ORDERVS.EQUALITYVSFREEDOM WHICH ONE IS MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU, AND WHY? WHY SHOULD THIS QUESTION EVEN MATTER TO ME?
MILLENNIAL GENERATION • What do the Millennial’s supposedly support? • Do you agree? • American youth are less likely to be informed about government and politics and participate less in politics
The Political Disengagement of College Students Today SINCE 9/11, COLLEGE STUDENTS HAVE BECOME A BIT MORE INTERESTED IN POLITICS
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE VOTE • Those who participate in the political process are more likely to benefit from gov’t programs and policies • It is true that the elderly have more political clout than young people • Old people vote • Voter turnout for people under the age of 25 has dropped from 50% in 1972 to 33% in 2000 • There has not been an event that youth have wanted to pay attention to until 9/11
AN UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTH • 2/3rds of a national sample reported that they do not understand government • Sample of U.S. Immigration and Naturalization test • Legitimacy: the degree to which a political system is accepted • Problem: how can the U.S. political system be legitimate, if 66.7% of the population doesn’t understand their own gov’t?
GAY MARRIAGE AMENDMENT YOU AND YOUR GOV’T DETERMINE WHETHER THIS WILL BE ACCEPTED!
A SIMPLE FACT: • Fact: the gov’t uses force to rule society • Problem: most people don’t like being controlled • Americans cherish their FREEDOM • Problem: if the gov’t exists to control its constituents, how can it maintain its legitimacy? • Answer: people surrender some of their FREEDOMS in order to obtain the benefits offered by the gov’t
Government • Definition: • The institutions and processes through which public policies are made for society • Legislative-makes the laws • Executive-enforces the laws • Judicial-interprets the laws • This definition leads to two basic questions: • How should we govern? • Ideal vs. Real Democracy • What should government do? • Does gov’t do what we want it to do?
Politics • Definition: • The process by which we select our governmental leaders and what policies these leaders produce • Politics produces authoritative decisions about public issues • Also consider Harold D. Lasswell’s definition: • Who gets what, when, and how • Who-voters, politicians, interest groups • Income, safety, and deference drives politics • Only a minority of people get what they want. • What-substance of politics and gov’t (issues) • How-voting, compromising, and lobbying • Political participation and single-issue groups (NRA)
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE(S) OF GOV’T? • The gov’t is held responsible for the following: • Maintaining ORDER • Promoting EQUALITY • Provide PUBLIC GOODS • Protecting Americans’ FREEDOM
DILEMMA THE GOV’T FACES • All gov’t policies reinforce certain norms at the expense of others • FREEDOM-nation defense, collect taxes • ORDER-national defense ($400 billion a year), collect taxes • EQUALITY-national defense, collect taxes • Which one do you feel the gov’t needs to focus on promoting, if you had to pick one? • Explain which one is the most important to you in a one page written explanation
ORDER • ORDER: establishing the rule of law to preserve life and to protect property • This is the oldest objective of gov’t • Thomas Hobbes (1651) believes life without gov’t would create a society existing in a “State of Nature.” • Social Contract: people give up some rights to a gov’t in order to receive social order • The contract was irrevocable and humans are selfish • Hobbes believed there is a “war of all against all.” • John Locke (1690) believes unlimited gov’t leads to abuses, and the gov’t should be from the people • Gov’t needs to protect peoples’ “natural rights” of life, liberty, and prosperity • These ideas are found in the Declaration of Independence • If the state turned itself into a tyranny, Locke argued in favor of a right of rebellion • Locke believed human nature is characterized by reason and tolerance • He also believed the contract could be broken • Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison regarded Locke’s ideas as political truths
EQUALITY • EQUALITY: gov’t should provide everyone with equal opportunities • This is the newest objective of gov’t and is extremely controversial • Promoting EQUALITY became an objective of gov’t during the Great Depression (started in 1929 when the stock market crashed) • Social Security, Medicaid (poor), Medicare (elderly) • How does the gov’t accomplish this task? • Answer: take from the rich and give to the poor
PROVIDING PUBLIC GOODS • PROVIDING PUBLIC GOODS: benefits and services that are available to everyone • Example: roads, schools, and someday it might include healthcare for all • Basically, it’s an extension of promoting EQUALITY
FREEDOM • FREEDOM: a measure of the number of things a person can do without interference • There are two types of FREEDOMS that exist: • FREEDOM TO: is the absence of constraints on behavior • Example: FREEDOM of Speech • FREEDOM FROM: often symbolizes the fight against exploitation and oppression • Example: FREEDOM from Religion • Could to much FREEDOM be harmful?
