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To Government & Politics

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1 To Government & Politics
Introduction To Government & Politics By Loren Miller

2 Who Gets What, When and How
Politics Who Gets What, When and How Harold Lasswell, 1936 The authoritative allocation of values David Easton, 1953 “The study of politics is the study of influence in the influential The influential are those who get the most of what there is to get. Those who get the most are elite the rest are mass.” Harold Lasswell, 1936 “If men were angels no government would be necessary.” James Madison

3 Politics “war by other means” Michel Foucault The who -- the participants in politics (voters, interest groups, elected officials, unions, and corporations) The what -- the public policies (the decisions that government makes) The when and how -- the political process (campaigns and elections, fund-raising, and lobbying)

4 Politics and Power Those who prevail in political conflicts are said to have power. Power (and conflict) is basic to politics. Actors who have enough power can provide or refuse health benefits, block or impose gun control, raise or cut taxes, or prohibit or permit abortions. With so much at stake, it is not surprising that people seek political power.

POLITICAL POWER Pluralism Interest Groups A group’s organization, resources, connections Hyperpluralism Numerous A group’s organization, Interest Groups resources, connections Elitism “Power elite” in government, Status based on economic corporations and the military influence and leadership positions

6 Idealized view of Pluralism Idealized view of Elitism
Groups/Organizations Idealized view of Elitism Elites Masses

7 Politics and Government
Only government decisions can extend to the whole society, and only government can legitimately use force. Individuals have a legal right to voluntarily withdraw from nongovernmental organizations, while no one can voluntarily withdraw from government’s authority.

8 Government in Your Daily Life
Read weather report that uses Take a government class data from National Weather Bureau which is required by the state Drive past post office, Call friend on cell phone Eat cereal regulated military recruitment office whose operation is regulated by the FDA and environmental cleanup site by the FCC Time set by gov’t Get dressed in clothing Drive to school in Pay bursar bill subject to import tariffs car whose design is shaped using federally funded and regulations by federal regulations student loan Check using internet Attend lecture by professor Watch TV program developed with federal funding whose research receives on station that has federal funding federal licenseT Wake Up Morning Afternoon Evening Sleep Shower. Water provided by local gov’t

9 Development of Government
The Divine Theory: -- people believed that God ordained and established government -- the King descended from God; the Divine Right of Kings (no questioning the ruler) -- prevalent until the revolutions of the 17th and 18th century (the people v. royal absolutism) The Natural Theory: -- it was natural for people to get together and live together -- Aristotle: “man is by nature a political animal” -- government is a natural, growing, inevitable, and beneficial institution -- evolution of the state (Herbert Spencer/Charles Darwin)


11 Development of Government
The Social Compact Theory: -- government is created by people who consented to be ruled by someone else -- what could you do if you were the only person on earth? -- what could you do if you were one of a dozen people in your local area? what would you have to give up? Sovereign Liberties Protection People

12 Development of Government
The Social Compact Theory of Thomas Hobbes: -- Leviathan (1651) -- what would life be without government? -- the true state of nature is one of chaos -- people are anxious to achieve peace and security so they voluntarily surrender their natural rights to the sovereign in exchange for security -- once the people gave up their rights they could not get them back -- government power had to be absolute to counter the evils of mankind -- there is no right of revolution (a defense of the monarchy)

13 Development of Government
The Social Compact Theory of John Locke: -- Two Treatises on Government (1690) -- what would life be without government? -- the true state of nature is a pleasant state -- the people need someone to settle disputes and claims so they voluntarily leave the state of nature and enter into a contract to form a society -- people did not give up their rights, just delegated them -- government transgressions justify public disobedience and rebellion -- justifies the right of revolution -- many of Locke’s ideas are incorporated into the Declaration of Independence

14 Types of Government Anarchy – the absence of government
Autocracy – any system of government in which political power and authority are focused in a single person -- monarchy or dictatorship -- advantage: efficiency -- disadvantage: threat of one person rule Oligarchy – any system of government in which a small elite group holds the ruling power; usually based on wealth, military power or social position -- aristocracy, junta, or theocracy -- advantage: rule by the best qualified -- disadvantage: they might rule for their own benefit

15 Types of Government Democracy – a form of government in which the people exercise political control -- demos meaning “the people”; kratis meaning “to rule” -- popular sovereignty: ultimate power is vested in the people “Democracy is a form of religion; it is the worship of jackals by jackasses” H. L. Mencken

16 The Growth of Democracy

17 Types of Government Principles of Democracy
-- Individual Dignity: requires personal freedom -- human beings are entitled to life and liberty, personal property, and equal protection under the law -- these liberties are not granted by government, they belong to every person -- Equality -- true democracy requires equal protection of the law for every individual -- Majority Rule: one person, one vote -- collective decision making in democracies must be by majority rule, with each person having one vote

