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Political Ideologies and Democratic Ideal - Ball and Dagger.docx

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

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Politics 1020
Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal Terence Ball and Richard Dagger
Ideology and Democracy
- Ideologies are sets of ideas that shape people’s thinking and actions with regard to race, nationality,
the role and function of government, the relations between men and women, human responsibility
for the natural environment and many other matters
- To understand complex political ideas, you must understand history
Function of Ideologies
- Offer a way of looking at complex events and try to make sense of them
- Supply standards for evaluating social conditions
- Supplies its adherent with an orientation and a sense of identity
o Help people orient themselves, who they are and how they fit into the world
- Tells its followers what to do and how to do it
- Scientific theories are empirical in nature
o Concerned with describing features of the world
o Not prescribing what people ought to do
o Carry implications for how people can live
o Carry implications for the normative problem of how people should live
Human Nature
- Set of basic beliefs about human nature
- It is the nature of humans to compete with each other in hopes of acquiring the greatest possible
share of scarce resources
- Conception of freedom
o One is free from something or free to do something
- Triadic model of freedom
o The Agent
Individual, class, group, nation, ex, race or species
o The Goal
Agents have goals
Nazi: purity and supremacy of the white race
Communist: achievement of a classless communist society
Liberal: everyone to live his or her own way
Feminist: live in a society that women are recognized and of worth
o Obstacles
In pursuing their goals, agents encounter obstacles
When individuals or class or race or gender a political ideology takes to be its agent are
not free to realize their goals, the ideology will call for action to remove the obstacles to
their freedom
Ideology and Revolution
- Radical: left
- Resisted change: right
Nationalism and Anarchism
- Important political forces
- Sometimes considered as ideologies

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- Anarchy does not mean chaos or confusion
- Word comes from the Greek work “an archos” meaning no rule or no government
- Anarchist is someone who advocates abolishing the state and replacing its coercive force with
voluntary cooperation among freely consenting individuals
- Anarchist believes that the state is not necessary, but is simply evil
- People can live together peacefully and prosperously with no coercive authority
The Democratic Ideal
- Mao Zedong believed that people needed a period of dictatorship to prepare for democracy (19)
- Democracy is an essentially contested concept (page 20)
The Origin of Democracy
- Democracy came from ancient Greece
o Combination of Greek noun demos meaning people and verb kratein meaning to rule
o Demokratia means rule or government by the common people
Uneducated, unsophisticated and poor
Made up majority of the citizens
- Aristocrats believed that only well established citizens and those with property and ties to noble
families were wise enough to govern
- Pericles and the democrats believed that most citizens were capable of governing if they would afford
to take time away from farming and work
- Athenian democracy paid citizens to go to the assembly and decide policies by the direct vote
- Citizens were paid to serve on juries
- To be a citizen in Athenian democracy, you had to be a free male adult
o Women, resident foreigners and slaves were excluded
o Only 1/10 inhabitants of Athens were a citizen
- Athenian democracy provided little protection for minority rights
- Although citizens were equal in the eyes of lie, it did not mean they were free to express opinions
- Assembly sometimes banished citizens temporarily, without trial or legal charges
o Simply because the majority of the assembly thought the citizens posed a danger to the polis
Practice of ostracism: write names of those who they want banished on a shell
- Plato believed that democracy was dangerous
o Puts political power into hands of ignorant and envious people
o Will not know how to use political power for common good
o Only concerned with their own good
o Seek to advance by plundering those who are better off
o If democracy is ruled by people, it is a simple a series of shorts steps to tyranny
Public Self
The few
The many
“True” “Perverted”

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Aristotle’s Classification of Constitutions/Regime Types
- Inclusion of polity
o Good form ruled by many
o Differs from democracy because it mixes elements of rule by few with elements of rule by
- Virtue of mixed constitution or government can keep an eye on one another
- Neither class can pursue its interest at the expense of the common interest
- Polity may differ from democracy in distribution of wealth and property
o In democracy, many will be poor
- Polity is the best of the six regimes, democracy is bad
- Democracy is better than tyranny and oligarchy because more judges are better than one or a few
o Even if no one has a judgment of right or wrong, the collective judgment is still better than
small groups or even group of experts
- Democracy gives more people the chance to participate in the active life of the citizen
Democracy and Republic
- Republic derives form the Latin word res publica which means the public thing or public business
The Republic and Mixed Government
- Polybius spent 17 years hostage in Rome
- His experience inspired his interest in the growth of Roman power
- Polybius saw rise and fall of great powers
- He said every powerful empire or country is doomed to decline
o No human creation lasts forever
- Roman Republic was a mixed government because neither one person (monarchy), nor the few
(aristocracy), nor the many (democracy) held all the power
o Republic mixed and balanced these three regimes
Provided benefits of each form while avoiding its defects
- Republican virtue was the ability of an individual to rise about personal or class interest to place the
good of the whole community above his own
o Only active citizens could achieve and exercise this virtue
o Citizens would be eager to use their liberty, but wary of others who might try to seize power
- Mixed government encouraged popular participation in government while making it difficult for
anyone to acquire enough power to threaten liberty and the common good
- Christianity became official religion of the Roman Empire
- Christian Church became dominant institution in Europe
o Gradually divided in to two wings: Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church
Christianity and Democracy
- Everyone is equal in God’s eyes
- Let every person be subject to the governing authorities
- He who resists the authorities is resisting what God had appointed
- Obey those in power and seek no power yourself
- Feudalism: form of social organization, great emphasis on one’s status in society
Renaissance and Republicanism
- Key concepts in republican discourse were liberty, virtue, corruption
- Machiavelli analyzes the factors that promote the longevity of a vital, virtuous, free form of
government the republic
- Republic is a mixed government in which no single class rules
o All classes share power
o System of government in which vigilant citizens jealously guard their liberty against tyrants
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