|Democrat Ideal Questions
Carver suggests that a basic theoretical tension, or perhaps an outright contradiction, confronts Marx’s successors when they attempt to define Marxism as scientific and objective. Why is this a potential problem, given Marx’s own definition of ideology?
While trying to define the term “ideology”, Carver takes a look at the evolution of the term since the 1800s. Karl Marx, commonly referred to as the ‘father of communism’, had defined ideology pejoratively as the ideas made by a certain group of people that serve their material interests. He also claimed that his ideas concerning the working class were scientific because the working class is a revolutionary class whose interests are quite similar to the interests of the majority.
Marx’s successors and followers failed to define Marxism as scientific and especially objective because of its concentration on proletarian interests. And because Marxism defends essentially the working class or the proletariat, Marx’s successors tended to define his “science” as an ideology (first “scientific ideology” and then “socialist ideology” by Lenin p.7) which is a potential problem as Marx was originally opposed to ideologies and ideologists claiming they defend the interests of the ruling class or the elites.
Why did Napoleon Bonaparte turn away from his earlier embrace of “ideology” as set forth by de Tracy, and subsequently deride it as “sinister metaphysics”?
Napoleon turned away from his idealistic values because he thought that idealists were not practical and didn’t have the sense for politics. He also used this as a way to make his political opponents less appealing to the people by turning idealist into a derogatory term. This also helped him align with the church and other more conservative forces.
As Carver notes, the history of the term “ideology” is deeply conflicted because the concept has had so many different definitions; nevertheless, he thinks it is a term we should not abandon, ever if we can never arrive at a scientifically objective ideology. Why does Carver think it is important to understand the meaning of different political ideologies even if none of them can prove it self to be the “correct one?
Carver believes this because the different ideology of people inspires them to stand and speak their beliefs. In the book it states that De Tracy coins the term ideology during the revolutionary decade in France when people tested their power in politics with their ideas. Since then the word ideology has been associated with brilliant people such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin. The word it self drives people to do great things and even create history.
How does Pericles understand the connection between democracy and empire?
As part of Pericles' rule over Athens, as one of their most famous democratic rulers, he oversaw the needs of his people and the rest of his empire. Pericles viewed that most citizens, demos, were able bodied and if given the time away from their daily work and families that they would very much be able to govern, as the aristocrats already did. In order for democracy to work, the empire had to work together and realize that all citizens, who were adult, free males, were able to govern together regardless of their class stature. If the Athenian empire was weak and citizens failed to comprehend that people from various social classes were capable to govern, if provided with the time and tools, then democracy, essentially a system made for and by the people to benefit those in the working and lower class, failed in all counts.
In an infamous asides, Pericles briefly discusses the place of women within Athenian democracy. What does he understand as women role within the polis?
Women in the Athenian democracy role is to submit, and obey the laws that have been pass by men. Their role as mother groom their son taking charge on how they become a man when they are fully grown. For them there is no greater honor than to serve their role as mothers. Women, for Pericles, should be as strong as their gender allows them.
On Pericles’s view, what was so special about collective citizen participation and deliberation about the most important public matters, including war itself? Why does Pericles believe that the Athenians’ greater willingness to engage in courageous acts on behalf of their city-state was related to their commitment to democracy?
Pericles believed it was special because people came together to discuss issues, and they all had a chance to talk about their ideasand input. People participated as it was their right to discuss and solve an issue. This was Democracy in its purest form because the decision was not made by one person, but by the people. This made people willing to even go to war because they were a part of a decision making process. Democracy meant that everyone had the chance to advance in life not because they were rich or high class but because of their accomplishments. People believed in their democracy and they worked hard for their achievements, it made them be a better person and lawful citizens.
Theseus argues that tyrants are especially brutal in punishing the youth in a political society that they come to control. What reasons does he give for this?
Theseus argues that the youth have a lot to contribute to society where all citizens are equal and where any criticism and helpful ideas are accepted and acted upon. Tyrants see the youth, especially the exceptional youth, as a threat to their power because other citizens respect and take pride in their young for contributing positively to society. The reason for this equality among all citizens is due to the fact that rule of law enacted upon everybody; the law treats everybody alike promoting a sense of equality. By eliminating or suppressing the youth, a city no longer has the drive to change and question the institutions in society
Why does Theseus put so much emphasis on the rule of law in his response to the Theban Messenger? Why is it so vitally important in a democracy?
Theseus views a nation that governs itself having the ability to grow and be more prosperous. He believes that if a nation is governed through democracy and a rule of law that the most talented individuals will give their ideas up and it will be up to the whole people to decide whether to follow them or not. Every voice is heard and every opinion is considered. This creates a stronger community and a more progressive society. The laws established by the people will prevent anarchy and will protect individual rights of citizens. The law lays down the parameter for all citizens to practice their rights and be free within.
On pp. 22-23, Aristotle notes that some works of art are not best judged by those who create them, but by those who utilize them. How does he develop this point into a defense of democratic judgment?
According to Aristotle the collective judgment is always better than the individual one. For example, people who eat certain food are better judges of its quality than the cook, and people who live in a house are better judges of its structure than the builder. He developshis views into a defense of democratic judgment by stating that despite its shortcomings, democracy is still a better form of government than tyranny and monarchy because similar to a feast that many contributes in, democracy gives more citizens the chance to be active participants in ruling, and hence allow the society to have a collective judgment of right and wrong by ordinary citizens which is always better than a limited individual judgment even if it is done by experts.
