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Chapter 1: Chapter 1: Dilemmas of Democracy - Chapter 1 Lecture Notes

Chapter One
1. Describe the impact of globalization upon American Government, politics, and
2. Understand the three purposes of government - maintaining order, providing
public goods, and promoting equality.
3. Apply the basic framework of the text as they relate to (1) what government
tries to do and (2) how it decides to do it.
4. Identify the critical values, conflicts, and political ideologies that affect the
decisions and policies made by the American government.
5. Identify the criteria that can be used to determine whether our government is
6. Classify the four major ideologies found in the American experience and
culture: liberal, conservative, libertarian and communitarian ideologies.
7. To compare and contrast procedural democracy and substantive democracy.
8. Identify the challenges of establishing and maintaining true democratic
governments around the world.
The 8
edition of Janda, Berry, Goldman & Hula introduces the student to the
impact of globalization upon national sovereignty and international law. The authors
ask students to begin considering the impact of American politics and foreign policy
upon foreign governments. To fully appreciate the impact of the American
government, the authors present a clearly defined framework of analysis to address
two questions: (1) How does government serves its citizens and (2) What are the
critical values, conflicts, and political ideologies that affect the decisions and policies
made by government. The first chapter clearly defines primary democratic values
and the resultant political ideologies that emphasize order, liberty and equality.
These ideologies include anarchism, libertarianism, capitalism, liberalism,
conservatism, socialism, and totalitarianism. The debate between procedural and
more substantive models of democracy are described and defined to explain three
fundamental paradigms of American politics: majoritarian model, pluralist model
and the elite theory model. The authors conclude that all governments, especially
newly democratic systems, face challenges to their system to maintain true
democratic rule.
I. The Globalization of American Government
A. Government is defined as the legitimate use of force within specified geographical boundaries to
control human behavior.
1. The term government also refers to the body authorized to
exercise that power.
B. National sovereignty is a political entitys externally recognized right to exercise final authority
over its affairs.
1. Simply put, each national government has the right to
govern its people as it wishes, without interference from other
2. National sovereignty, however, is threatened under
C. The U.S. government is worried about the trend of holding nations accountable to international
1. In 2002, the United States annulled its signature to the 1998
treaty to create an International Criminal Court that would
define and try crimes against humanity.
2. Should the United States be above international law if its
sovereignty is threatened by nations that dont
share our values?
II. The Purposes of Government
A. Throughout history, government has served two major purposes:
maintaining order and providing public goods. More recently, some
governments have pursued a third and more controversial purpose:
promoting equality.
B. Maintaining order is the oldest objective of government.
1. Establishing the rule of law to preserve life and to protect
C. Classical Theories on the Order and the State
1. Hobbess believed government should provide peoples
2. Other theorists believed that government protected order by
preserving private property.
3. In Two Treatises on Government (1690), John Locke wrote
that the protection of life, liberty, and property was the basic
objective of government.
4. Locke strongly influenced the Declaration of Independence.
D. Marxist Theory and the Order of the State?
1. The German philosopher Karl Marx (18181883) rejected the
private ownership of property used in the production of goods or
2. Marxs ideas form the basis of communism, a complex theory
that gives ownership of all land and productive facilities to the
E. Providing Public Goods
1. Using the governments coercive powers to tax citizens, funds may
be spent on public goods like education, sanitation, and parks.
2. Benefit every citizen, but are not likely produced by the voluntary
acts of individuals.
3. Some are politically controversial or even unacceptable in the
United States. For example, running railroads, operating coal
mines and generating electric power.
F. Promoting Equality
1. Has not always been a major objective of government, but
gained prominence in the twentieth century.
2. The key issue is the governments role in redistributing
income, that is, taking from the wealthy to give to the poor.
a. Charity has a strong basis in Western religious
b. Use of the State to redistribute income was originally
a radical idea set forth by Marx.
c. Over time, taking from the rich to help the needy has
become a legitimate function of most governments.
3. Since the Great Depression, the governments role in
redistributing income to promote economic equality has been a
major source of policy debate in the United States.
III. A Conceptual Framework for Analyzing Government
A. Citizens have very different views on how vigorously they want
government to maintain order, provide public goods, and promote
B. To understand government and the political process, one must
recognize the basic tradeoffs and values they entail.
1. A concept is a generalized idea of a class of items or
thoughts that groups various events, objects, or qualities under
a common classification or label.
