“ JP” Tabakian’s Political Science 1 United States Government – Fall 2008 – Intersession Supplemental Power Point Material – Week #1
Course Lecture: Week #1 <ul><li>This Week’s Lecture Covers: </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction To Course </li></ul><ul><li>Syllabus Review </li></ul><ul><li>Defining Political Science </li></ul><ul><li>Theory Defined </li></ul><ul><li>Rational Choice </li></ul><ul><li>Elitism & Pluralism </li></ul><ul><li>Spheres of Influence </li></ul><ul><li>Manipulation </li></ul><ul><li>Interdependency Theory </li></ul><ul><li>Power Theory </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency </li></ul>
Welcome To The First Week! New semesters bring various hiccups for everyone. This also goes for your instructor. We are all adjusting to new situations, course schedule conflicts and other adjustments. This course utilizes various methods to deliver information. Many of our materials are media driven. You will find many to be humorous, thought provoking , or even interesting. This first clip is presented merely for fun. It is titled “Welcome To School”.
Syllabus Review (1) Instructor: Mr. John Paul Tabakian POLITICAL SCIENCE 1 – US GOVERNMENT Section 1032: 7/14/2008 to 8/16/2008 – Mon to Thur – 7:30am to 10:00am Office Hours: Monday 10:10am to 11:00am F-225 Voice Mail: (213) 763-5377 Ext. 4023 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (most reliable way to reach me) URL: www.tabakian.com (use the site to download lost class handouts) *Students with disabilities who need any assistance or accommodations should contact the instructor*
Political Message #1 All citizens are allowed to author campaign rhetoric in order to influence public policy. Here is an example from Campchaos.com. The purpose may be solely comical without any political purpose. However, we must remember that all individual actors are part of the system. All actions influence “The System”.
What Is Political Science? Political Science is a branch of the Social Sciences like Sociology. Both fields are fairly similar as each is primarily interested in individual as well as group behavior. Their fundamental difference is exhibited by what theory serves as the foundation for each respective discipline. Social scientists are biased towards elitism while political scientists are prone to pluralism. This does not mean that elite theory is not utilized in the political sciences. It is recognized, but only in contrast with pluralism. Both theories compliment each other, but pluralism is generally favored by political scientists. Political scientists examine how political behavior is influenced as Sociology, which looks at individual behavior that is determined according to elite influence in general. Elite theory serves as the primary basis of the social sciences (sociology) while political scientists are biased towards pluralism or the result of competing interests and the end result of conflict and compromise.
Role of Theory Everyone uses theory whether they know it or not. Many of us devise our own theories through our childhood socializations up to adulthood. Disagreements within the field of political science for example come about when there is no agreement over the basic forces that shape the discipline. Students become disillusioned when situations arise that sweep forecasts into the abyss. Elitism and Pluralism serve as the foundation for the social sciences with political science being more inclined to adhere to pluralist arguments. Readers are encouraged to utilize both theories throughout the text. This will assist students of the political sciences to critically analyze those arguments presented by the author in order to devise their own methodologies concerning political science. Theory also helps researches to classify certain variables. It may be thought of as a pair of sunglasses that helps us filter unwanted information.
Example Of Theory - Realism Realism accords that as human nature remains the predominant factor in a nation-state’s foreign policy, it is further determined that such policies are focused upon self-interest. As the inherent motive for man is survival, it applies to the applied foreign policies of nation-states for the actions of a state are determined according to the tenets of political determination. Considered to be a synonym for power politics, though at times construed as pragmatic and wrought with simplicity, it is a somewhat abrupt philosophy focused on the inherent evils of mankind. Let us look at a clip from the movie “Failsafe”. Walter Matthau plays the role of National Security Advisor who applies rational choice and realist theory to explain why striking at the Soviet Union is necessary to survive.
Rational Choice (1) What is the primary goal of the individual? The answer may be summed up in one word: Survival. This basic human requirement serves as the foundation for all action. If survival is the ultimate goal, then one must assume that individual parties are determined to make decisions that are based on rationality. This of course assumes that people as individual units will base all decisions on self-interest. Let us even assume that the decision maker is in possession of perfect information. Why then do people make irrational or even foolhardy decisions even when all signs point to negative or even disastrous results? The answer is simply that human beings are not robots or computers. We are fallible to emotions that encompass belief systems like religion that in turn are great influences over individual behavior.
Rational Choice (2) Decisions are based on self-interest…as we define our self-interest to be. Consider this example. We have a nun and a real-estate mogul. The nun gives up all her worldly possessions and dedicating herself to helping those in poverty. Her justification may be great rewards in the afterlife. The real-estate mogul does not believe in an afterlife, but does believe in making as much money as possible, spending it all on an overly extravagant and abusive lifestyle. Who is acting rationally? Both individuals are for they are fulfilling their self-interest…as they define their self-interest to be.
