Introduction to Sociology

Exam 4 Essay Dr. Carlson

                            The United States of America and the Futu...
The United States government is leading to democratic socialism and can be seen by the

violation of two constitutional re...
within the political system as can be seen by the violation of the Principle of Representative

Government and Amendment 2...
increasingly becoming undermined as the government changes from democratic to democratic

socialism as it feels it is thei...
this option to its citizens, which illustrates the increase in governmental policy and goes against

Jefferson’s plan that...
constitutional related principles that have been undermined by the government (Carlson, 2009).

In fact, religious organiz...
question. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United

States Bill of Rights that pro...
Ultimately, the citizens of the United States are forced to alter the way in which they

interact within the five primary ...
REFERENCES

Kendall, Diana. 2008. Sociology in Our Times (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Unpublished documents ...
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Essay 4, excellent effort realizing full credit of 10 of 10 possible pts.

  1. 1. Introduction to Sociology Exam 4 Essay Dr. Carlson The United States of America and the Future The United States of America was founded on principles that allow its citizens constitutional inalienable rights. These rights are referenced within the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution; and all of which have been an important backbone to the structure of the government since the beginning in 1776. Recently, the government has been changing its policy in many areas which quite a few analysts suggest is leading the country from a democratic government to a democratic socialistic form of government. To stress the differences between the two styles of government, definitions of each are in order. First, democracy means, “a political system in which the people hold the ruling power either directly or through elected representatives” and democratic socialism means, “an economic and political system that combines private ownership of some of the means of production, governmental distribution of some essential goods and services, and free election” (Kendall, 2008: pg. 692). In fact to support the idea that the government is making the switch, according to the textbook, Sociology In Our Times, written by Diana Kendall, the United States is adapting “many of the characteristics of a welfare state (a state that uses extensive government action to provide support and services to its citizens” (Kendall, 2008: pg. 430). As a result, the growing government is clearly beginning to fail to adhere to the many founding constitutional related principles that allow American citizens inalienable rights and freedoms which can be seen in each of the five primary social institutions including the political system, economic institution, education, religion and marriage and family institutions.
  2. 2. The United States government is leading to democratic socialism and can be seen by the violation of two constitutional related principles within the political system. According to Kendall, pg. 697, politics “is the social institution through which power is acquired and exercised by some people and groups.” To begin, the Principle of Representative Government has become corrupt as cases have presented themselves as to show that elected officials are willing to receive money in return for special legislation. Interestingly, an article in the New York Times revealed that “Although [Robert J.] Congel has sometimes given money to Democrats, he is a major Republican campaign fundraiser” and despite this fact, Congel “donated $100,000 to former President Bill Clinton’s foundation in November 2004, around the same time that (Democrat) Sen. Hillary Clinton helped secure millions of dollars in federal assistance for the businessman’s mall project” (Carlson, 2009). The violation here is clear; elected officials are not representing the mass of the people because they have other agendas in mind, which are driven by select people or groups of people. Along with the Principle of Representative Government shown to have been violated in the United States political system, the Voting Amendment 26 of the Bill of Rights, which was adopted in 1791 to protect citizens from “improper” government action, has also been destabilized (Carlson, 2009). First of all, Amendment 26, 18-year-old suffrage, states in Section 1 that the rights of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age (Carlson, 2009). Contrary to Amendment 26, the powerful government now requires that each voter registers to vote and by doing so providing an address of residency. The infringement here is that those Americans who are homeless have no address and therefore are denied access to vote. Clearly, American citizens are beginning to lose their freedoms and unalienable rights