2. The framework consists of five concepts that figure
prominently in political analysis.
C. The five concepts can be organized into two groups:
1. Concepts that identify the values pursued by government:
a. Freedom
b. Order
c. Equality
2. Concepts that describe the models of democratic
a. Majoritarian democracy
b. Pluralist democracy
D. The concepts of Freedom, Order, and Equality
1. Freedom can be used in two major senses: Freedom of and
freedom from.
a. Freedom of is the absence of constraints on
b. Freedom from suggests immunity from something
undesirable or negative, such as fear and want.
c. When the authors use freedom, they mean freedom
2. Social order refers to established patterns of authority in
society and to traditional modes of behavior.
a. In the narrow sense, order refers to the protection of
life and protecting property rights.
b. In the broad sense, order means preserving the social
c. Police power is a governments authority to
safeguard residents safety, health, welfare, and morals.
d. Most governments are inherently conservative and
resist social change. Societies can change social patterns
gradually through the legal process.
3. Equality is used in different ways to support different
a. Political equality in elections is defined as: each
citizen has one and only one vote. This is basic to
democratic theory.
b. Social equality or the equality in wealth, education,
and status is necessary for true political equality.
c. Equality of opportunity means that each person has
the same chance to succeed in life.
d. True social equality means equality of
outcomes, where society must redistribute wealth and
status so that economic and social equality are achieved.
e. The concept of government-supported rightsthe
idea that every citizen is entitled to certain benefits of
government, that government should guarantee its
citizens adequate (if not equal) housing, employment,
medical care, and income. If citizens are entitled to
government benefits as a matter of right, government
efforts to promote equality of outcome become
E. Two Dilemmas of Government: The original and modern
1. The Original Dilemma: Freedom Versus Order. The
conflict between freedom and order originates in the very
meaning ofgovernment as the legitimate use of force to control
human behavior.
a. How much freedom a citizen must surrender to
government is a dilemma that has occupied philosophers
for hundreds of years.
b. In a democracy, policy choices hinge on how much
citizens value freedom and how much they value order.
2. The Modern Dilemma: Freedom Versus
Equality. Popular opinion has it that freedom and equality go
hand in hand. In reality, these two values usually clash when
governments enact policies to promote social equality.
a. If social equality is a relatively recent government
objective, then, deciding between policies that promote
equality at the expense of freedom is the modern
dilemma of politics.
3. The clash between freedom and order is obvious, but the
clash between freedom and equality is more subtle.
a. When forced to choose, Americans are far more likely
to choose freedom over equality.
F. Ideology and the Scope of Government: Americans hold an
assortment of values and beliefs that produce contradictory opinions
on government policies.
1. Political ideology: a consistent set of values and beliefs
about the proper purpose and scope of government.
a. How far should government go to maintain order,
provide public goods, and promote equality?
2. Totalitarianism is the belief that government should
have unlimited power. All sectors of society are controlled
a. Business
b. Labor
c. Arts
d. Religions
e. Sports
3. Socialism is an economic system based on Marxist theory.
a. Under socialism (and communism), the scope of
government extends to ownership or control of the basic
industries that produce goods and services
(communications, heavy industry, transportation).
b. Socialism allows more room than under communism for
the private ownership of productive capacity.
c. In theory, the state would wither away under
Communism, but in practice Communist governments
tended toward totalitarianism, controlling through
economic, political, and social life via a dominant party
d. Democratic socialism practiced by socialist parties
and governments in Europe. They guarantee civil
liberties, free elections and competitive political parties.
e.g. Britain, Sweden, France and Germany.
4. In contrast to socialism and Communism, capitalism supports
free enterpriseprivate businesses operating without
government regulations.
a. According to Milton Friedman, free enterprise is
necessary for free politics.
b. Both liberals and conservatives embrace capitalism, but
they differ on the nature and amount of government
intervention in the economy that is necessary or
5. Libertarianism opposes all government action except that
which is necessary to protect life and property.
a. All social programs that provide clothing, food, and
shelter are outside the proper scope of government.
b. Libertarians oppose all government action except that
which is necessary to protect life and property; advocates
of economic policy called laissez faire, or let people do
as they please.
6. Anarchism stands opposite totalitarianism on the political
continuum. Anarchists oppose all government in any form.
a. As a political philosophy, anarchism values absolute
freedom above all else.
b. Like totalitarianism, it is not a popular philosophy, but it
does have adherents on the political fringes.
