Political philosophy is the study of such topics as politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why (or even if) they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it should take and why, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever. In a vernacular sense, the term "political philosophy" often refers to a general view, or specific ethic, political belief or attitude, about politics that does not necessarily belong to the technical discipline of philosophy. In short, political philosophy is the activity, as with all philosophy, whereby the conceptual apparatus behind such concepts as aforementioned are analyzed, in their history, intent, evolution and the like.
Historian Gregory Schneider identifies several constants in American conservatism: respect for tradition, support of republicanism, "the rule of law and the Christian religion," and a defense of "Western civilization from the challenges of modernist culture and totalitarian governments."
While the conservative tradition has played a major role in American politics and culture since the American Revolution, the organized conservative movement has played a key role in politics only since the 1950s, especially among Republicans and Southern Democrats.
The Liberal Party of Canada (French: Parti libéral du Canada), colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federal political party in Canada. The party espouses the principles of liberalism, and generally sits at the centre of the Canadian political spectrum. Historically the Liberal Party has been positioned to the left of the Conservative Party of Canada and to the right of the New Democratic Party (NDP).
The party dominated federal politics for much of Canada's history, holding power for almost 69 years in the 20th century—more than any other party in a developed country—which resulted in its being sometimes referred to as Canada's "natural governing party". Among the party's signature policies and legislative accomplishments include universal health care, the Canada Pension Plan, Canada Student Loans, peacekeeping, multilateralism, official bilingualism, official multiculturalism, patriating the Canadian constitution and the entrenchment of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Clarity Act, restoring balanced budgets in the 1990s, and legalizing gay marriage. Over the last decade however the party has lost a significant amount of support, to the benefit of both the Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party. In the most recent federal election, held on May 2, 2011, the party had its worst showing in its history. The Liberal Party captured 19 per cent of the popular vote and won 34 seats, becoming the third-place party in the House of Commons for the first time.
An ideology is a set of conscious and unconscious ideas that constitute one's goals, expectations and actions. An ideology is a comprehensive vision, a way of looking at things (compare worldview) as in several philosophical tendencies (see political ideologies), or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society (a "received consciousness" or product of socialization).
Ideologies are systems of abstract thought applied to public matters and thus make this concept central to politics. Implicitly every political or economic tendency entails an ideology whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought.
Social theories are frameworks of empirical evidence used to study and interpret social phenomena. A tool used by social scientists, social theories relate to historical debates over the most valid and reliable methodologies (e.g. positivism and antipositivism), as well as the primacy of either structure or agency. Certain social theories attempt to remain strictly scientific, descriptive, and objective. Conflict theories, by contrast, present ostensibly normative positions, and often critique the ideological aspects inherent in conventional, traditional thought.
Тhe origins of social theory are difficult to pinpoint, but debates frequently return to Ancient Greece (Berberoglu 2005, p. xi). From these foundations in Western philosophy arose Enlightenment social contract theory, sociological positivism, and modern social science. Today, 'social science' is used as an umbrella term to refer to sociology, economics, political science, jurisprudence, and other disciplines. Social theory is interdisciplinary and draws upon ideas from fields as diverse as anthropology and media studies. Social theory of an informal nature, or authorship based outside of academic social and political science, may be referred to instead as "social criticism" or "social commentary". Similarly, "cultural criticism" may be associated both with formal cultural and literary scholarship, as well as other non-academic or journalistic forms of writing.
Social philosophy is the philosophical study of questions about social behavior (typically, of humans). Social philosophy addresses a wide range of subjects, from individual meanings to legitimacy of laws, from the social contract to criteria for revolution, from the functions of everyday actions to the effects of science on culture, from changes in human demographics to the collective order of a wasp's nest.
There is often a considerable overlap between the questions addressed by social philosophy and ethics or value theory. Other forms of social philosophy include political philosophy and jurisprudence, which are largely concerned with the societies of state and government and their functioning.