Some Political and Philosophical -ism's 24 words

Learn these words ending in the suffix -ism that represent different political and philosophical ideas.
  1. socialism
    a political theory advocating state ownership of industry
    Colonel Qaddafi declared that his political system of permanent revolution would sweep away capitalism and socialism.
    New York Times (Oct 20, 2011)
  2. communism
    a political theory favoring collectivism in a classless society
    Recent polls show that instituting communism in the United States is more popular than our democratically elected congressional leaders.
    Washington Post (Nov 18, 2011)
  3. absolutism
    the doctrine of an absolute being
    Autocracy—the whole human history proves it—by nature engenders absolutism.
    Desjardins, Louis-Georges
  4. altruism
    the quality of unselfish concern for the welfare of others
    At first, most people agreed that true altruism was a uniquely human characteristic requiring an awareness of one's actions as selfless.
    Scientific American (Dec 8, 2011)
  5. asceticism
    the doctrine that through renunciation of worldly pleasures it is possible to achieve a high spiritual or intellectual state
    Still the good monks continued to live in rigorous asceticism; and their liberality to others often reduced them to extremities of privation.
    Bolanden, Conrad von
  6. consumerism
    the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically beneficial
    A glittering shopping mall with an indoor ice skating rink stands as a totem of American-style consumerism.
    New York Times (Jan 3, 2012)
  7. despotism
    a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)
    Henceforward free government all over the world lay crushed beneath the military despotism of Rome.
    Various
  8. egoism
    (ethics) the theory that the pursuit of your own welfare in the basis of morality
    Consequently, as is the way of human nature, her egoism is exasperated, and becomes more firmly concentrated upon her own welfare.
    Boyd, Ernest Augustus
  9. empiricism
    (philosophy) the doctrine that knowledge derives from experience
    Darwin is the finest fruit of English empiricism.
    The Guardian (Sep 7, 2010)
  10. fatalism
    a philosophical doctrine holding that all events are predetermined in advance for all time and human beings are powerless to change them
    She never questioned but that the fault lay entirely in herself, and a sort of fatalism made her accept it all with apathetic matter-of-factness.
    Delafield, E. M.
  11. feminism
    a doctrine that advocates equal rights for women
    In the United States, as elsewhere, feminism could be characterized as the most successful social movement of the 20th century.
    New York Times (Dec 19, 2011)
  12. hedonism
    an ethical system that evaluates the pursuit of pleasure as the highest good
    In its heyday, Atlantic City was a haven of hedonism, its mystique etched onto the Monopoly board.
    Time (Sep 15, 2010)
  13. humanism
    the doctrine that people's duty is to promote human welfare
    The Reformation took up the educational work of humanism, and carried it forward.
    Seeley, Levi
  14. idealism
    (philosophy) the philosophical theory that ideas are the only reality
    Once more, the poet’s mysticism is tempered by a tinge of idealism.
    Clarke, Helen Archibald
  15. individualism
    the doctrine that government should not interfere in commercial affairs
    Samuel Johnson should be known as the apostle of individualism.
    Frothingham, Octavius Brooks
  16. isolationism
    a policy of nonparticipation in international economic and political relations
    When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the debate ended and isolationism was essentially dead.
    New York Times (Oct 4, 2010)
  17. liberalism
    a political orientation that favors social progress by reform and by changing laws rather than by revolution
    But San Francisco’s national reputation for liberalism and libertinism really got going after Prohibition ended in 1933.
    Slate (Jan 19, 2012)
  18. materialism
    (philosophy) the philosophical theory that matter is the only reality
    "Materialism will be advanced as the only sound basis of rational thought and practice."
    Holyoake, George Jacob
  19. nationalism
    the doctrine that your national culture and interests are superior to any other
    Despite a reputation for deep-rooted nationalism, Turkey has adopted liberal economic policies under Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party government over the past decade.
    Reuters (Sep 28, 2011)
  20. nihilism
    a revolutionary doctrine that advocates destruction of the social system for its own sake
    In her despair she succumbed to a sort of nihilism that made her ask: “What is the reason of anything?...
    Couperus, Louis
  21. pragmatism
    (philosophy) the doctrine that practical consequences are the criteria of knowledge and meaning and value
    One homegrown tradition from the United States is pragmatism, which is focused on what works.
    New York Times (Aug 6, 2011)
  22. rationalism
    the doctrine that reason is the right basis for regulating conduct
    There have been, since the waters of thought began to flow, two great streams running side by side,—Rationalism and Mysticism.
    Parsons, Frank
  23. totalitarianism
    the principle of complete and unrestricted power in government
    He denounced totalitarianism in his native land while promoting human rights.
    BusinessWeek (May 1, 2011)
  24. capitalism
    an economic system based on private ownership of capital
    Capitalism’s focus on individualism and free contractual arrangements replaced a system in which familial, communal and religious bonds had greater influence over long-term relationships.
    Salon (Aug 3, 2012)