  3. 3. within the political system as can be seen by the violation of the Principle of Representative Government and Amendment 26 which allows citizens aged 18 and up to vote. Along with the political system, the economic institution is affected by two constitutional related principles that are becoming undermined as the United States government is leading to democratic socialism. By definition, economy is “the social institution that ensures the maintenance of society through the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services” (Kendall, 2008: pg. 693). The economic institution is increasingly becoming affected by the rise in governmental policy. As a result, the Principle of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of [“Personal”] Happiness is about to become abused. For example, to pay for the many programs in which the citizens have little or no say in, which are set up by the government, President Obama has “proposed an income-tax increase on higher-income taxpayers which would be effective 2011” and also “proposed federal estate-tax changes that would be effective in 2010” (Carlson, 2009). In other words, it is of the obliged sacrifice of the families making more than $250,000 and those who own their property that will be forced to give up their hard earned money each year. Along with the violation of the Principle of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, the Principle of Free-Enterprise has been completely violated in recent months under the Obama administration. Against the Principle of Free-Enterprise, the government gives loans to private industries such as the automotive company General Motors. Despite this free from government, Free-Enterprise notion, many companies such as GM, have already received $17.4 Billion. As a result the government has shown no hesitation to become actively involved with the practices of this private industry by firing GM Chief Executive, Rick Wagoner (Carlson, 2009). All in all, the two principles Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and Free-Enterprise are
  4. 4. increasingly becoming undermined as the government changes from democratic to democratic socialism as it feels it is their place to control several aspects of the economic institution. In accordance with the political system and the economic institution, the educational institution is undermined by the expansion of government as can be seen by the violation of two constitutional related principles, which is also characteristic of democratic socialism. According to Kendall, pg. 693, education is “the social institution responsible for the systematic transmission of knowledge, skills, and cultural values within a formally organized structure.” To begin, former President Jefferson focused on a plan which supports public education. As an illustration, here is a quote from Jefferson, "Education is here placed among the articles of public care, not that it would be proposed to take its ordinary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which manages so much better all the concerns to which it is equal; but a public institution can alone supply those sciences which, though rarely called for, are yet necessary to complete the circle, all the parts of which contribute to the improvement of the country, and some of them to its preservation." --Thomas Jefferson: 6th Annual Message, 1806. ME 3:423” (Carlson, 2009). The original plan set forth by Jefferson was that government play a minimal role in education in cases that there are not private enterprises available to citizens. Currently, the government has gone beyond what originally was set by one of the founders of the United States and thus, the principle in question is the Principle of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. For example, American citizens are becoming increasingly forced to choose public education as access to private education has become limited due to governmental policy. For instance, currently, property taxes fund school districts in order to provide education to all of its children and one argument is that tax payers should be given the option of receiving a tax credit to use towards a private institution such as homeschooling. The government does not readily provide
  5. 5. this option to its citizens, which illustrates the increase in governmental policy and goes against Jefferson’s plan that public education should only be a backup and should not limit the opportunities of private institutions as they can ultimately provide better quality education. Another violation by the government, as it pertains to the educational institution, is of the Fourth Amendment in public schools. The Fourth Amendment, “protects citizens [students] from unreasonable search and seizure and which the government may not conduct any searches without a warrant, and such warrants must be issued by a judge and based on probable cause” which has been violated in schools (Carlson, 2009). It is a fact that public schools with lockers have been known to searches and school officials nationwide have been confiscating personal items such as cell phones. These examples along with student athletes as subjects to random drug tests are a complete constitutional defiance of student rights as set forth by the Fourth Amendment. Overall, the educational institution has increasingly become affected by the overall growth and control of the United States government and resulting in the limitations that citizens have from their freedoms and inalienable rights. The ever expanding government of the United States has been found to have challenged two constitutional related principles as it relates to the religious institution just as it has in the political system, economic institution, and educational institution, which leads one to conclude that it is changing into a democratic socialistic government rather than the intended democratic form of government. By definition, religion is “a system of beliefs, symbols, and rituals, based on some sacred or supernatural realm, that guides human behavior, gives meaning to life, and unites believers into a community” (Kendall, 2008: pg. 697). To begin, the First Amendment which is the Separation of Church and State, provides that “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise thereof” and is one of the
