Liberals - St. Pius X High School

Dilemmas of Democracy
Plato’s Cave
• Plato’s Cave
• Ideology
– Myths and Reality
Competing Myths
False Security Myths
Assumption Myths
Desire and Hope Myths
– Political Ideology
• Politician’s and Interest Groups use of
• Need for Political Education
The Purposes of Government
• Three Principles
– Maintaining Order
• Original Purpose
• Thomas Hobbs
– Leviathan, “State of Nature”
– Leaders protect sovereignty and provide survival
• John Locke
– Two Treatises of Government, “life, liberty, property”
• Karl Marx
– Communist Manifesto, “economic equality”
– Providing Public Goods
• Services that benefit all in a society
• Requires Taxes – can be controversial
– Promoting Equality
• Modern Purpose
– Economic Equality - Increases Taxes – Controversial
– Social Equality – Can be Controversial
– Political Equality – Not often Controversial
Concepts of Government
• Values pursued by government
– Freedom, positive
• Freedom of = Liberty
• Freedom from = Immunity
– Order, negative
• Preserve, protect, and maintain social order
– Equality, positive
• Political Equality
– Difficult to maintain
• Social Equality
– Class structure
• Equality of opportunity
– Key word is opportunity = Positive reaction
• Equality of outcome
– Key word is outcome = negative outcome
The Two Dilemmas of Government
• The Original Dilemma:
– Freedom vs. order
– Protect Life and Property
– Principles Conflict
– Finding a balance
• The modern Dilemma:
– Freedom vs. equality
– Promote Social Equality
– Principles Conflict
– Finding a Balance
Ideology and the Scope of
• Political Ideology
• Anarchism
• Libertarianism
• Liberalism
– Democratic Liberalism
• Totalitarianism
– George Orwell’s 1984
• Economic Ideology
Laissez faire
Democratic Socialism
• Conservatives
– Small Government Economics
• Support free enterprise
– Big Government Social Order
• Restrict behavior
• Liberals
– Small Government Social Order
• More personal freedoms
– Big Government Economics
• Support equality
The Scale
• The Political Spectrum Scale
– Liberals = Center Left (Moderates)
• Improving society
• Supports Change
– Conservatives = Center Right (Moderates)
• Providing Security
• Supports Tradition
– Radicals = Far Left
• Progressive society
– Reactionaries = Far Right
• Restoring Society
– Revolutionary Radicals = Extreme Left
• Bold New Society
– Revolutionary Reactionaries = Extreme Right
• Glorious Resurrection
The Bell Curve
The Left v The Right
• The Left
– More Government and Less Government
• Values equality and freedom over order
– Positive view of human nature
• Great economic, social, and political opportunities
– Supports Social Mobility
– Egalitarian Principles
• The Right
– Less Government and More Government
• Values order over freedom
– Negative view of human nature
• Values Freedom over equality
– Equality is natural
– Talents should be basis of mobility
Compare of the Left and the Right
• Moderates
– Liberals and Conservatives
More in common then with their extreme counterparts
Will compromise to reach goals
Encourages Stability of the System to reach long term goals
Mild political engagement
• Activists
– Radicals and Reactionaries
• Active engagement in politics – The work horse of politics
• Feel threatened by opposing side – Believe people will come to
their side if they are told the “Truth”
• Rarely Compromise
• Extremists
– Revolutionary Radicals and Revolutionary Reactionaries
• More in common then with moderates
• Violent and Totalitarian
• Will not compromise and will die for beliefs
Level of Intensity
• As one moves outward on the Political
Spectrum Scale their intensity of conviction
Two-Dimensional Ideology Scale
• Accurate classifications require looking
at values of freedom, order, and equality
– Libertarians value freedom more than order
or equality
– Liberals value freedom more than order, but
not more than equality
– Conservatives value freedom more than
equality, but are willing to restrict it to
preserve social order
– Communitarians favor programs that support
both order and equality
Theories of Democracy
• Democracy
– Greek, demos (masses) and kratos
• Procedural democratic theory
– How gov makes decisions
– Participatory (direct) vs.
representative democracy (indirect)
• Substantive view of democracy
– Substance of gov policy
– Civil liberties, civil rights, social rights, and
economic rights
Majoritairian Model of Democracy
• The majoritarian model of democracy:
– Interprets government "by the people" as
government by the majority of people
– Assumes mass participation in politics is
required to ensure government accountability
– Assumes that the people will be well informed on
political issues and make thoughtful voting
– Encourages citizens to participate directly in
decision making through the institutional
mechanisms of the referendum and the
– Is this the United States?
The Pluralist Model of Democracy
• The pluralist model of democracy:
– Is based on the idea of pluralism, which
assumes that people in modern society
often form groupings along economic,
religious, ethnic, or cultural lines
– Involves people with similar interests form
interest groups to try to influence
government policymakers
• The pluralist model of democracy:
– Interprets government "by the
people" to mean government by
people operating through competing
interest groups
– Favors a decentralized and
organizationally complex
governmental structure that provides
these groups open access to public
officials who consider their views.
– Is this the United States
Elite Theory
• A small group of people makes
most important government
• Oligarchy, a system of goverment
in which power is concentrated in
the hands of a few
• Is this the United States?