- Slides: 25
Introduction to Government
Government What is government? Why do we need it? (or do we? ) What would life be like in the absence of government?
Government Definitions The state is the “human community that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory" --- Max Weber 1919 Webster: a particular system used for controlling a country, state, etc. Our book: The system for implementing descisions through the political process
Different Views “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government. ”– Jefferson “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help. ”– Reagan “ Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage. ” Menken
Hobbes Wrote Leviathan (1660) People are selfish and violent Argued that the state of nature is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” The best way to protect life is total power in an absolute Monarchy
Hobbes “The only way to erect such a common power as may be able to defend them from the invasion of foreigners and the injuries of one another, and thereby to secure them in such sort as that by their own industry, and by the fruits of the earth, they may nourish themselves and live contentedly, is to confer all their power and strength upon one man. ”
Key Words Limited Government is the philosophy that government does not have absolute authority. Hobbes did not believe that there should be many limits on government
Locke Wrote Second Treatise on Civil Government (1690) People have natural rights they are born with --the rights of life, liberty and protection of property Civil society is created to protect natural rights All men are created equal consent of the governed-- --the idea that to rule, one needed to have the consent of the people they were governing, instead of just ‘divine rights’ Society exists under a social contract in which if breached people have a right to revolt “By this breach of Trust they forfeit the Power, the People had put into their hands, for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the People, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty. ”
Rousseau Argued only good government is formed by consent of the people, Believed in direct democracy “social contract” is the idea that people join groups, and these groups make a presence known as a society. A social contract is the compact that the people agree form rules and conditions for membership in their society. Equality is the belief that all persons are entitled to equal rights and treatment before the law.
Rousseau Civil Society occurs after people leave the state of nature. Signs of this transfer are: people act on rules of justice rather than on instinct, physical impulse is replaced by the voice of duty, and people consult reason rather than inclinations. By entering civil society people gain civil liberty and the legal right of property in what he possess. They also gain moral freedom, making people masters of themselves.
Montesquieu Wrote De l’espirit des lois (Spirit of Laws) 1748 Advocated separation of power into three branches executive, legislative, and judicial function
Separation of Powers: is the principle of dividing the powers of a government among different branches to guard against abuse of authority. A government of separated powers assigns different political and legal powers to the legislative, executive, and judicial branches Republican Government a type of government which is ruled by an elected leader, rather than a monarch or dictator Equality under the law is the belief that all people receive fair and equal protection by the government through written law
Mills elites the "Metropolitan 400" - members of historically notable local families in the principal American cities, generally represented on the Social Register "Celebrities" - prominent entertainers and media personalities the "Chief Executives" - presidents and CEO's of the most important companies within each industrial sector the "Corporate Rich" - major landowners and corporate shareholders the "Warlords" - senior military officers, most importantly the Joint Cheifs of Staff the "Political Directorate" - "fifty-odd men of the executive branch" of the U. S. federal government,
Dahl. Who Governs? 1961 “ In a political System where nearly every adult may vote but where knowledge, wealth social position, access to officials and resources are unequally distributed, who actually governs? ” What two types off people exist in a Democracy? Does the US (or Haven) have a well defined class system with similar interests?
Dahl Studies the politics of New Haven, Connecticut in 3 issue areas: Nominations for office by both political parties Public education Urban renewal
Dahl Madison was wrong, and antidemocratic. the large size of the US does not logically (necessarily) preclude the emergence of a stable majority, and Madison's institutional checks cannot prevent a majority from acting. We have neglected the social checks and balances, which are ultimately more important than the institutional ones. "In the absence of certain social prerequisites, no constitutional arrangements can produce a non-tyrannical republic"
so policy decisions rarely deviate from the majority's core preferences. "With such a consensus [on basic values] the disputes over policy alternatives are nearly always disputes over a set of alternatives that have already been winnowed down to those within the broad area of basic agreement. ” (p. 131 -2). Without this prior consensus on basic values, democracy would not survive for very long (p. 132). The consensus on norms and values protects minorities, not institutional restraints . "To assume that this country has remained democratic because of its constitution seems to me an obvious reversal of the relation; it is much more plausible to suppose that the constitution has remained because our society is essentially democratic. " (143)
Lukes: Power a Radical View As Lukes points out one weakness is that “Dahl concludes that the system is penetrable by any dissatisfied group, but he does so only by studying cases of successful penetration, and never examines failed attempts of penetration” (38). “how do the powerful secure the compliance of those they dominate and, more specifically, how do they secure their willing compliance” (110).
Lukes: Power a Radical View Later theorizers, improved, in Lukes eyes, these incomplete sketch of politics in the “two dimensional view of power. ” The two-dimensional view of power adds to the one-dimensional view the idea of agenda control, or what Schattschneider might call bias. However, what if we are not aware of our real interests? What if we are manipulated into acting against our own interest? Therefore, though there is no observable conflict, domination could still be at work.
One-Dimensional View of Power (Dahl) : Focus on a) behavior; b) decision making; c) (key) issues; d) observable (overt) conflict; e) (subjective) interests, seen as policy preferences revealed by political participation.
Two-Dimensional View of Power (Qualified) critique of behavioral focus Focus on a) Decision-making and control over the political agenda (not necessarily through decisions); b) Issues and potential issues; c) Observable (overt and covert) conflict; d) (Subjective) interests, seen as policy preferences or grievances.
Three-Dimensional View of Power Critique of behavioral focus Focus on: a) decision-making and control over the political agenda (not necessarily through decisions); b) issues and potential issues; c) observable (overt or covert) and latent conflict; d) subjective and real interests.
, The Un-Politics of Air Pollution: A Study of Non. Decisionmaking in the Cities,