A political ideology is an action-oriented model of people and society. The phrase “action-oriented” refers to the prescriptions contained in an ideology regarding how political, economic, and social issues should be resolved. A political ideology also contains generalizations called “models.” A model is a simplification intended to make complex phenomena understandable. Political ideologies share the characteristic of systematic simplification with science and engineering.

The term ideology is frequently used negatively. People who believe in an ideology are often characterized as rigid, fanatical, and unthinking, and ideologies are said by some to produce bad public policy because ideologies fit true believers' preconceptions instead of reality. Definitions of ideology are often biased to discredit the concept or its use. Some authors on all parts of the political spectrum ...

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