WHAT DO AMERICANS VALUE? 59% of Americans say they are happy with the U.S. gov’t although 2/3rds of Americans really don’t understand gov’t
DILEMMAS THE GOV’T FACES • FREEDOM vs. ORDER • Should the military be forced to allow homosexuals in the military? • Should the gov’t (state or federal) be forced to allow homosexuals to get married or disallow gay marriage? • Korematsu vs. U.S. • The Patriot Act • Fahrenheit 9/11
DILEMMAS THE GOV’T FACES • FREEDOM vs. EQUALITY • Should the gov’t be able to force businesses and colleges to take special steps to ensure that minorities are hired and/or accepted into college? • Should the gov’t be able to tax your earnings and use that money to help a person that is on welfare • What if that welfare recipient continues to have children while on welfare? • Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke
DILEMMAS THE GOV’T FACES • ORDER vs. EQUALITY • Should the KKK be able to have a parade • Should homosexuals be able to have a gay parade • Hurley vs. Irish American GLIB Association • Gay-Straight Alliance meeting at school • Buck vs. Bell
WHAT DO DEMOCRATS VALUE Conduct research on FDR, JFK and/or Bill Clinton, and Democrats in general
WHAT DO REPUBLICANS VALUE Conduct research on Warren Harding, Richard Nixon and/or George W. Bush, and the Republicans in general
DILEMMAS THE GOV’T FACES • Write down two of your own example of dilemmas the gov’t faces for each of the following: • FREEDOM vs. ORDER • FREEDOM vs. EQUALITY • ORDER vs. EQUALITY • We will discuss each one in class
ORDER, EQUALITY, FREEDOM; WHICH ONE MATTERS TO YOU? • Pick the one you feel is the most important and explain why in a 2 page hand-written explanation • Work with like minded individuals and do your best to convince your fellow classmates • You will read this in front of the class, and the group with the most convincing argument, in support of their topic, will receive 10 bonus pts • The assignment, itself, is worth 50 pts
The Policymaking System The process by which policy comes into being and evolves over time
People • All Americans have the following: • Interests • Problems • Concerns • How citizens project these concerns into the political realm becomes the true art • Martin Luther King, Jr. I have a dream speech!
Linkage Institutions • Definition: transmitting the preferences of Americans to the policymakers in gov’t • Political Parties • Elections • News & Entertainment Media • Interest Groups • Pick a topic/issue you want the gov’t to support and find two interest group that would support your topic/issue
Policy Agenda • Definition: consists of the issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actively involved in politics at any given time • Political Issues • These arise when people disagree about a problem and how to fix it. • Some issues will be considered, and others will not. • If a politician wants to get elected again, he/she needs to pay attention to their constituents • Dorgan, Pomeroy, Conrad, and a farm bill • A government’s policy agenda changes regularly • Bailout for many American businesses!
Policymaking Institutions • These institutions have been created by the U.S. Constitution • Legislature (Congress) • Executive (President) • Courts (Federal and State) • Bureaucracies (Federal and State) • The fourth policy making institution
Policy Impacts People Public policy: every law passed, budget established, and ruling handed down
Policy Impacts People • Impacts of Policies: • Does it solve the problem? • Does it create more problems? • Policies can be established through inaction • Doing nothing or nothing different can prove to be a very consequential decision • Example: AIDS was considered a gay person’s disease
Majority rules while protecting minority rights Democracy • Definition: • A system of selecting policymakers and organizing government so that policy represents and responds to the public’s preferences • The founding fathers were not fond of democracy, b/c many of them doubted the ability of ordinary Americans to make informed judgments about what gov’t should do • Roger Sherman, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, said the people “should have as little to do as may be with the gov’t.” • Read Federalist #10 • Article I Section 3-Senators chosen by the state legislatures • Elected by the people b/c of the 17th Amendment (1913) • Article II Section I-electoral system established • An Ideal democratic process should satisfy the following five criteria: • Equality in voting-the principle of “one person, one vote” (Wesberry v. Sanders-1964) • Effective participation-citizens must have the chance to express their preferences equally • Enlightened understanding-open creation and discussion of ideas by all • Citizen control of the agenda-citizens should collectively control gov’t policies • Inclusion-gov’t must include, and extend rights to, all those subject to its laws
Republic/Representative Gov’tnot a so-called Democracy • Republic • Definition: a form of gov’t in which sovereignty/power rests with the people, who elect agents to represent/govern them in lawmaking and other decisions • Read Federalist #10 • Representative Democracy • Definition: a form of gov’t in which representatives elected by the people make and enforce laws and policies • The people hold the ultimate power b/c the people get to elect/re-elect the reps
Challenges to Democracy • Increased Technical Expertise • Limited Participation in Government • Escalating Campaign Costs • Diverse Political Interests (policy gridlock)
Questions About Democracy • Are the people knowledgeable- and do they apply what they know? • Do interest groups help the process, or do they get in the way? • Do political parties offer clear consistent choices for voters? • Does the President & Congress work in the best interests of ALL the people?
American Individualism • Individualism is the belief that individuals should be left on their own by the government. • Individualism is highly valued in the United States with a strong preference for free markets and limited government.
Questions about the Scope of Government • How big a role does the Constitution say should be played by the federal government? • Does a bigger, more involved (active) government limit the people’s freedoms? • Do we need a bigger, more involved government to protect our freedoms?
Questions about the Scope of Government, continued • Do competing political parties make for better policies? • Do more interest groups create a bigger government? • Does the media help control the size and policies government?
Questions about the Scope of Government, continued • Can the president control the government, or has it gotten too big? • Can Congress respond to the needs of the people, or just to the interest groups? • Do members of Congress expand government by seeking to be re-elected?
Questions about the Scope of Government, continued • Do the federal courts overstep their bounds and intrude on the powers of other branches of government? • Are the federal agencies too large and unresponsive to the public they are supposed to serve?
WHY STUDY GOV’T? • If you don’t understand gov’t, you can’t take a legitimate part in gov’t • Last but not least, why would you choose not to have say in your future and the future of the U.S. • Who gets elected often determines whether ORDER, FREEDOM, and/or EQUALITY will be the United State’s focus for the next four years
PICK A PARTY OR TWO • Find out which party you like and research a few other unique/odd parties • Vote Smart • Research and pick the top two parties you would be inclined to support and then pick a third odd/unique party of interest. • Explain each of the three party’s beliefs, what they support/oppose, and why you think each party is important in the American political realm