American Political Culture Fitz-AP Gov
Warm-up: In what ways do Americans differ from Europeans? (stereotypes encouraged)
What is political culture? • Our beliefs, attitudes and opinions about how government OUGHT to operate.
Liberty • PROBABLY THE MOST SIGNIFICANT • PRIDE IN BEING “AMERICAN” • FEAR OF THINGS “UNAMERICAN” • PEOPLE SHOULD DO HAVE AS MUCH FREEDOM AS LONG AS THEY DON’T INTERFERE WITH OTHERS FREEDOM
Political Equality • “One day the President/Queen/ was driving his car to a meeting. Because he was late, he was driving very fast. The police stopped the car. Finish the story:” • President would NOT be reprimanded • Queen would NOT be punished • Most likely to say president would be fined or ticketed
Political Equality • NOT ECONOMIC EQUALITY • “ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE”
Capitalism • Is the same as democracy in most peoples’ minds. • Competition but fair competition. • Belief in meritocracy. • Accept some inequality There is only one social responsibility of business - to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits without deception or fraud. - Milton Friedman Agree?
False consciousness: everyone THINKS they are middle class PROBLEM • Compare with Great Britain • Pride in being a part of the labor class
Democracy • LIMITED GOVERNMENT • OFFICIALS SHOULD BE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PEOPLE
Centralization of power • Federal system exacerbated by Vietnam, Watergate. • Americans dislike “Washington” but like their Representative (“I’m fighting against Washington!”
Individualism • Rugged individualism vs. collectivism
Equality v. liberty: • Real conflict= liberty and capitalism vs. equality associated with democracy.
Core Questions: • Can people participate in democratic society on equal basis if economically disadvantaged? • If not, to what extent should government intervene to mitigate this and attempt to even things out more?
Civic Duty (more talk than action) • Jury duty • Ignorant of political affairs • Will go overseas to fight for democracy but neglect areas of need Myth Reality
Dominant Aspects of PoliticalCulture continued • Civic Duty (more talk than action) • still fairly ignorant of political affairs • Will go overseas to fight for democracy
Political efficacy • Internal efficacy: • Ability tounderstand political affairs. • Fairly stable since the 1950s. • Far behind other Western nations
Political efficacy 2) External efficacy: one’s belief that one can have an impact upon government.
How do we stack up to other Western nations? Political pragmatism. Lots of independent voters. “Vote for the person, not the party.” However, those who are ideological are more polarized than ever.
How do we stack up to other Western nations? • Justice. Belief in the rule of law. • “Government is of laws, not men.” • Increasing distrust of the • Federal Courts emerging. • Roe v. Wade • Bush v. Gore
More on individualism • assertive & participatory. • • more willing to buck • trends and disrupt the status quo. • • individualism/competition • • More religious. • Both • liberals and conservatives • will use • religion to promote political agenda.
Americans… • vote less, but participate in other ways at local levels. • have more faith in their institutions than other nations Why?
Progressive • Personal freedom more important than tradition • changing rules based on circumstances of modern life • main-line Protestants and those with no strong religious beliefs; secular
Orthodox • Morality important than self-expression with fixed • God-given laws • Orthodox associated with fundamentalist Protestants.