DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL
RELATIONS Posc 150
A CASE FOR GOVERNMENT
2. Question: how much government?
1. Some possibilities
C. Being a rational human
D. “Tragedy of the Commons”
1. Three among many, many developments that greatly affect politics and
2. èGrowth of the have nots and a frustrated middle class.
1. TDespite growth in government wealthy as wealthy as ever.
2. TStagnating wages and family incomes.
3. TPersistent poverty.
3. èEthnic diversity.
1. T Hispanics rapidly becoming the largest minority.
2. What does this mean for traditional political alliances and the
1. The shifting balance between production of information versus
material goods creates imbalances and especially anxieties in labor
2. Disruptions in labor markets.
III. HOW MUCH GOVERNMENT:
A. In this age of rapid and far-reaching social, economic, and political transformations
a key question is how much government is needed and consistent withAmericans’hopes
1.âInterpretation: a large, active national government is desirable and
necessary. B. Other answers:
i. Justification for government is not self-evident. Government power
(that is, legitimate coercion) runs counter to nature.
2. èNight watchman state
i. Aminimal position: the only role of government is to protect natural
ii. èThere is no such thing as social and economic entitlements.
3. èLibertarian position Posc 150
Class 2 Case for Government
i. No laws against drugs, abortion, gambling, prostitution. 1) People must be responsible
ii. Abolish income tax.
iii. No censorship; total privacy.
iv. Cut government to bones and even more.
v. See Libertarian party web site: http://www.lp.org/lp.html
4. èClassical liberal position
i. Government is a necessary evil.
ii. Less government the better.
iii. Low taxes, reduce regulation, states’rights
iv. See Cato Institute (http://www.cato.org/)
i. The classical definition: government ownership of means of
ii. See, for instance, the Marxism page:
iii.èHardly any one believes in classical socialism these days. 1) è Unlike Europe there
has never been a real socialist
movement in the United States.
i. Democracy and capitalism require maintenance
ii. Political and economic power should be distributed as equitably as
iii. èEconomic and pol