  6. 6. constitutional related principles that have been undermined by the government (Carlson, 2009). In fact, religious organizations have been given indirect opportunities to avoid restrictions on how they use their facilities and property. For instance, “the Rocky Mountain Christian Church is using a new federal law to fight a county decision preventing it from expanding on land designated for open space” (Carlson, 2009). These loop holes in law directly undercut the constitutional freedoms of citizens who therein would have preferred that land were open. Further, there are many other violations of the First Amendment by the United States government. One example is an incidence that occurred when the Saddleback Church was granted tax breaks on the argument that their services provides to society. The argument against what happened with Saddleback is that the Fourth Amendment shall not grant religious establishments any special laws (Carlson, 2009). As you can see, recently the overriding control of government continues to disregard the constitutional related principles and in the religious institution it is the First Amendment that is challenged, which states the separation of church from governmental policy. Lastly, the marriage and family institution, along with the political system, economic, education, and religious institutions, is currently becoming affected by the potential undermining by the government, of two constitutional related principles leading to democratic socialism. To understand the marriage and family institution, definitions of each are in order. First, marriage is “a legally recognized and/or socially approved arrangement between two or more individuals that carries certain rights and obligations and usually involves sexual activity” and families are “relationships in which people live together with commitment, form an economic unit and care for any young, and consider their identity to be significantly attached to the group” (Kendall, 2008: pgs 693 & 695). A constitutional right granted to families has recently been called into
  7. 7. question. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right to keep and bear arms. This relates to the marriage and family institution because it gives families the opportunity to protect themselves from danger if the need arises in their own homes. Recently, in the interpretations section of the Wall Street Journal, there has been notice of a debate on whether or not having firearms is constitutional. As well, there has been a case in the United States in which a man was sent to jail because he shot and killed an intruder in his own home (Carlson, 2009). The Second Amendment is clear, and any competent person who can read will realize that this ban is outright unconstitutional. If this ban were passed, this only proves that the government has the power to control every aspect of Americans lives. Another constitutional related principle under question is The Parental Rights Amendment to the Constitution which gives parents the fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children. Strictly abandoning this notion, the Convention on the Rights of the Child states, “the best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent’s decision” (Carlson, 2009). The idea that possibly the courts will have the final say and that American parents will be stripped of their right to raise their child is a clear cut example of how the United States government is increasing its role in the citizens lives and by beginning to socialization of children. Lastly, if this treaty creates this law, democracy as we know it will plunge in all social institutions of America. Overall, the marriage and family institution has been brought into light as the government continues to expand in power and currently within government there are parties who are trying to control firearms and aspects of parental rights, which if passed, clearly violates the Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms and the Parental Rights Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
  8. 8. Ultimately, the citizens of the United States are forced to alter the way in which they interact within the five primary social institutions (i.e., political system, economic institution, education, religion and marriage and family). First of all, American citizens are beginning to lose their freedoms and unalienable rights within the political system as can be seen by the violation of the Principle of Representative Government and Amendment 26 which allows citizens aged 18 and up to vote. Secondly, the two principles Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and Free-Enterprise are increasingly becoming undermined as the government feels it is their place to control several aspects of the economic institution. As well, recently the overriding control of government continues to disregard the constitutional related principles and in the religious institution it is the First Amendment that is undermined, which states the separation of church from governmental policy. Lastly, the marriage and family institution has been brought into light as the government continues to expand in power and currently within government there are parties who are trying to control firearms and aspects of parental rights, and if passed, clearly violates the Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms and the Parental Rights Amendment of the Bill of Rights. All in all, the United States government has been moving in a direction that supports the idea that it is changing from a democratic to a democratic socialistic government as it continues to loosely adhere to the constitutional related principles set forth by the founding fathers.
  9. 9. REFERENCES Kendall, Diana. 2008. Sociology in Our Times (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Unpublished documents of John R. Carlson. 2009. Cited with permission from author, Edison State College, Introduction to Sociology Class, Spring term, 2009.

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