The Conveyor Belts of Ideas

Daniel DiSalvo

in Engines of Change

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199891702
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949410 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Postwar American Political Development

The Conveyor Belts of Ideas

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The effort to modify or defend a party’s program means that factions must develop a public philosophy of their own. A party’s public philosophy is an outlook on public affairs comprised of four different levels of ideas: fundamental principles, such as natural rights or progress; views about the role of government in society, which designate the areas and extent to which government should intervene; “theories of governance” relating to the distribution of power among institutions and levels of government; and particular policy ideas. A faction will espouse a different recipe, challenging the dominant view within the party on one or all of these levels. This chapter details these challenges. Tracing ideas to factions cuts through a number of scholarly debates about the origins, status, and role of ideas within American parties.

Keywords: Ideology; liberalism; conservatism; populism; federalism; natural right; progress; intellectuals

Chapter.  12165 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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