Democratic Theory and American Political Culture

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PowerPoint for Democratic Theory and American Political Culture lecture series for PS 101 American Government at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Christopher S. Rice, Instructor

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Democratic Theory and American Political Culture

  1. 1. Democratic Theory A Topher Rice digital file
  2. 2. “ 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)
  3. 3. Demos + Kratia = “Rule by the People”
  4. 4. 3 Flavors of Democracy
  5. 5. Direct or Participatory Democracy
  6. 6. Representative Democracy
  7. 7. Revisionist or Elite Democracy
  8. 8. Direct or Participatory Democracy
  9. 9. New England Town Meetings
  10. 10. Iowa Caucuses
  11. 11. Athens (Greece, not Fayette Co.)
  12. 12. ENLIGHTENMENT
  13. 13. HOW?
  14. 14. More Informed
  15. 15. Sense of Responsibility
  16. 16. Political Tolerance
  17. 17. Mo’ Democracy Mo’ Problems
  18. 18. Scale
  19. 20. Leisure
  20. 21. Representative Democracy
  21. 22. “ Rule by the Few, Controlled by the Many”
  22. 23. Delegate Representation
  23. 24. 3 Fundamental Principles
  24. 25. Principle #1: Popular Sovereignty
  25. 26. How do we know it when we see it?
  26. 27. 6
  27. 28. Policies reflect what the people want
  28. 29. People participate in the political process
  29. 30. High quality info and debate available (The Jon Stewart Principle)
  30. 31. Majority Rules
  31. 32. Government Leaders Selected in Competitive Elections
  32. 33. Elections Are Free and Fair
  33. 34. Principle #2: Political Equality
  34. 35. 1 Person = 1 Vote
  35. 36. Assumes equal moral agency and reason
  36. 37. Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems “ That’s more like it…”
  37. 38. It’s a Distribution Problem…
  38. 39. Principle #2: Political Liberty
  39. 40. Political Liberty Basic freedoms in the formation and expression of the popular will & its translation into policy.
  40. 41. First Amendment Freedoms and the Like
  41. 42. Without Political Liberty, the other principles can’t function!
  42. 43. Why does your generation hate America?
  43. 44. Assumptions
  44. 45. Fairly Sophisticated
  45. 46. Rational
  46. 47. Informed (Delegate Representation)
  47. 48. Politically Active
  48. 49. Politically Tolerant
  49. 50. Problems
  50. 51. Scale / Population
  51. 52. Complexity of Issues
  52. 53. Are High Quality Info & Debate Available?
  53. 54. Are people really rational and competent?
  54. 55. Majority Tyranny?
  55. 56. Revisionist / Elite Democracy
  56. 57. Instability due to unrealistic assumptions
  57. 58. Downgrading role of masses Upgrading role of elites
  58. 59. Hedging on government responsiveness
  59. 60. The masses are asses
  60. 61. Irrational
  61. 62. Politically Intolerant
  62. 63. Low participation among the masses
  63. 64. Trustee Representation
  64. 65. Limiting the impact of universal participation…
  65. 66. Constitutional Barriers
  66. 67. Apathy is A- O K!
  67. 68. Increased participation costs
  68. 69. The American Creed
  69. 71. Values of the American Creed
  70. 72. Individualism a commitment to personal initiative, self-sufficiency and material accumulation
  71. 73. Unity & Diversity
  72. 74. Unity the principle that Americans are one people and form an indivisible union
  73. 75. Diversity the idea that individual and group differences should be respected AND that these differences are themselves a sort of strength
  74. 76. E pluribus unum
  75. 77. Commitment to rule of law under a constitution
  76. 78. Aka, The Constitutional Strand
  77. 79. Commitment to rule of law under a constitution The idea that fundamental law should serve as a restraint on human behavior
  78. 80. America’s Core Political Ideals
  79. 81. 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.
  80. 82. Equality the belief that all individuals are equal in their moral worth and are entitled to equal treatment under the law
  81. 83. Self-government the belief that the people are the ultimate source of governing authority and must have a voice in how they are governed
  82. 84. Fundamental ideas behind the “Core Values”
  83. 85. 17 th Century Protestantism
  84. 86. Primacy of the individual conscience
  85. 87. Close connection between the spirit of liberty and the spirit of religion
  86. 88. Role of the congregation as voluntary association
  87. 89. Importance of democracy within the church and its implications
  88. 90. 18 th Century Enlightenment Ideas (John Locke)