Elitism Elitism does not promote elite rule. It merely helps us to understand how the rules of a society, especially a democratic one, may actually obstruct the social progress of the masses. Elitism argues that elites are needed, due to the ignorance of the masses and their unwillingness to act responsibly. One thing that elites are particularly fearful of is the tendency for masses to be vulnerable to demagogic appeals. Demagogues or counter elites are mass-oriented leaders who express outright hostility toward established order and appeal to the mass sentiments. This can be from the far left or far right. This also helps to explain why domestic elites remain fearful of direct democracy and why the Founding Fathers were against the establishment of national referenda.
Elitism Summarized <ul><li>Society is divided between the powerful few and the majority weak. </li></ul><ul><li>Governing few are not typical of the governed masses. Elites are not drawn mostly from the upper class socioeconomic section of society. </li></ul><ul><li>Non-elites have to be given the opportunity to rise up to elite positions. The masses have to believe that the process is continuous or revolution may occur. Barriers prevent finite elite positions from being overtaken by unqualified individuals. This is a classic rat and cheese scenario. </li></ul><ul><li>Elites share a common belief on the basic values of the elite. Any change of public policy will be incrementally slow rather than revolutionary. </li></ul><ul><li>Elites may base their actions either on narrow, self-serving motives and risk undermining mass support, or they may initiate reforms, curb abuse, and undertake public-regarding programs to preserve the system. </li></ul><ul><li>Active elites are not typically influenced from apathetic masses. Elites influence masses more than the masses influence elites. </li></ul>Sufficient Cheese Sufficient Cheese Lack Of Cheese
Elitism – How Information Flows Elite theory also argues that information flows from opinion elites down to opinion leaders who are looked to the public for information. News is first “created” by opinion elites and then sent to opinion leaders to help disseminate the information. Those at the very top of the elite network decide what information is deemed as necessary to offer society. These elites may be news makers themselves or in charge of large media corporations. Opinion leaders may be thought of as journalists, news anchors, expert pundits or even celebrities who possess legitimacy among those in society.
Manipulation Example #1 Governmental elites find it necessary to manipulate the masses if doing so serves a vested interest. Here is a great example of how a safety video can serve as a tool for manipulating the masses from childhood. Who does the monkey represent?
Manipulation & Mirror Myth News media outlets possess a great power. They are able to “decide what will be decided”. Bias is exhibited throughout the mainstream press. This is also true for nontraditional news sources as everyone is biased in some way. Many in the news media stress that they are nonbiased since they only reflect reality. Even if the news is merely reflected or reported, it is their choice of subjects that proves their bias. All news is biased. This is the “Mirror Myth”.
What We Call The News Claims have been made regarding the motivations behind what stories are chosen by the major media. Advertising revenue greatly influences those stories chosen. Securing market share is vital, for without it, the major media would lose advertising revenue. It is really our fault that the major news networks willfully focus on sex, violence and various negative pieces. This short clip provides a humorous spin to “What We Call The News”. Enjoy.
Pluralism – Spheres Pluralism insures that groups are restricted from single handedly influencing public policy. Rather, cross-cutting cleavages would form, as groups seek compromise with others to build coalitions that would succeed in affecting change. This helps to assure that minority factions are protected from an overwhelming majority. Majority power-holders among the “Spheres of Influence” are essentially “checked” by the formation of cross-cutting cleavages in an effort to balance against overwhelming forces.
Propaganda – Citizen Based Technological advancements have empowered common citizens with creative minds to produce their own propaganda. “The War On Terror” sparked a great deal of media distributed via the Internet. Elites no longer maintain total control over distribution. Many citizens may deem these video as offensive. Keep in mind that propaganda is meant to produce an “Us” versus “Them” mindset. Does this video have any impact over your belief system?