7. Liberals and Conservatives: Do you promote equality over
order or promote order over equality?
a. Liberals are willing to use government to promote
equality but not order. Generally favor generous
government support for education, wildlife protection,
public transportation, and a whole range of social
b. Conservatives want smaller government budgets and
fewer government programs. They support free enterprise
and argue against government job programs, regulation
of business, and legislation of working conditions and
wage rates. Prefer to use government to promote order
rather than equality.
c. In other areas, liberal and conservative ideologies are
less consistent.
Conservatives support the original purpose
of government: to maintain social order. Willing to
use the coercive power of the state to force citizens
to be orderly, e.g. traditional social roles for
Liberals are less likely than conservatives to
want to use government power to maintain order.
Do not shy away from using government coercion,
but they use it for a different purpose: to promote
equality, e.g. homosexual civil rights to marry.
G. A Two-Dimensional Classification of Ideologies: To classify
liberal and conservative ideologies more accurately, we have to
incorporate the values of freedom, order, and equality into the
1. The four types are defined by the values they favor in
resolving the two major dilemmas of government: how much
freedom should be sacrificed in the pursuit of order and
2. Libertarians value freedom more than order and equality.
They want minimal government intervention in both economic
and social spheres. Oppose affirmative action, laws that restrict
sexually explicit material, etc.
3. Liberals value freedom more than order, but not more than
equality. Oppose laws that ban sexually explicit publications but
support affirmative action.
4. Conservatives value freedom more than equality but would
restrict freedom to preserve social order. Oppose affirmative
action but favor laws that restrict sexually explicit materials.
5. Communitarians are a group that values both equality and
order more than freedom. Its members support both affirmative
action laws and laws that restrict pornography.
a. Rejects both the liberal-conservative classification and
the libertarian argument that individuals should be left
on their own to pursue their choices, rights, and self-
b. Like liberals, communitarians believe that there is a role
for government in helping the disadvantaged.
c. Believe that government should be used to promote
moral values preserving the family through more
stringent divorce laws and limiting the dissemination of
d. Communitarians favor government programs that
promote both order and equality, somewhat in keeping
with socialist theory.
6. Libertarians and communitarians are consistent in their
attitudes toward the scope of government, whereas liberals and
conservatives, in contrast, favor or oppose government activity
depending on its purpose.
7. Large groups of Americans fall into each of the four
ideological categories.
IV. The American Governmental Process: Majoritarian or Pluralist?
In the introduction to this section, the authors use the example of the
Democratic and Republican partys conflicting views on what the role of the
government ought to be in the wake of the broad economic downturn in
2008. The question at hand is should Congress follow the president, who was
elected by a majority of Americans, or is majority opinion a blunt and
imprecise instrument which should not be given a great deal of weight?
A. The Theory of Democratic Government
1. Who should govern?
a. The people too simple an answer.
B. The Procedural View of Democracy
1. Procedural democratic theory sets forth principles that describe
how government should make decisions. These principles
address three distinct questions:
2. Who should participate in decision making?
a. Universal participation
3. How much should each participants vote count?
a. All votes count equally political equality.
4. How many votes are needed to reach a decision?
Majority rule a group should decide to do what the majority
of its participants want
C. A Complication: Direct Versus Indirect Democracy
1. Participatory or direct democracy occurs in simple and
small societies in which all members of a group or community
meet to make decisions.
2. Framers of the U.S. Constitution instituted representative
a. system in which citizens participate in government by
electing public officials to make government decisions on
their behalf.
b. The United States adheres to the principles of
universal participation, political equality, and majority
rule within the context of representative democracy.
3. Responsiveness means that elected representatives should
follow the general contours of public opinion as they formulate
complex pieces of legislation.
D. The Substantive View of Democracy
1. Substantive democratic theory focuses on the substance of
government policies, not on the procedures followed in making
those policies.
2. Argues that in a democratic government, certain principles
must be embodied in government policies.
3. The core of the substantive principles of American democracy
is embedded in the Bill of Rights and other amendments to the
U.S. Constitution.
a. Government policies should guarantee civil
liberties (freedom of behavior) and civil rights (powers or
privileges that government may not arbitrarily deny to
b. Agreement among substantive theorists breaks down
when discussion moves from civil rights to social
rights (adequate health care, quality education, decent
housing) and economic rights (private property, steady
E. Procedural Democracy Versus Substantive Democracy
1. Substantive view of democracy does not provide clear,
precise criteria that allow us to determine whether a
government is democratic.
