POL201Y1 Lecture Notes - Primitive Communism, For Marx, Feudalism

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1 Mar 2011
January 10 – Was Democracy Just A Moment?
The End of History and the Lastman – Book written at end of Soviet Union. Suggested that we
have reached the end of humans’ ideological evolution. He suggests that democracy is the
highest level of human political development.
Marx’s Teleological Theory of History
Historical Progress:
Primitive Communism (hunter-gatherer) -> Slave Society (beginning of class society) ->
Feudalism -> Capitalism -> Socialism -> Communism: Final Stage
For Marx the highest achievement of mankind, and is what history is building toward.
Fukuyama’s (teleological) argument:
Democracy is the highest point of human political organization; the endpoint of history
Kaplan’s Argument:
!Democracy is not necessarily good
!Real democracy is hardly widespread
!Democracy is becoming less democratic (not here to stay)
1. Democracies are value neutral – If the will of the majority is good, then the outcome will
be good, and viceversa. Examples are Hitler and Mussolini. Translates the will of the
majority. But he uses a thin definition of democracy where it is strictly a electoral version
of democracy, he uses this because it is the model used by international institutions.
2. “Democracy emerges successfully only as a capstone to other social and economic
achievements.” Literary and education. Democracy emerged in Europe because the
society reach a level of sophistication. A democratic public should be informed, decisions
should be informed. Literacy and education have been used to limit the franchise,
once you start down this path, saying that the population should be educated in
order to get the vote. This was used in the USA south to limit the Black vote. By
drawing this connection, you are limiting the franchise to the wealthy, educated, ect.
The poor are likely to have different interests to those that are wealthy, you are
making the case that their interests are not valid because they are illiterate, you
exclude segments of society. Ugly history for how this argument has been used.
3. Middle class creates social stability, which is good for democracy. It does this by begin
content with the status quo. They own houses, and have families, and are not interested in
revolution. They care about mortgages and minivans. The things that make the middle
class stable are important for democracy.
4. A Western Enlightenment tradition. The Enlightenment took place in the 18th century, it
was a movement against the church, no longer acting through the will of God, but a
movement toward reason. Questioning of traditional institutions. If your country was not
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