PS 101 Foundations Of American Political Culture

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PS 101 Foundations Of American Political Culture

  1. 1. Foundations of American Political Culture Dr. Christopher S. Rice University of Kentucky
  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. Democracy!
  5. 5. New England Town Meetings
  6. 6. Iowa Caucuses
  7. 7. ENLIGHTENMENT
  8. 8. HOW?
  9. 9. More Informed
  10. 10. Sense of Responsibility
  11. 11. Political Tolerance
  12. 12. Mo’ Democracy Mo’ Problems
  13. 13. Scale
  14. 14. Leisure
  15. 15. Representative Democracy
  16. 16. “Rule by the Few, Controlled by the Many”
  17. 17. Delegate Representation
  18. 18. 4 Fundamental Principles
  19. 19. 4 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy Popular Equality Sovereignty Political (Civil) Majority Rule Liberties
  20. 20. 4 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy Popular Equality Sovereignty Political (Civil) Majority Rule Liberties
  21. 21. Popular Sovereignty The ultimate source of authority rests with the people and the government does the people’s bidding.
  22. 22. How do we know it when we see it?
  23. 23. Policies reflect what the people want
  24. 24. People participate in the political process
  25. 25. Government Leaders Selected in Competitive Elections
  26. 26. Elections Are Free and Fair
  27. 27. 4 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy Popular Equality Sovereignty Political (Civil) Majority Rule Liberties
  28. 28. 1 Person = 1 Vote
  29. 29. Political Equality
  30. 30. Assumes equal moral agency and reason
  31. 31. Social Equality? Social Equality? (cc) 2007 Flickr User Tavallai
  32. 32. Mo’ Money “That’s more like it…” Mo’ Problems
  33. 33. It’s a Distribution Problem
  34. 34. 4 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy Popular Equality Sovereignty Political (Civil) Majority Rule Liberties
  35. 35. Political Liberty Basic freedoms in the formation and expression of the popular will & its translation into policy.
  36. 36. First Amendment Freedoms
  37. 37. Without Political Liberty, the other principles can’t function!
  38. 38. 4 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy Popular Equality Sovereignty Political (Civil) Majority Rule Liberties
  39. 39. Majority Rules
  40. 40. 4 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy Popular Equality Sovereignty Political (Civil) Majority Rule Liberties
  41. 41. Assumptions
  42. 42. Fairly Sophisticated
  43. 43. Rational
  44. 44. Informed (Delegate Representation)
  45. 45. Politically Active
  46. 46. Politically Tolerant
  47. 47. The Founders faith in the viability of Representative Democracy relied upon: >A System of Checks and Balances >The Wisdom of a Well- Informed Citizenry >The Rule of Reason
  48. 48. The Founders faith in the viability of Representative Democracy relied upon: >A System of Checks and Balances >The Wisdom of a Well- Informed Citizenry >The Rule of Reason
  49. 49. The Founders faith in the viability of Representative Democracy relied upon: >A System of Checks and Balances >The Wisdom of a Well- Informed Citizenry >The Rule of Reason
  50. 50. The Jon Stewart Principle High Quality Information and Debate are Essential to a Functioning Democracy
  51. 51. The Marketplace of Ideas
  52. 52. HOT vs. COOL media
  53. 53. “Sixty percent of those who use both [TV and the Internet] simultaneously report that they regularly have the television on while they are using the Internet.” Al Gore, The Assault on Reason
  54. 54. The Founders faith in the viability of Representative Democracy relied upon: >A System of Checks and Balances >The Wisdom of a Well- Informed Citizenry >The Rule of Reason
  55. 55. “Reason - cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason - must furnish all materials for our future support and defence. Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the Constitution and laws.” Abraham Lincoln (1838)
  56. 56. “Faith in the power of reason - the belief that citizens can govern themselves wisely and fairly by resorting to logical debate on the basis of the best evidence available, instead of raw power - was and remains the central premise of American democracy. This premise is now under assault.” Al Gore, The Assault on Reason
  57. 57. Why has America’s public discourse become less reasoned?
  58. 58. “The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ ... ‘That's not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’” Unnamed Bush aid, quoted by Ron Suskind, NY Times Magazine, October 17, 2004
  59. 59. “The mental muscles of democracy have begun to atrophy.” Al Gore, The Assault on Reason
  60. 60. Why does your generation hate America?
  61. 61. Problems
  62. 62. Scale / Population
  63. 63. Complexity of Issues
  64. 64. Are High Quality Info & Debate Available?
  65. 65. Are people really rational and competent?
  66. 66. Majority Tyranny?
  67. 67. Elite theory of democracy
  68. 68. Instability due to unrealistic assumptions
  69. 69. The masses are asses
  70. 70. Downgrading role of masses Upgrading role of elites
  71. 71. Hedging on government responsiveness
  72. 72. Irrational
  73. 73. Politically Intolerant
  74. 74. Low participation among the masses
  75. 75. Delegate Representation
  76. 76. Trustee Representation
  77. 77. Limiting the impact of universal participation…
  78. 78. Constitutional Barriers
  79. 79. Increased participation costs
  80. 80. Apathy is A- OK!
  81. 81. FAIL
  82. 82. The American Creed
  83. 83. Values of the American Creed
  84. 84. Individualism a commitment to personal initiative, self- sufficiency and material accumulation
  85. 85. Unity & Diversity
  86. 86. Unity the principle that Americans are one people and form an indivisible union
  87. 87. Diversity the idea that individual and group differences should be respected
  88. 88. Diversity these differences are themselves a sort of strength
  89. 89. Commitment to rule of law under a constitution The idea that fundamental law should serve as a restraint on human behavior
  90. 90. “For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king and there ought to be no other” Thomas Paine
  91. 91. 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.
  92. 92. Equality the belief that all individuals are equal in their moral worth and are entitled to equal treatment under the law
  93. 93. Self-government the belief that the people are the ultimate source of governing authority and must have a voice in how they are governed
  94. 94. Populism Hostility of the common person to power and the powerful
  95. 95. 2 Flavors
  96. 96. liberal populism
  97. 97. conservative populism
  98. 98. Photo Credits Slide 4: (cc) 2007 Flicker User Creativity+ Slide 9: (cc) 2006 by Flickr user tony.eckersley Slide 10: (cc) 2006 by Flickr user Mathias L. Slide 11: Photo (cc) 2005 by Flickr user monkeyc.net Slide 12: Photos (cc) 2007 by flickr user That Other Paper (Austin, TX) Slide 14: (cc) 2004 Flickr User Ian_Ransley Slide 24: (cc) 2007 by Flickr user Eduardo Cruz Slide 25: (cc) 2007 by Flickr user Cesar R Slide 33: (cc) 2007 Flickr User Robleto Slide 39: (cc) 2007 Flickr User Freakgirl Slide 41: Photo (cc)2006 by Flickr user jjn1 Slide 50: (cc) 2006 Flickr User letouj Slide 53: (cc) 2006 Flickr User Chadh Slide 55: (cc) 2006 Frickr User nouQraz Slide 57: (cc) 2007 Flickr User Rickydavid Slide 77: (cc) 2005 Flickr User Brave Heart Slides 83 & 84: www.lumaxart.com/ Slide 85: (cc) 2007 Flickr User Adam Polselli Slide 86: (cc) Flickr User Thorne Enterprises Slide 88: (cc) 2007 Flickr User ΛβΠ L Slide 89: (cc) 2007 Flickr User Silversprite Slide 90: (cc) 2007 Flickr User Enrico Fuente

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