Pluralism Summarized (1) <ul><li>Society is divided into numerous groups with all making demands on government while none of the participants are able to dominate all decision-making. </li></ul><ul><li>Citizens do not directly participate in decision-making, but they are able to vote for leaders to make decisions through a process of bargaining, accommodation, and compromise. </li></ul><ul><li>Competition among leadership groups helps protect individuals’ interests. Countervailing centers of power – for example, competition among business leaders, labor leaders and government leaders – can check one another and keep each interest from abusing its power and oppressing the individual. Each of these individual “spheres of influence” allies themselves with other spheres that possess similar goals. See “Spheres Of Influence”. </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals may not participate directly in decision-making, but they can exert influence through active participation in organized groups, political parties and elections. </li></ul>
Pluralism Summarized (2) <ul><li>Leadership groups are open; new groups can form and gain access to the political system. </li></ul><ul><li>Political influence in society is unequally distributed, but power is widely dispersed. Access to decision making is often determined by how much interest people have in a particular decision. Because leadership is fluid and mobile, power depends on one’s interest in public affairs, skills in leadership, information about issues, knowledge of democratic processes, and skill in organization and public relations. </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple leadership groups operate within society. Those who exercise power in one kind of decision do not necessarily exercise power in others. No single elite dominates decision making in all issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Public policy does not necessarily reflect majority preference, but is an equilibrium of interest interaction – competing interest group influences are more or less balanced, and the resulting policy is therefore a reasonable approximation of society’s preferences. </li></ul>
Elitism Vs. Pluralism (1) <ul><li>Comparing and contrasting elitism and pluralism allows us to observe how they differ: </li></ul><ul><li>Elitism asserts that the most important division in society is between elites and masses. </li></ul><ul><li>Elitism emphasizes the importance to leaders to maintain their position of power – Pluralism emphasizes this devotion to their group interests. </li></ul><ul><li>Elitism asserts that mass membership of organizations rarely exercises influence on elite leadership. That these organizations have no democratic processes and are controlled by leaders who operate for their own self-interest. Pluralists offer no evidence that the giant organizations represent the interests of their individual members. </li></ul>
Elitism Vs. Pluralism (2) <ul><li>Elitism takes into account of all power holders – private and public. Pluralism focuses on governmental leaders and those who interact directly with them. </li></ul><ul><li>Elitism emphasizes shared characteristics of leaders on top of their interest in preserving the social diversity among leaders, differences in backgrounds, ideologies, and viewpoints. Pluralism also argues that decisions made by leaders are a product of their role perception, institutional constraints, interest group pressure, public opinion, etc. Elitism focuses on leadership consensus – Pluralism focuses on elite conflict. </li></ul>
Spheres Of Influence Pluralism is best in describing how competing spheres of influence protect minority rights against majority factions. These majority factions may consist of individual powerful elite entities or groups of “spheres of influence”. Alliances will form among once competing spheres in order to “check” another sphere or individual elite base that acquires too much power. This constant “checking” as described in the “competing spheres of influence” diagram describes how this plays out in all systems. Individual spheres of influence are always on the alert for one of their peers assuming too much power.
Competing Spheres Competing Spheres of Influence essentially check each other within the political system. This is seen as essential for the protection of minority rights especially as it pertains to majority factions. Elites in our society are not defined according to race, gender, religion, etc. They are seen mainly as those who hold positions of power with society. Our Founding Fathers considered the protection of minority rights as those few individuals who retained control over society. These individuals were property holders, policy makers or those who possessed positions of power.
Transitional Effects Competition among spheres of interest produces great returns for humanity. The constant strive for marketplace acceptance has resulted in America progressing from a predominantly agricultural society to an industrial, nuclear, and information based society. The United States is unique in that it excels in more than one particular capitalist endeavor. Innovation has led to advancements that have greatly influenced every aspect of society. Society has benefited from constant advancements in energy harvesting, computers, communication, water purification, medicine and all other areas not listed for the list would be enormous. Every significant discovery has in turn greatly influenced societal norms of behavior. Masses today view internet communications as a vital necessity. It is nearly impossible to operate in a complex society without easy access to the web. The majority of masses did not have this belief fifteen years ago. Only society determining that the internet allowed for greater efficiency was it adopted as a societal norm. Those not willing to adapt became obsolete.
Stabilization Sudden instability is the greatest threat to humanity for it threatens to cause irreparable harm to the individual. One may never consider harming another person in a state of nature. Elimination of one’s sustenance throws the individual into a state of war, because their survival is now threatened. Nation-states consist of multiple spheres of interest in turn consisting of individual units consisting of people. As survival is the primary goal of man, so it is the ultimate pursuit of nation-states. The primary concern is that of stability. This philosophy has prevented a major war from taking place over the last sixty years. Instability is the primary cause of all conflict both within and between nation-states.
Spheres Of Influence (1) Spheres consist of individuals who share a common set of interests and/or belief systems. Individual participants are the absolute micro-level of every sphere. Here are some examples of spheres: family, work, school, political parties, and religion. Different spheres of influence communicate with one another through the individual who is a member of those same spheres. Various societal interactions influence individual behavior.
Elite Stages Elites are the true minority not only within the United States, but in all societies, regardless of location. The triangle illustration shows that the true minorities are elites in possession of large capacities of power. Maximum level of education acquired is used for our argument.
