Lecture 2: Dye, Ch 2 (pp24-42) Political Culture: Ideas in Conflict -According to Dye (p 25), political culture “refers to widely shared ideas about who should govern, for what ends, and by what means” -Obviously there isn’t always agreement on those ideas and many of these values (ie shared ideas about what is good and valuable) and actual conditions don’t always match up According to Dye (p 26), “no political value has been more widely held in the US than individual liberty”… In large part, our early history was shaped by the ideas of Classical liberalism, which asserts the worth and dignity of the individual. There are two main components to Classical Liberalism: a. Political liberty -founders mostly adopted the language of Locke (ie on natural rights & social contracts) b. Economic freedom -Characterized by capitalism (Dye, p 26) and the right to own property In the early 1800s, a visiting French historian, Alexis de Tocqueville, identified equality as a central American value that distinguished the new nation from European countries. American views of certain types of equality Political Equality (legal v. political equality) Equality of Opportunity (elimination of artificial barriers) Equality of Results (= sharing of wealth) Fairness (valued but no shared agreement) According to Dye (p30), conflict in society is generated more often by inequalities among people than by hardship or deprivation. Question: how fair or equitably is wealth distributed within the US capitalistic economic system? Here are a few ways of measuring wealth…Where would you prefer to live based on these statistics? As a poor person? As a wealthy person? The essence of the American dream: that the opportunity exists for every individual to move up the class ranks. Question: how mobile really IS America? What does Herrnstein & Murray’s “Bell Curve” show? Bell Curve: Herrnstein & Murray argue that general intelligence largely determines success in life, esp. in an “information society”; also argue 60% of intellect is inherited and that programs to assist the “underprivileged” are useless/counterproductive…what does this have to do with social mobility and the possibility to rise? “E Pluribus Unum” (from many, one) Question: How are we one and how are we as yet still many disparate groups? Does EPU still mean anything in 2010? -In what ways is the population of the United States changing? -Implications of these trends on politics? The United States is one of the most religious societies in the world. Over 90 % of Americans report in polls that they believe in God. Over 80% say that prayer is part of their daily lives, and 60% say that they attend church at least once a month. Over 80% claim some religious affiliation. Evangelical Protestants are the largest single group and the fastest-growing. The following pie chart gives a visual representation of this.