2. The procedural viewpoint presents specific criteria for
democratic government, though those criteria can produce
undesirable social policies that prey on minorities.
a. Minority rights
3. Authors favor compromise between the two.
Procedural has a serious drawback in that it allows a
democratic government to enact policies that can violate the
substantive principles of democracy. Thus, pure procedural
democracy should be diluted so that minority rights and civil
liberties are guaranteed as part of the structure of government.
F. Institutional Models of Democracy
1. The Majoritarian Model of Democracy - relies on the
public opinions intuitive notion of what is fair. It interprets
government by the people as government by the majority of
the people.
a. The popular election of government officials is the
primary mechanism for democratic government.
b. Citizens are expected to control their representatives
behavior by choosing wisely in the first place and by
reelecting or voting out public officials according to their
c. Elections are also the means for deciding government
Referendum: election on a policy issue
Initiative: policy question is placed upon the
ballot by the action of citizens circulating petitions
and gathering a required number of signatures.
Recall: special election for an up or down
vote on a sitting governor or state judge.
d. In the United States, no provisions exist for referenda
at the federal level
2. An Alternative Model: Pluralist Democracy
a. The pluralist model of democracy interprets
government by the people to mean government by
people operating through competing interest groups.
b. According to this model, democracy exists when many
(plural) organizations operate separately from the
government, press their interests on the government, and
even challenge the government.
c. When an organized group seeks to influence
government policy, it is called an interest group.
d. A decentralized, complex government structure offers
the access and openness necessary for pluralist
e. Interest groups in Washington are thriving, and the
rise of many citizen groups has broadened representation
beyond traditional business, labor, and professional
f. Political scientist Robert Putnam has documented
declining participation in a wide variety of organizations.
3. The Majoritarian Model Versus the Pluralist Model
a. In majoritarian democracy, the mass public, not
interest groups, controls government actions.
Citizens must be knowledgeable about
government and willing to participate in the
electoral process.
Elections harness the power of the majority
to make decisions.
Conclusive elections needed for majoritarian
Centralized structure required for
majoritarian model.
Cohesive parties needed to provide clear
alternative sets of policies in the majoritarian
b. Pluralism does not demand much knowledge from
Requires specialized knowledge only from
groups of citizens, in particular their leaders.
Seeks to limit majority action so that interest
groups can be heard.
Relies on a decentralized government
structure that prevents majority rule.
Pluralism allows for minorities to rule.
4. An Undemocratic Model: Elite Theory
a. According to elite theory, important government
decisions are made by an identifiable and stable minority
that shares certain characteristics, usually vast wealth
and business connections.
b. According to this theory, the United States is not a
democracy but an oligarchy. Voting and elections make
it appear like the public has power and control.
c. The powerful few in society manage to define the
issues and constrain the outcomes of government
decisions to suit their own interests. Clearly this theory
describes a government that operates in an undemocratic
d. Elite theory remains part of the debate about the
nature of American government and is forcefully argued
by some severe critics of the American political system.
e. The authors endorse pluralist democracy as a more
accurate description than elitism in American politics
without believing that all groups are equally well
5. Elite Theory versus Pluralist Theory: The key difference
is durability of the ruling minority.
a. Pluralist theory does not define government conflict in
terms of a minority versus the majority. Instead, it sees
many minorities vying with one another in each policy
area. Pluralist democracy makes a virtue of the struggle
between competing interests. Argues for government that
accommodates this struggle and channels the result into
government action. So long as all groups are able to
participate vigorously in the decision-making process, the
process is democratic.
V. Democracy and Globalization
One research institute has found a global trend toward democratization in
every decade since 1975. Democratization is a difficult process. The authors
use the difficulties of Afghanistan with the Taliban as an example.
VI. American Democracy: More Pluralist Than Majoritarian
A. What kind of democracy is practiced in the United States?
The authors argue that American democracy leans more toward the
pluralist model than majoritarian.
1. Imagine yourself as a delegate to the 1787 Philadelphia convention and are
asked the following question: Which value mattered most to you and the
delegates at the constitutional convention: social order, political liberty or
economic equality? Why?
2. Which ideological type are you: a communitarian, conservative, libertarian, or
liberal? Use the exact questions on abortion, affirmative action and immigration
that are in the text to help you figure this out. Students can use the political
ideology quiz found online at