—John R. Pottenger, University of Alabama in Huntsville
Introduction: Too Common and Too Rare 1. An Ideology Tree Part I Conservatism 2. Conservatism: Premise Foundations 3. The Core Value of Conservatism: Ordered Liberty 4. The Central Question of Conservatism: The Glue Problem 5. Conservatism: Branches Part II Liberalism 6. Liberalism: Premise Foundations 7. The Core Value of Liberalism: Social Justice 8. The Central Question of Liberalism: The Oppression Problem 9. Liberalism: Branches Part III Comparisons & Controversies 10. Emotions & Nightmares 11. Value Divides 12. Liberty & Equality: Consensus Values With Conflictual Meanings 13. Issue Positions and Mutual Misunderstandings: Explaining Conservative and Liberal Policies 14. The Origins of Contemporary Ideology: Explaining Neocons Versus Paleocons & Multiculturalists Versus Liberals Conclusion: Conservatism, Liberalism, and American Democracy
Morgan Marietta is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Georgia.