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POL101Y - Lec01 - War, Democracy and and Peace

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Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

130909 POL100 Aristotle : man is by nature a political animal ..and he who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god” Politics is interested in you. You might not be. Politics is about power, justice, violence and peace. Knowledge. Ignorance. Charisma. Legality. Big Themes of Class : Democracy dictatorship, war and peace -The point of social science is to try to make sense of the world we live in -How do we make sense of it? By simplifying, by focusing on what matters and ignoring what doesn‟t. That way the world is less scary. Democracy and War -Is the world becoming more democratic and more peaceful? Maybe Summer 1989 – Berlin wall falls. End of communism in Europe.  -Francis Fukuyama : World historical importance. It‟s an end of history.  -Hegel (German philosopher) : History is understandable. It‟s not just one thing happening after another. There is a structure. Thus, beginning-middle-end. History of Human Consciousness  History of philosophy  Not kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, or celebrities: they steal ideas, big ideas.  When you see a war, what you are seeing is eople dying but what‟s really happening out there is a clash of ideas.  Industry, economy, religious practices are material manifestation but what are really going on are the ideas that inform those practices. Ideas and the organization of human society  Really big ideas are those that organize human society.  Ancient society.  Medieval society. (Church, religious ideas)  Liberal Democratic state. (individual rights. Elections. Tolerance. Rules) Hegel and Liberal State  Hegel : Germany is going to lose to French(Liberal state represented. Fine Idea of human history)  Fukuyama : Big story is over (There are no more big idea) Liberal staet was the ultimate CNN Headlines 3 years ago: Are they important? Is that history? Do I need to now all of this? No! What‟s essential?  Too often the unyielding attention on the narrow, the irrelevant, the vapid is the preoccupation of the human mind. It is theory alone that helps us transcend this poverty of the human condition – Hegel, Philosophy of the Right Fukuyama : “Hegel was right but he was a bit off. (by 150 years) There will still be significant challengers to liberalism.  Not 1806 but 1989. LIBERAL DEMOCRACY the last man standing. (No alternative)  Big challengers to liberal democracy had been defeated in realm of ideas (fascism and communism) – THE REAL REALM.  World is becoming democratic and peaceful despite remaining dictatorships, wars, etc. (These ideas have already lost) CHALLENGERS  North Korea is a joke. (Rules by fear. Not Conviction) Not serious  Comunism istill there but outside of Cuba, North Korea or the steps of Sidney Smith Hall, nobody willing to die for it or betray their country. POWERLESS IDEA!  Christian, Jewish, Islamic, fundamentalism: yes they are there but they are not universal and therefore not a challenge. Where does that leave us?  World of peace , trade, democracy  No catastrophe. NO MORE FUNDAMENTAL CHALLENGE  We should look for big ideological challengers Clash of Civilizations An examination of Huntington‟s arguments Sam Huntington :  End of Cold War : What would the world look like next?
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