Pluralism - Alliances Pluralism is best in describing how competing spheres of influence protect minority rights against majority factions. These majority factions may consist of individual powerful elite entities or groups of “spheres of influence”. Alliances will form among once competing spheres in order to “check” another sphere or individual elite base that acquires too much power. This constant “checking” as described in the “competing spheres of influence” diagram describes how this plays out in all systems. Individual spheres of influence are always on the alert for one of their peers assuming too much power. Certain situations may also call for certain spheres of influence to realize that they share a common agenda with one or more of their respective peers. Cooperation among spheres sharing a common agenda serves to hasten anticipated results. Individual Interdependent Spheres Government Business
Political Message #2 Those activists who work with both major parties are either much more liberal or conservative than the average typical voter. Democratic activists are more liberal and Republican activists are more conservative. Do you think that this video accurately defines both major candidates?
Power Theory (1) To exert power one must first possess adequate reserves to draw upon. This is defined simply as “capacity of power”. Achieving higher positions is dependent on various factors that may include: education; wealth; profession; charisma and other talents either developed or engrained from birth. This “capacity of power” is not determined according to a single resource, ability or possession. It is instead a combination of different variables that serve to make up the individual. This is just like a battery consisting of energy resources drawn upon when it comes time to draw power in order to achieve a set objective. Just like a battery powering a flashlight so does one’s individual “capacity of power” serve to assist one in achieving a set goal or in this case influencing or affecting political behavior to maintain, expand or protect one’s standing in order to survive in society.
Power Theory (2) Our example of “capacity of power” is applicable to individual capacity of power and all associations up to the nation state as all combined units consist of individuals pursuing their set of priorities or self-interest that is in turn based on survival. Drawing upon these reserves allows one to pursue agendas of self-interest. Power is the ultimate pursuit, as the ultimate goal of humanity is survival. Individual participants in pursuit of these goals join together in common pursuits under the umbrella of common interest. These resulting “spheres of interest” in turn join under broader umbrellas that also offer another distinct set of common goals that in turn competes with respective peers.
Power Theory (3) Power equals resources (capacity of power) times compliance squared, divided by force. Every accounting of power theory is taken into consideration in the construction of this formula. We have explored the contention that the pursuit of self-interest encourages man to engage in political behavior. This serves as the foundation for rational choice theory, which in turn has led us to power theory. One may argue that the pursuit of power maintains the never ending cycle of political: conflict; compromise; alliances; and wars.
Power Theory (4) Many have countered this argument with a direct assault on the statement that “there is no morality in politics”. These critics are both right and wrong. It is true that morality has no direct correlation with political science if the pursuit of self-interests and power resources maintains utmost priority. On the other hand they may be correct if one party sells their pursuit as a moral cause in order to achieve their agenda. For example, one may argue that good may come from conflict even if it leads to the destruction of a nation-state and the slaughtering of thousands or millions of people if the seed of democracy is planted and nurtured to maturity.
Transparency (1) America has grown from the days of a colony to major power, superpower, and hegemon, to its present empire status. American power is felt throughout the international community. Playing poker requires one to adopt what is commonly known as a “poker face”. Players will hide their true emotions, even faking their true intentions to catch other players off guard. Some have even taken to wearing sunglasses. The exact opposite tactic that the United States has adopted is “Transparency”. This involves disclosing all routes the nation-state will undertake with regards to all forms of public policy pertaining to its political, economic and military strategies.
Transparency (2) Alexander Hamilton initiated this policy as the chief financial philosopher of the United States even if he did not coin the term. Hamilton is regarded as the chief architect of our economic policy, which in turn was developed in order to win the confidence of domestic US business and financial elites as well as gaining the confidence of international business.
Transparency Example #1 America possesses the most technologically advanced military hardware. This video demonstrates one of the first deployable force fields for light armored vehicles (LAVs). Welcome to the 21st Century.
Transparency Example #2 America is not the only nation that utilizes Transparency. This video shows the Israeli Defense Force demonstrating a new type of gun that can shoot around corners. A brief interview with the inventor of this amazing weapon follows the demonstration.
Transparency Example (3) Some forms of transparency are both political and military in nature. The military sponsored the development of the Massive Ordinance Aerial Burst (MOAB). It is commonly referred to as “The Mother Of All Bombs”. It is the largest conventional bomb in our arsenal. There is a psychological component to this bomb. A mushroom cloud forms following successful detonation. It looks somewhat like a nuclear device being detonated.
Transparency Example (4) Javelin is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance. The system takes a top-attack flight profile against armored vehicles (attacking the top armor which is generally thinner) but can also take a direct-attack mode for use against buildings or fortifications. This missile also has the ability to engage helicopters. Javelin is supplied by Raytheon/Lockheed Martin's JAVELIN Joint Venture.