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By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Ideology is a system of beliefs and values about the proper order of society and the proper role of government. The dominant ideologies in America are conservatism and liberalism.

The government ought be used against huge injustices, but overall very prescribe; also, society is not egalitarian.The government can and should be used to perfect society, i.e. egalitarianism.
Rewards distributed based on talent and hard work.There ought be no extreme disparities in wealth.
The past ought be treated as sacred.Tradition unimportant.
Opposes redistribution policies such as welfare.Opposes redistribution policies such as welfare.
Opposes minimum wage laws.Supports minimum wage laws.
Opposes windfall profits tax.Supports windfall profits tax.
Supports prayer, federal marriage amendment and religious displays.Opposes prayer, federal marriage amendment and religious displays.

In this perspective, the Iraq War could be construed as liberal since it redistributes Iraq's oil wealth and is based on the idea that society can be changed through government. In addition, Bill Clinton's use of foreign troops is liberal. However, the Iraq War could also be seen as conservative since it is part of a larger defense plan of America's historic values.

Thinking about ideology one-dimensionally assumes that preferences on all issues are informed by a coherent set of beliefs. Two-dimensional ideology assumes preferences on social and economic policies are not informed by a single coherent set of beliefs. Economically, liberals favor and conservatives oppose redistributive policies. Socially, liberals favor and conservatives oppose changes in social order.

In two-dimensional ideology, there are four possibilities: economic liberal, social liberal (liberals such as Nancy Pelosi & Ted Kennedy); economic liberal, social conservative (communitarians/populists/statists Bob Casey); economic conservative, social liberal (libertarians); economic conservative, social conservative (conservatives such as Tom Colbert & Mitch McConnell).

Political socialization is the complex process whereby people acquire their political values. Agents of early socialization include: family; education; community and peers; and mass media. Two levels of education impact all Americans: elementary schools, which introduce authority figures outside the family and teach the nation's slogans and symbols; and secondary schools, which teach civic responsibility. Also, there are two kinds of communities: homogenous communities and groups affiliation.