  89. 91. Equality as a basis for organizing society
  90. 92. Principal Elements of the American Creed <ul><li>Source of political power is the people </li></ul><ul><li>All governments are limited by the law and the people </li></ul><ul><li>Local government is to be preferred to national government </li></ul><ul><li>The majority is wiser than the minority </li></ul><ul><li>The individual has sacred rights </li></ul><ul><li>The Less Government the Better – fear that a powerful government will interfere with personal rights and economic efficiency </li></ul>
  91. 93. Principal Elements of the American Creed <ul><li>Source of political power is the people </li></ul><ul><li>All governments are limited by the law and the people </li></ul><ul><li>Local government is to be preferred to national government </li></ul><ul><li>The majority is wiser than the minority </li></ul><ul><li>The individual has sacred rights </li></ul><ul><li>The Less Government the Better – fear that a powerful government will interfere with personal rights and economic efficiency </li></ul>
  92. 94. Principal Elements of the American Creed <ul><li>Source of political power is the people </li></ul><ul><li>All governments are limited by the law and the people </li></ul><ul><li>Local government is to be preferred to national government </li></ul><ul><li>The majority is wiser than the minority </li></ul><ul><li>The individual has sacred rights </li></ul><ul><li>The Less Government the Better – fear that a powerful government will interfere with personal rights and economic efficiency </li></ul>
  93. 95. Principal Elements of the American Creed <ul><li>Source of political power is the people </li></ul><ul><li>All governments are limited by the law and the people </li></ul><ul><li>Local government is to be preferred to national government </li></ul><ul><li>The majority is wiser than the minority </li></ul><ul><li>The individual has sacred rights </li></ul><ul><li>The Less Government the Better – fear that a powerful government will interfere with personal rights and economic efficiency </li></ul>
  94. 96. Principal Elements of the American Creed <ul><li>Source of political power is the people </li></ul><ul><li>All governments are limited by the law and the people </li></ul><ul><li>Local government is to be preferred to national government </li></ul><ul><li>The majority is wiser than the minority </li></ul><ul><li>The individual has sacred rights </li></ul><ul><li>The Less Government the Better – fear that a powerful government will interfere with personal rights and economic efficiency </li></ul>
  95. 97. Principal Elements of the American Creed <ul><li>Source of political power is the people </li></ul><ul><li>All governments are limited by the law and the people </li></ul><ul><li>Local government is to be preferred to national government </li></ul><ul><li>The majority is wiser than the minority </li></ul><ul><li>The individual has sacred rights </li></ul><ul><li>The Less Government the Better – fear that a powerful government will interfere with personal rights and economic efficiency </li></ul>
  96. 98. <ul><li>Competitive Individualism – the belief that an individual’s fate is, and ought to be, tied to his or her own efforts. The belief that people are naturally competitive and are always striving to better themselves in relation to others. </li></ul>Principal Elements of the American Creed
  97. 99. Equality of Opportunity NOT Equality of Result
  98. 100. <ul><li>Competitive Individualism – the belief that an individual’s fate is, and ought to be, tied to his or her own efforts. The belief that people are naturally competitive and are always striving to better themselves in relation to others. </li></ul><ul><li>Free Enterprise – Americans tend to support the basic precepts of free enterprise capitalism: private property and the efficiencies of the free market. </li></ul>Principal Elements of the American Creed
  99. 103. Private consumption over public provision
  100. 104. Private consumption over public provision Private over public initiatives
  101. 106. ?
  102. 107. The American Creed is NOT an ideology
  103. 108. Liberty vs. Equality
  104. 109. Problems
  105. 110. Nearly unanimous support when it is painted in broad strokes. Support falls off when we get into specifics.
  106. 111. Consensus is broadest among those most active in the system and who benefit from it the most
  107. 112. Populism Hostility of the common person to power and the powerful
  108. 114. 2 Flavors
  109. 115. liberal populism
  110. 117. conservative populism

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