November 4, 2013
Hawaii The Tea Party
- First “discovered” by Captain - Mobilizes American who oppose
James Cook. increases in government
- Islands united in 1810 – spending.
monarchy adopted a flag. 8 major - Conservative group promoting
islands. reduction in government and
- Tsar Alexander became government spending on policy.
protectorat until 1873. The - Advocate policies that reduce the
French then became involved. national debt (17 trillion and still
- United States moved in after the growing).
French conflict, leading to the - Favour free trade, lower taxes,
reciprocity treaty – promoted deregulation of the economy. Big
sugar cane exchange agreements. vs. Small.
Hawaii gave them Pearl Harbor in - Members: 15 000 chapters in the
exchange; Hawaii was US. 18% of Americans, majority
acknowledged as a sovereign white males over 45; Republican.
nation. - No figurehead or national leader.
- Many native Hawaiians opposed
the US army having a permanent
presence in their country. A
provisional government (a militia
group) took over. The Queen
resigned, and investigation
- Report by President Cleveland:
US had no wrong-doing in the
overthrow of the monarchy.
- 1897: McKinley attempted to sign
a treaty. Japan sent warships to
Hawaii to oppose the annexation
- 1898: Officially the territory of
- 1900: Territorial government was
- Pearl Harbor: 1941.
- Under Marshal Law until the end
of the war.
- 50 state in 1959. Defined
o The aggregation of the views of individuals in society. The collective thought;
common thought. Political leaders have to listen if it is to be a legitimate
o Is the public smart enough?
o Persistent concern.
o Should public opinion inform government decisions?
Two Views of the Public
o Ignorant Masses (Walter Lippmann)
o Average citizens
Were informed about celebrity gossip, were not familiar with
policy and government activity, but have an opinion on
everything. (ACA = Affordable Care Act)
o Founding Fathers
One direct vote for public.
Tyranny of the masses.
o Lippmann’s Trio
People cannot give an informed opinion to government officials. However,
it is not possible for people (even a single person) to be informed all the
time. This is limited ability of individuals is referred to rational ignorance.
1. Interest and Ignorance
o Cursory knowledge
2. Expertise and Intricacy
o Political amateurs
o Complex issues
o Rational ignorance
3. Irrelevant and Fleeting
o The “given moment” – public opinion should only extend as far
as current issues.
o The American Voter
o “Most people don’t have real opinions at all.”
o Different wording, different answer
o Ideological inconsistency.
o Rational Public
o The public is rational
o A sensible guide to governance
o 3 pillars
Collective Opinion: Public can sift through good and bad,
shared values and beliefs, ignorance is lost. The public
CAN decide what they want – the contradictory
individuals disappear amongst the larger group. Information Shortcuts: “Cues” (we draw about a person,
situation, etc. from our everyday experiences, and hold
onto them, and form a story out of them); from personal
experience. These cues are informative enough to bring
together a reasonable opinion on something.
Inattentive Officials: Public opinion useful only when
heard; not an ignorant public; corrupt elites (only
listening to interest groups). Interest groups have more
access to info than the public does. Therefore it is an issue
of access. The public DOES have rational views, and the
government should pay closer attention.
Can these two be reconciled?
o James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of the Crowds
o Individual v. group
o E.g. Jury, ox’s weight.
o Avoids group think.
o A collection of random individuals avoids “group think” – this is a
problem in public policy, because a group with the same background
has a shared bias/value.
Should public opinion inform government decisions?
Take into account? Yes. Base decisions solely on public opinion? No.
Issue-dependent. Which people/professionals are more informed about
the issue – what are the different interests that people can have in the
issue (e.g. Marijuana legalization: some want it for