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Democratic Theory & American Political Culture
 

Democratic Theory & American Political Culture

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Slideshow prepared for a series of lectures on Democratic Theory and American Political Culture for PS 101 American Government (Fall 2007) at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Christopher S. Rice, ...

Slideshow prepared for a series of lectures on Democratic Theory and American Political Culture for PS 101 American Government (Fall 2007) at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Christopher S. Rice, Lecturer.

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    Democratic Theory & American Political Culture Democratic Theory & American Political Culture Presentation Transcript

    • Democratic Theory A Christopher Rice digital file
    • “ DON’T NEED ELECTION” “ It seems to me that Vice President Al Gore is out of control. He is prepared to spend more than $40 million on a campaign that the American people don’t want. The polls clearly show that the people want Texas Gov. George W. Bush for the next president. Why would Gore put the country through all of the political ads and commercials when the people have spoken through the polls? I think Congress should take the message the American people have sent to them and appoint Bush as president. Then they could get back to issues that are important, like Social Security and health care. I know some people might say that we must have elections because the law says so, but this could put the business of the American people on hold for some time. Is that what we want? I say it’s time to appoint Bush and put this behind us.” – Randy Martin, Lexington. Lexington Herald-Leader (2000)
    • Demos + Kratia = “Rule by the People”
    • 3 Flavors of Democracy
    • Revisionist (Elite) Democracy Representative Democracy Direct (Participatory) Democracy
    • New England Town Meetings
    • Iowa Caucuses
    • Athens (Greece, not Fayette Co.)
    • ENLIGHTENMENT
    • HOW? (cc) 2006 by Flickr user tony.eckersley
    • More Informed (cc) 2006 by Flickr user Mathias L.
    • Sense of Responsibility Photo (cc) 2005 by Flickr user monkeyc.net
    • Political Tolerance Photos (cc) 2007 by flickr user That Other Paper (Austin, TX)
    • Mo’ Democracy Mo’ Problems
    • Scale
    • Leisure
    • Representative Democracy
    • “ Rule by the Few, Controlled by the Many”
    • Delegate Representation
    • 3 Fundamental Principles
    • Principle #1: Popular Sovereignty
    • How do we know it when we see it? (cc) 2007 by Flickr user Eduardo Cruz
    • 6
    • Policies reflect what the people want (cc) 2007 by Flickr user Cesar R
    • People participate in the political process
    • High quality info and debate available (The Jon Stewart Principle)
    • Majority Rules Photo (cc)2006 by Flickr user jjn1
    • Government Leaders Selected in Competitive Elections
    • Elections Are Free and Fair
    • Principle #2: Political Equality
    • 1 Person = 1 Vote
    • Assumes equal moral agency and reason
    • Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems “ That’s more like it…”
    • It’s a Distribution Problem…
    • Principle #3: Political Liberty
    • Political Liberty Basic freedoms in the formation and expression of the popular will & its translation into policy.
    • First Amendment Freedoms
    • Without Political Liberty, the other principles can’t function!
    • Why does your generation hate America?
    • Politically Tolerant Politically Active Informed (Delegate Representation) Rational Fairly Sophisticated Assumptions
    • Problems
    • Scale / Population
    • Complexity of Issues
    • Are High Quality Info & Debate Available?
    • Are people really rational and competent?
    • Majority Tyranny?
    • Revisionist (Elite) Democracy
    • Instability due to unrealistic assumptions
    • Downgrading role of masses Upgrading role of elites
    • Hedging on government responsiveness
    • The masses are asses
    • Irrational
    • Politically Intolerant
    • Low participation among the masses
    • Trustee Representation Delegate Representation
    • Limiting the impact of universal participation…
    • Constitutional Barriers
    • Apathy is A -O K !
    • Increased participation costs
    • The American Creed
    •  
    • Values of the American Creed
    • Individualism a commitment to personal initiative, self-sufficiency and material accumulation
    • Unity & Diversity
    • Unity the principle that Americans are one people and form an indivisible union
    • Diversity the idea that individual and group differences should be respected AND that these differences are themselves a sort of strength
    • E pluribus unum
    • Commitment to rule of law under a constitution
    • Aka, The Constitutional Strand
    • Commitment to rule of law under a constitution The idea that fundamental law should serve as a restraint on human behavior
    • America’s Core Political Ideals
    • Liberty the belief that individuals should be free to act and think as they choose, provided they do not infringe unreasonably on the freedom and well-being of others.
    • Equality the belief that all individuals are equal in their moral worth and are entitled to equal treatment under the law
    • Self-government the belief that the people are the ultimate source of governing authority and must have a voice in how they are governed
    • Fundamental ideas behind the “Core Values”
    • 17 th Century Protestantism
    • Primacy of the individual conscience
    • Close connection between the spirit of liberty and the spirit of religion
    • Role of the congregation as voluntary association
    • Importance of democracy within the church and its implications
    • 18 th Century Enlightenment Ideas (John Locke)
    • Equality as a basis for organizing society
    • Principal Elements of the American Creed Source of political power is the people All governments are limited by the law and the people Local government is to be preferred to national government The majority is wiser than the minority
    • Principal Elements of the American Creed Source of political power is the people All governments are limited by the law and the people Local government is to be preferred to national government The majority is wiser than the minority
    • Principal Elements of the American Creed Source of political power is the people All governments are limited by the law and the people Local government is to be preferred to national government The majority is wiser than the minority
    • Principal Elements of the American Creed Source of political power is the people All governments are limited by the law and the people Local government is to be preferred to national government The majority is wiser than the minority
    • Principal Elements of the American Creed The individual has sacred rights The Less Government the Better Competitive Individualism Free Enterprise
    • Principal Elements of the American Creed The individual has sacred rights The Less Government the Better Competitive Individualism Free Enterprise
    • Principal Elements of the American Creed The individual has sacred rights The Less Government the Better Competitive Individualism Free Enterprise
    • Equality of Opportunity NOT Equality of Result
    • Principal Elements of the American Creed The individual has sacred rights The Less Government the Better Competitive Individualism Free Enterprise
    •  
    •  
    • Private consumption over public provision Private over public initiatives
    •  
    • ?
    • The American Creed is NOT an ideology
    • Liberty vs. Equality
    • Problems
    • Nearly unanimous support when it is painted in broad strokes. Support falls off when we get into specifics.
    • Consensus is broadest among those most active in the system and who benefit from it the most
    • Populism Hostility of the common person to power and the powerful
    •  
    • 2 Flavors
    • liberal populism
    •  
    • conservative populism
    •