A significant portion of the world’s population consists of metaphorical sheep. They blindly follow parties without understanding where they stand on a political compass, or even what the terms mean. Some claim to be “conservative” or “liberal” as if that actually means something politically. Those terms refer to how much someone wants to keep the status quo.
Some people associate “right-wing” with “small government” and “left wing” with “big government” when such terms don’t refer to our freedoms, but to the economic policy of a country. In my country, the United States, “libertarian” is misconstrued to refer to someone who is at the extreme right-wing instead of someone who supports limited government encroachment on our freedoms.
This is due to the nonstop manipulation by politicians in order to retain power. It is easier to have power over people if they don’t know what they truly are voting for, so these examples, along with politicians’ tendencies to be as broad as possible in their appeal so they can be elected.
Nationalism, a twisted form of patriotism, is one of the best examples of a political ideology that is used to dominate the minds of the sheep so as to help a leader retain power. It is an ideology that has been used to convince people to support aggressive militarism for as long as nations have existed.
It can be summarized as “if you don’t think your country should have more than everyone else, you’re its enemy.” This is obviously a ridiculous statement, as many people, such as myself, are very patriotic but don’t think that aggressive militarism is a good idea in the long run.
All nationalism-motivated expansions in recent times, such as the Third Reich, have been crushed even with unusually high morale for a country at war during most of the war.
This is an example of why nationalism is dangerous: it can cause unnatural support for an incredibly evil ideology until the supporters get bombed into submission.
Politicians in the United States, my own country, generally have to either cater to the “extremists” (which, for the Democratic Party, actually means someone who is totally moderate on the international compass) or to be a moderate (a degree of center-right on the international compass).
The candidate either tries to avoid alienating the solid base of his/her party at the expense of the people who are in between the two main parties or tries to bring those people in at the cost of the main base.
The exploitation of peoples’ ideologies by the two main parties has essentially prevented the election of truly left-wing candidates due to the Democrats’ claim to be left-wing (which is not true in relation to the rest of the world), and alienated many types of right-wing thinker due to the Republican party’s dangerous combination of neoconservatives, paleoconservatives, social conservatives, and fiscal conservatives because nobody actually knows what kind of “conservative” the candidate is until he/she attempts to advertise his/her campaign.
This usually happens when there are no other possible candidates for that party, and the sheep generally vote for a particular party out of habit. Speaking in unnecessarily broad terms such as “conservative” or “liberal” is merely one of many ways that American politicians manipulate people through their ideologies.