American Political Culture Wilson Chapter 4 AP Government What is Political Culture? • The widely-shared beliefs, values, and norms that citizens share about their government • A distinctive and patterned way of thinking about how political and economic life ought to be carried out. CHARACTERISTICS • Liberty • Rugged individualism (is this always the case?) • Equality – – – – – Opportunity more than result Political more than economic equality American Dream FDR’s second bill of rights Conflict between liberty ( capitalism) and equality (democracy): Progressive Era; New Deal; Great Society CHARACTERISTICS • Democracy • Civic Duty (but we don’t know much about political affairs) • Mistrust of Government (since 1960s) • Political Efficacy-capacity to understand (individual) and influence (external) political events. • Political tolerance- in the abstract vs. concrete • Pragmatism - we’re less ideological • Justice- “government of laws, not men” More on Justice… • Policies and laws that adhere to the rule of law must adhere to these rules: – – – – – Generality Prospectivity (apply to the future) Publicity (cannot be secret) Authority Due Process Sources of Political Culture • History • Religion • Family What has shaped your political identity and culture? Culture War • Cultural clash over values vs. economic clash over wealth – Orthodox (morality) – Progressive (personal freedom) – Clash over: abortion, gay rights, drug use, school prayer and pornography. How is this war different than political disputes? Why has this war grown in recent years? Mistrust of Government • The “American Malaise” - crisis of confidence evident in Americans’ growing disrespect for government, schools, churches, and institutions. – Jimmy Carter Why don’t we trust our government? What don’t we trust about it? America vs. the World • Swedes - deferential in nature; harmony; equality in results more important than equality in opportunity • Japanese - Respect authority; group decisions • British- sense of civic duty; rectify unjust laws • Americans- strong sense of religion in politics IS THE U.S. REALLY APATHETIC?