18 Types of Government Principles of Democracy
-- Participation in Decision Making -- democracy means individual participation in the decisions that affect individuals’ lives -- The argument for democracy is not that the people will always choose wise policies for themselves, but that people who cannot choose for themselves are not really free “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” Thomas Jefferson

19 Types of Government Madison’s fear of Democracy: Mobocracy
Criticisms of Democracy -- failure to operate efficiently, promptly and honestly -- must have an intelligent, informed, unprejudiced, unemotional human being -- unworkable under the complex conditions of modern life These criticisms of democracy give way to speculation on how the government really works. Do people really make policy?

20 Models of Democracy Majoritarianism: when political leaders respond to the policy desires of the majority -- normally we think that this is limited to the election of representatives; the threat of defeat will make public officials responsive to the people’s wishes. -- representatives are elected by vote of all the people -- elections are open to competition -- candidates and voters can freely express themselves -- representatives are selected periodically

21 Models of Democracy Direct Democracy: when everyone actively participates in every decision -- New England Town Hall Meetings -- referendum is an election on a policy issue (should public money be spent in a certain way?) -- initiative is the process of proposing legislation (circulate petitions to place an issue in front of the legislature of the people via a referendum) Some states allow both referendum and initiative, but not Texas. What groups would be opposed to such forms of participation?

22 California Initiative
In 1978, California passed Proposition 13: -- it rolled back property tax assessments to levels, -- mandated that property could be assessed no more than 1 percent of its value, -- capped assessment increases at a maximum of 2 percent a year, -- allowed reassessment only when the property is sold. Although cutting property taxes was popular, what was its impact on local government?


24 Trust in Government What factors might explain the public’s lack of trust and what does this mean for our democracy?

25 Political Ideology A political ideology is a consistent set of values and beliefs about the proper purpose and scope of government Are people consistent in their political ideology? -- no; people can be liberal in some areas and conservative in others -- e.g., liberal in domestic affairs and conservative in international politics

26 Liberalism Principles of Liberalism:
-- a broad political principle centered on the rights of the individual -- belief in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all -- it is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and protect civil liberties and human rights -- the role of the government is to see that no person is in need -- tend to be optimistic in that they believe that society is progressively getting better

27 ”If a free society cannot help
Liberalism ”If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” John F. Kennedy

28 Liberalism in the United States
The darker the blue, the more liberal the state 2011

29 Conservatism Principles of Conservatism:
-- a broad political principle centered on learning from past solutions for answers that we need today -- want to return to traditional religious and ethical absolutes; distrust of reform or change -- defend the status quo -- emphasis on personal responsibility (self-reliance) -- belief that the role of government should be to provide the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals

30 solution to our problem;
Conservatism ”Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Ronald Reagan

31 Conservatism in the United States
The darker the red, the more conservative the state Liberal/Conservative 2011

32 American Political Spectrum

33 American Political Spectrum

34 Liberals and Conservatives
Economic Liberals: favors more government regulation of business to protect the environment and consumers, more progressive taxes, and more programs to help low-income Americans. Economic Conservatives: favors less government involvement in economy and society, leaving more to the private sector. Social Liberals: favors the right to abortion, more rights for gays and lesbians, more civil rights protections for minorities, and separation of church and state. Social Conservatives: against abortion, supports traditional families and gender roles, favors more religious practices in public life.

35 Extremist Groups Radicals:
-- leftist extremists (stems from the practice of European parliaments of seating radical parties to the left of the presiding officer) -- advocate greater government control of society; socialism -- advocate governmental action to correct injustices and shortcomings in existing society -- mass protests during the Vietnam conflict; Occupy Wall Street movement

36 Extremist Groups Reactionaries:
-- rightist extremists (stems from the practice of European parliaments of seating ultra conservative parties to the right of the presiding officer) -- belief that most social problems result from democratic excesses favoring the property less masses -- prefer government by an oligarchy -- often adopt military tactics to achieve their objectives -- the Know Nothing Party; Ku Klux Klan; against big government (anti-UN)

37 Radicals and Reactionaries
Similarities: -- both proliferate during periods of hard times -- both are inflexible in their ideas; no compromise -- both resort to violence Here in the United States we have people from every extreme imaginable. However, most Americans are “centerists.”

38 Ideologies Democratic Non-Democratic
Liberal Conservative Radical Reactionary Democratic Non-Democratic Leftist Authoritarian Rightist Authoritarian Communism Fascism Authoritarian is the most prevalent of all governments throughout world history Leftist comes about via social reforms Rightist comes about via nationalistic revolt

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