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Democratic theory

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  • 1.
    • May 12, 2010
    • http://www.jonathanmpowell.com/ps101.html
  • 2.  
  • 3.
    • The process by which the actions of government are determined
      • Virtually every country is unique
  • 4.  
  • 5.
    • Joseph Schumpeter (1950)
    • “ institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which the individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote”
  • 6.
    • Dictionary.com:
    • “ a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system”
  • 7.
    • Lebanon – Compulsory for men; optional for women (must have elementary education)
    • Bhutan – one vote per house
    • Leichtenstein – women’s suffrage in 1984
    • Saudi Arabia – local elections only, women cannot vote or run for office
    • Qatar – Women originally rejected the right to vote, but now can
  • 8.
    • Voting is only one of many characteristics of a democracy
  • 9.
    • Certain basic principles are necessary in any definition of democracy.
      • Free and fair elections
      • Majority rule
      • Freedom of expression
      • Freedom of assembly and the right to protest
      • Much more emphasis on liberal norms, pluralism
        • Broad participation, equality, human rights
  • 10.
    • Direct Democracy
      • Aka Participatory Democracy
    • Representative Democracy
      • Republican
  • 11.
    • δημοκρατία
  • 12.
    • Still present in US town hall meetings and in some small European nations to some extent.
    Images form wikipedia.org
  • 13.
    • Is this feasible on a large scale?
    Image form wikipedia.org
  • 14.
    • Problems :
      • Tyranny of the Majority
      • Complexity of Issues
      • Availability of Information
      • Is it worth it?
        • V = PB – C
  • 15.
    • Delegate representation
      • Citizens choose individuals to represent their interests
      • This is done through elections
      • Citizens choose politicians who share their personal beliefs, values, opinions, etc.
      • Representatives will also act as a check against majority tyranny
  • 16.
    • Required assumptions for representative democracy to work:
      • Voters are aware.
  • 17.
    • Required assumptions for representative democracy to work:
      • Voters are aware.
      • Voters are rational.
  • 18.
    • Required assumptions for representative democracy to work:
      • Voters are aware.
      • Voters are rational.
      • Voters are tolerant.
  • 19.
    • Required assumptions for representative democracy to work:
      • Voters are aware.
      • Voters are rational.
      • Voters are tolerant.
      • Voters are informed.
  • 20. Image form wikipedia.org
  • 21.
    • Trustee Representation
      • Voters should select those most able to run the government and trust that they will make the best decisions.
    • Only elites should have any real power over government policy.
    • Most individuals are too ignorant, unaware, or apathetic to have an informed role.
  • 22.
    • Is the United States a representative or elitist democracy?
    Public opinion shows that a majority of Americans believe that government serves the interests of a few elites.
  • 23.
    • Other arguments for elitism:
    • Americans are POORLY informed
      • Opinions are consistently inconsistent
    • Few participate in government
    • Few want to participate
    • Impact of participation is minimal
  • 24. Attitudes on Spending, Taxes
  • 25.
    • When it comes to specific applications of the creed, support tends to fall off.
  • 26. The paradox of democracy balances the principle of majority rule against the principle of individual liberty.
  • 27.
    • Name
    • Email address
    • ~1 minute per question
  • 28.
    • How many stars are there in our flag?
  • 29.
    • What do the stars on the flag mean?
  • 30.
    • What do the stripes on the flag mean?
  • 31.
    • Who is the vice-president of the United States today?
  • 32.
    • Who elects the President of the United States?
  • 33.
    • What do we call a change to the Constitution?
  • 34.
    • What are the three branches of our government?
  • 35.
    • Who makes the laws in the United States?
  • 36.
    • How many members are there in the House of Representatives?
  • 37.
    • For how long is a member of the House elected?
  • 38.
    • How many members are there in the Senate?
  • 39.
    • For how long is a member of the Senate elected?
  • 40.
    • Who becomes President of the United States if the President and the vice-president should die?
  • 41.
    • How many Supreme Court Justices are there?
  • 42.
    • Who was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence?