Bell Ringer • What values do you believe all Americans share?
Political Culture and Ideology • Political culture is the widely shared beliefs, values, and norms about how citizens relate to government and to one another • We all believe in individual liberty and most fear strong centralized government • Not everyone believed in suffrage for all citizens—that is changing • Social capital is the discussion, compromise, and respect of difference that grows out of participation in democracy
Shared Values • Liberty • Equality • Political equality: equal protection under the law/voting • Equal opportunity • Individualism • Respect for the Common Person • Democratic Consensus-widespread agreement on fundamental principles of democratic freedom • Majority rule-governance based on majority • Popular sovereignty-power in the people
Shared Values • Justice and Rule of Law-laws are applied equally and justly • Five rules for Rule of Law • Generality • Prospectivity: can’t apply to the past, only present and future • Publicity: no secret laws • Authority: laws are made by people with lawmaking power • Due process: impartial and fair process
Shared Values • Patriotism, Optimism, Idealism • Nationalism is the idea that we are culturally, historically, linguistically, and/or politically a part of this country • “We are a different country than we were on September 10th: sadder and less innocent; stronger and more united; and in the face of ongoing threats, determined and courageous.” • Are we like this today? Why?
Shared Values • We are a land of opportunity and are optimistic despite flaws • Even when Americans are dissatisfied they still believe that they are better, stronger, and more virtuous than other nations • We are selfish and generous, we are cynical yet idealistic • Our support of human rights/needs is second to none
Where We Learn Political Culture • Political socialization is the process in which we develop our political attitudes, values, and beliefs • You begin this process with your family • School/peers-teaching civics • College/work-required to take POLS classes • Religious affiliation • Media
Assignment • Do some more research on what political leanings you have. • Look at: • www.gop.com • www.dnc.org • www.cpusa.org • www.sp-usa.org • www.lp.org • Pick one of these parties and write a summary (1 page) of why this group fits into your belief system • Due Monday
Bell Ringer • Give your opinions on the following concepts: • Why do some people not trust the government? • Is it important for citizens to feel like they have influence in the government? Why?
The Economic System of Political Culture • American values on liberty shape the free enterprise system • While people generally feel our economic system is fair, they do support government regulation of commerce to prevent corruption and monopolization
The Economic System of Political Culture • Americans generally support “equality of opportunity” • Liberal and far-left groups often support preferential treatment for traditionally under-represented or repressed groups • Most Americans would oppose caps on earning potential
The Economic System of Political Culture • Most Americans support programs to help those “truly in need,” but oppose assistance for those that can take care of themselves • Self-reliance and individual responsibility are the traditional cornerstones of the American economy
Comparing with Other Nations • Americans typically have a higher sense of civic duty and civic competence than other nations • Civic Duty is the belief that one has an obligation to participate in civic and political affairs (from HOAs to Presidential elections) • Civic Competence is the belief that people can affect government policies (look at efforts to overturn Obamacare or the opposition to Bush’s attempts to privatize Social Security)
Comparing with Other Nations • Economically, the US is much more tolerant of inequality than most other nations • Many Europeans support policies that lead to more “equality of results,” while Americans strive for “equality of opportunity” • Most Americans oppose socialist concepts that would cap income or institute wealth redistribution
The Civic Role of Religion • Americans are much more religious than any other Western democracy • A large majority of Americans believe in God • The US has higher church membership and attendance than European nations • Churches, synagogues, and mosques provide many charitable services and volunteer workers • Social activism often begins in the churches (Civil Rights Movement, etc)
Religion and Politics • Since Americans are so religious, our politicians have to be as well • Candidates will often tout their religious affiliations or beliefs • Religion plays a huge role in many political storms: gay marriage, abortion, science education, etc • Government support of faith-based charities can be controversial
The Source of Political Culture • American political culture is rooted in colonial religion and the Constitution • Puritan influence is still felt in our sense of self-reliance, responsibility, and work ethic • The Constitution has created a system that allows for the peaceful transition of power, even in controversial times (elections of 1800, 2000) • Americans tend to not view themselves through a lens of class consciousness like Europeans (remember the Monty Python clip?)
Culture Wars • There are two main camps in debates over American culture • Orthodox: Morality trumps self-expression, and is based in a set sense of what is right and wrong • Progressive: Individual freedom can trump moral limits, and morality must be viewed in context of current society
Mistrust of Government • Over the past few decades, Americans have lost trust in their government officials • Watergate, McCarthyism, Vietnam, Stagflation, Iran-Contra, Lewinsky, Iraq • People have little trust in government officials, but still believe in the constitutional system
Political Efficacy • Political Efficacy: One’s capacity to understand and influence political events • Internal Efficacy: One’s ability to understand the political system and current political events • External Efficacy: One’s belief in how responsive government is to their needs or desires
Political Efficacy • Americans’ sense of efficacy has been declining • More people believe politics is too complicated or boring (internal efficacy) • More people are becoming frustrated with a perceiving sense of uncaring or unresponsiveness from the government (external efficacy)
Political Efficacy • People believe the government has become too big and pervasive to meet the needs of individuals • Ironically, people have been calling for more government services and agencies
Political Tolerance • Americans have become much more tolerant of opposing viewpoints in recent decades • Support for abortion, gay rights, universal suffrage, etc., would not have even been discussed prior to WWII • Radical groups, such as communists, have come to enjoy more freedom of expression even as their influence has dwindled