GOV 1080 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Anti-Federalism, True Justice, Federalist No. 10

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26 Jun 2018
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Gov 1080: American Political Thought Lecture Notes
Lecture 1: 1/23/17:
Illuminate the distinction between constitutional democracy and popular democracy
Democracies were seen as negative early on
Democracies are about mediocrity
So many complaints about government
oElected officials are not like the people who vote for them
The founders were worried about the kind of leaders he people would be attracted to
Thought that people would be led to electing demagogues
Who is good at figuring out what people want?
oTeachers have to be demagogues
Have to have some sense of what is enjoyable and interesting
oBusiness/marketing
oLawyers are the best at this
A trial lawyer is a real lawyer
Get into court rooms and make arguments
The jury is the demos
oEntertainers provide what the people want as well
Appealing to a mass market
Jay Leno is a good example
Demagoguism can become quite divisive
oSoft/hard demagoguery
Demagoguism can disempower the people for the sake of elevating the demagogue
The way to neutralize demagoguery is to not have a popular democracy
oNeed to have constitutional democracy
Constitutions formalize politics
oSo as to bring out the best in the people
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Formal politics make people conscious of itself
oSimilar to how formal clothes make people more self-conscious
Lecture 2: 1/25/17:
The liberal community and moral community
The one thing worth remembering: difference between constitutional and popular democracy
Still staying at the big picture level
Who are we?
oWe are: anyone who wants to understand American politics
READING by Hartz is the most relevant reading to today
oThe Liberal Tradition in America
oAll Americans are liberal according to him
oArgument: what defines us is our agreement with the liberal idea
o“We hold these truths to be self-evident”
oThe holding part of that is significant
o
We are what we believe
oWhat holds us together is what we believe, not what we love or the language we speak
and such
Liberalism is a partisan creed
But he’s referring to Philosophic Liberalism
o17th and 18th centuries is where this took hold
We are all Lockean Liberals according to Hartz
oWhat is fascinating is that Americans did not think their way into Locke
oThey were Lockean before they were alive!
oWe are DOGMATIC, THOUGHTLESS, INTOLERANT Lockeans
When you are something, you have it in a dogmatic quality
Lockean Liberals
oNatural, Free, and Equal
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oNatural Rights
oGovernment and society is made by people volunteering to keep order
oLimited Government
oRight to Revolution
o(This is the whole book in five points)
To really be a Lockean, you need to know the Natives of North America were largely
exterminated by European whites
Our history shows we are racists, sexists, nationalists; and sometimes liberals
Hartz didn’t necessarily get it all right
To be a real Lockean liberal:
oMust have a successful social order fueled by nothing but the voluntary action of free
individuals
oPeople have the right to self-preservation
Lecture 3: 1/30/17:
Philosophic liberalism is sourced from Locke
Americans take liberalism to be the whole truth about politics
oNo other partly true way of answering the political questions
oDogmatic
Americans view human rights as universal
“palpable truth” the Rites of Man
Everyone is a liberal in America, it is just the technique that is used which is contested
Muirhead believes Hartz is right
There’s a belief that in order for society to get the job done, there is someone who needs to be
coerced to do it
People who are cooperative are more free
oFree and equal people will work
Lecture 4: 2/1/17: The Lawyerly Revolution and Natural Rights
The liberal idea is what unifies us
oHartz
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