Presentation on theme: "3 Governing Society: We Know Who You Are. Controlling the Behavior of Others One of the key differences between realists and idealists is the way they."— Presentation transcript:
3 Governing Society: We Know Who You Are
Controlling the Behavior of Others One of the key differences between realists and idealists is the way they view human nature Idealists tend to believe that humans are basically good and care for others Consequently, governments and their leaders should be judged by these ideals Realists tend to believe that human beings care only about maximizing their own self-interests and they expect no more from their leaders
Controlling the Behavior of Others The study of how governments need to control indidividuals is a realist approach When examining politics, this perspective asks: –“Who benefits?” –“How do they benefit?” The answers to these two questions will usually provide a solid first step toward unraveling the political puzzle Often, the best line is: “Show me the power.”
Controlling the Behavior of Others Regardless of the type of government they head, it can be argued that all leaders try to maximize their self-interests What individual benefits might leaders pursue? –Power –Wealth –Prestige The goals might be selfish or altruistic but the concept of leadership benefits is a powerful explanatory tool
Leadership Benefits The greater the benefits to be gained from the leadership position, the more willing people are to take risks to take over a leadership position, and the greater lengths leaders will go to to hold on to it
The Panopticon One of the fundamental mechanisms leaders use to control large populations is based on the concept of the panopticon This is based on an 18 th c. prison design by Jeremy Bentham The prisoners could be watched at any time but they never know when they are being watched
The Panopticon Michel Foucault noted that the panoptic control of a few guards over hundreds of prisoners is similar to how governments control large populations
The Panopticon Think of they way traffic laws are enforced The vast majority of times there are no police to be seen However, there always could be a police officer around any bend in the road Through self-policing, a few hundred policemen can control thousands of drivers Leaders use this same concept to prevent revolt and maintain control
The Panopticon Is this something with which we need to be concerned about in a democracy? What about public surveillance cameras in public places and other technologies such as drones?
The Panopticon Does this bring the “gaze of the superior” into the daily lives of the populace? Why would citizens acquiesce? Could this acquiescence be constructed?
The Panoptic Gaze Foucault used the Panoptican as a metaphor for the oppressive power of late capitalism Domination and Control without bars Mediated tyranny of the majority The only way to avoid punishment is to police your own actions and serve as your own guard
Collective Action, Revolution, and the Use of Force Government is essentially an institutionalized mechanism for collective action Revolutions are collective actions with the aim of tearing down and replacing the current government
Collective Action, Revolution, and the Use of Force Those at the top of the existing social hierarchies are driven by self-interest to actively oppose any collective effort to overthrow the system. They will employ a variety of techniques to prevent revolutionary groups from forming
Atomization When people are isolated they are kept from forming a group that could threaten a leader’s hold on power At the most extreme, you would want to prevent anyone from forming any kind of personal bond The two most important mechanisms leaders use to accomplish this are: –peer policing –preference falsification
Atomization: Peer Policing Peer policing is having people police each other Leaders need to encourage citizens to engage in peer policing against potential revolutionaries Leaders might make it a crime to not report someone else’s efforts to form a revolutionary group This works particularly well if people believe that government agents will test individuals’ willingness to turn in others
Atomization : Peer Policing Governments and their leaders can handle individual isolated revolutionary actions, but mass action may overwhelm the government’s policing and enforcement mechanisms Peer policing happens in democracies as well as in totalitarian states
Atomization: Preference Falsification Preference falsification is hiding they way you truly feel while publicly expressing what those in power want to hear from you As long as people’s true feelings are hidden, how can potential revolutionaries even know if there are others who share their view?
Limits on Forceful Control The level of force leaders must use to maintain control is related to the level of dissatisfaction When dissatisfaction is low, less force is necessary When dissatisfaction with unresolved problems becomes high enough, desperation may overcome fear and force may no longer be enough When pushed too far, people will stand up to a bully
Huxley v. Orwell Check out this comic adaptation of the introduction to Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to DeathCheck out this comic adaptation of the introduction to Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death Can you think of contemporary examples of both a Huxleyan and an Orwellian world? With which should we be more concerned? How about examples from The Cuckoo’s Nest?
Legitimacy and Government Control Instead of relying on force, threats, and punishments, leaders can maintain control by pursuing legitimacy Legitimacy is the voluntary acceptance of government Pursuing a path of legitimacy can be an expensive long-term proposition It is generally far cheaper in the short-term to use force
Legitimacy and Government Control There are many ways that governments can achieve or lose legitimacy –stay in power a long time, –get the blessing of a legitimate past leader, –convince people that God sent the leaders to rule –win popular elections Electoral democracies institutionalize revolt by giving citizens the power to keep or replace the government
Legitimacy and Conflict Within Groups After World War I, researchers believed that conflict was something horrible, and that conflict should be eradicated Georg Simmel and later Lewis Coser pointed out that the complete elimination of conflicts could be equally bad because conflict serves constructive functions
Legitimacy and Conflict Within Groups When engaged in a conflict with another group, self-identification with the group increases and support for the leadership increases Intra-group conflict (conflict within the group) can serve as a safety valve for letting off frustration
Cross-cutting Cleavages If there are a variety of conflicts, divisions over them do not always coincide People who disagree on one issue may agree on others This prevents society from dividing sharply over a single issue People will be less hostile toward others on one issue if they agree on others
Conflict as a Source of Legitimacy Such conflicts facilitate the resolution of the underlying cause of disagreement; the resolution of small issues can keep them from growing into large ones They also provide a foundation for developing compromises Resolving conflict within the group enhances the public’s willingness to voluntarily accept the group and its structures This enhances the legitimacy of the group and its leaders
Totalitarianism Totalitarianism – Ideology that espouses the complete political, economic, and social control of people and institutions by a dictatorial, single- party regime. Have we always had Totalitarianism? No, this a 20th Century phenomenon; why? Technology creates the communication and transportation necessary to manage all aspects of life Also, growth of ideology as a means of organizing a society
Popular Totalitarianism? Why would people allow totalitarianism? Their ideological justification comes from the state acting on behalf of the people Organize the economy so that all have their needs met Totalitarian regimes are generally popular (at least at the beginning)
Economic Freedom Why might a government want to limit economic freedoms? Prevent Exploitation How might this affect the economy of a totalitarian regime? Command Economies are not very efficient If limit economic freedoms, must limit political freedoms as well (Maoist China) However, can limit political freedom without limiting economic freedom (China today)
Social Freedoms What kinds of social freedoms might be limited in a totalitarian government? enjoy the privacy of your home practice the religion of your choice believing what you wish Why might a government want to limit these freedoms? How do they threaten the government’s ability to rule?
Limited Government You are watching television when an "alien" form appears on the screen. The alien states that all of earth and its inhabitants are now under the control of aliens. The alien informs you that all forms of communication have been taken over. The alien continues with this statement: "Americans believe rights are important. The United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights guarantee many rights. As aliens, we are going to take away all of your rights except for one."
Which Right Will You Keep? –Petition the Government –Have a Lawyer –Freedom of Speech –Freedom of Religion –Peaceably Assemble –Freedom of the Press –Bear Arms –Trial By Jury –A Speedy and Public Trial –Freedom from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures