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Chapter 2

DVM2350 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Scientific Method, Conservatism In The United States, Jeremy Bentham


Department
International Development and Globalization
Course Code
DVM2350
Professor
Tamara Kotar
Chapter
2

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THE SPECTRUM OF POLITICAL ATTITUDES
concepts of political change and political values must be discussed in relation to:
1. RADICAL (people who find themselves extremely disappointed with the status
quo)
2. LIBERAL (considerably less dissatisfied, but still wishing to change the system
significantly)
3. MODERATE (find little wrong with the existing society)
4. CONSERVATIVE (reluctance to change)
5. REACTIONARY (reject current institutions and modern values)
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UNDERSTANDING THE SPECTRUM:
!
LEFT SIDE: political liberty, social change, human equality, human rights
RIGHT SIDE: revere authority, tradition, elitism, property rights
in politics, the term radical means an extremist of the left but not of the right
!
CHANGE, OR POLICY OPTIONS:
people at each point on the political spectrum have an attitude about changing the existing
political system (status quo) by adopting certain policies or by pursuing certain courses of
action
political change is endemic to any society
with reference to the spectrum of political attitudes, we must actually learn 4 things about
change or policy option desired"
!
1. DIRECTION OF CHANGE:
forward or back in which a proposed change would carry society - is change progressive or
retrogressive
progressive change means a change from the status quo to something new and different in
that society
retrogressive change refers to a return to policy or insinuation that has been used by society
in the past
conservatives are progressive in that, although they don’t want a great deal of change, the
change they will allow is a transformation from what currently exists to that which the
society has yet to experience
only the reactionary wants a change from the status quo
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Radical
Moderate
Liberal
Conservative
Reactionary
progressive
change
regressive
change
status quo ——>

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THE SPECTRUM OF POLITICAL ATTITUDES
some people might say that they consider themselves conservative or liberal but that on a
given issue they prefer a previous institution to the present one - this makes them
reactionaries in relation to that particular issue
most people find it difficult to place themselves in a single category because their attitudes
will range over two or more sectors; but, we can identify a general pattern
!
2. DEPTH OF A PROPOSED CHANGE:
would the desired change amount to a major or minor adjustment in society?
would it modify or replace an insinuation thats fundamental to the society as it now exists?
if so, what’s the likelihood that the proposed change will cause unforeseeable and
uncontrollable effects once implemented?
for example: a proposal at the state level to require a course in introductory pol sci for
graduation from college would undoubtedly inconvenience and annoy some students
but, such a change would have almost no disruptive effect on a society as a whole
but, if a state were greatly reducing funding for its college system, the long-term impact is
greater
the father people are from the status quo, the more dissatisfied they are with the existing
order and the more intense their desire to change
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3. SPEED OF CHANGE:
we must consider the speed at which people want change to occur
the more upset people are with the status quo, the more impatient they are likely to be, and,
therefore, as a general rule, the more rapidly they would like to see the existing order
transformed
!
4. METHOD USED TO ACCOMPLISH CHANGE:
political change can be official/unofficial; legally/illegally/extralegally; smoothly/abruptly;
peacefully/violently
violence is used by people at practically every point on the political spectrum (the death
penalty, property expropriation, chokeholds and certain other police techniques, warfare)
it is possible to make some generalization about the methods employed for political change
example: the farther we are from the status quo on the political spectrum, the more likely we
are to find ourselves in opposition to the laws of society
law is a form of communication that sets forth the purposes, goals and structures of society
its easier for conservatives to be law-abiding and patriotic (since they’re satisfied with the
system)
radicals, liberals, or reactionaries find it much more difficult to abide willingly by all the laws
but this doesn’t mean that conservatives would never violate law to gain political objectives
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extreme change
extreme change
status quo —->
superficial change
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