Aristotle gives a number of reasons why middle-class rule is so profoundly important. What are they?
The road to the democratic ideal originated in Ancient Greece and entailed rule by the majority of the population. However, Aristotle foretold problems with democracy when the very poor or the very rich made up the majority of the population and imposed a type of rule that was favorable only to them. In The Politics: Book IV, Aristotle argues for rule by the middle-class instead of rule by the very rich, which would lead to a pure oligarchy, or rule by the poor, which would lead to an extreme democracy.
Aristotle divides society into three different classes: the very rich, the very poor, and the mean, or middle. He explains that the very rich and the very poor are raised differently. The very rich are accustomed to making demands and do not obey the demands of others, thus they are not raised to be obedient. They become rascals. The very poor are not accustomed to making demands and are degraded. They become criminals. If the very rich are able to establish their own rule they would only make demands which look out for their own self interest and will not be obedient to the requests of the rest of society. The very poor, on the other hand, are not accustomed to ruling and would rule despotically.
Between the two classes lies the middle. Those in the middle do not have great wealth and are not accustomed to making many demands. They can give and take equally. Similarly, because the middle-class is not very poor and live a comfortable lifestyle, they are not envious of the extreme wealth of the very rich and would not seek to take it away. Their type of rule would lie in between oligarchy and extreme democracy. Aristotle also claims that if the middle class is large enough, the majority of the population would not be as divided. There would be less conflict between the three classes and a stable government would last longer.
In the end, Aristotle's argument can be seen as a middle-class government not being too extreme. His belief is that virtue lies in the middle and the middle class would develop a better type of rule.
In his conclusion (on p. 29), what does Machiavelli claim is the chief difference between the excesses of the people and the excesses of the prince that make the rule by the former preferable to rule by the latter?
Niccolo Machiavelli claims the chief differences in the excesses between the people and the prince is their social status. The prince does not abide by laws but solely dictates them. On the other hand regular civilians know nothing but to follow the rules. This means that the prince will do anything to stay in power including cheat, lie, steal, and murder. This is because he has never been subjected to law and doesn’t understand the morality of a regular civilian. For the people they are more likely to do what it takes to protect their rights. Even if what they did was for the best of the people and it happened to be achieved in the wrong way their chances of turning malevolent is low due to the fact that they’ve been in the shoes of their community. Basically the prince sees government as something that benefits private life and the people see government that should be a public action.
Machiavelli claims that the excesses of the Prince and the people are that the people have an excess of mostly material belongings like luxury and wealth as well as simplicity, ease, liberty and love. In terms of the Prince, who also has an abundance of such things, when he rules as one with say over all the people he captures the integrity and liberty of the people living under his rule. These are things that Machiavelli believes hold tremendous value. Although the people may be greedy and hold material things to have greater value than the well being of the commonwealth, they don't rob anyone of their rights or property. Being ruled by one or a prince means subjecting yourself and the people to a life with no liberty or independence. When being ruled by the people, there are laws that apply to everyone and no one is excluded from following them. This keeps things fair and enables the people to keep their independence making the rule of the people preferable to the rule of a single prince.
What does this extract say about Machiavelli’s view of human nature, and why does this make the rule of law particularly important to his conception of politics?
Machiavelli’s vision of man is a beast who reaches violently towards what he desires. His version of man is much like a beast with many heads reaching in different directions then attacking the others in order to gain control of the body which ultimately gives way to the greatest desire of the moment. He finds that for the larger part people are inconstant in their wants and being such they think of only the present whereas a prince is constant in his passion, be it love of country or himself; he will pursue his passions to his end. In order for the princes excessive passion to be held in check and the multitudes beastly inconstancy, law must be followed by both the prince and the people; for law will do no ill upon a good prince in his pursuit of his love of country or a good man in his search for direction, but it will reveal the men who love themselves more than others and have them be punished for their excessive self-love which is incompatible with a lawful society.
Some scholars have argued that the link between The Prince and Discourses lies precisely in the role played by the prince when the republic becomes corrupt in the role played by the prince when the republic becomes corrupt and requires the renewel of its republican origins. Is there any evidence in this extract for that argument, which stresses the importance that one human being can play in history.
Plenty of evidence can be found throughout the extract within the text book of Machiavelli’s work. The crux of Machiavelli’s position is that individuals can err due to the influences of their passions, and in the instance of a prince controlling the government, the consequences of such devious actions are ten-fold. Machiavelli lays the claim that liberty is self governence and that the government is to be regulated by laws, not by individuals, for in the place of commanding government, these individuals would have the ability to destroy or monopolize the society of which they have been entrusted to govern. In the writing of Discourses, the emphasis is placed on a government which is run by the classes, no individual has the ability to control the entire system, I believe Machiavelli’s distrust of a prince’s or individual leader’s power stems from the possibility of disastrous consequences from their individual actions. Individuals can play a very important part in history, but it is the potential danger that they may cause that has placed such distrust in Machiavelli’s ideas of allowing a “prince” to rule a government.
Adams lists six reasons why single legislatures are unreliable in a republic. What are those six reasons?
Adams states that if we limit the power to one assembly, there is a risk of it being corrupted.
Having one assembly will give their personnel special status and they can make exemptions for themselves (salary, living conditions, etc)
Assembly members can modify the rules and extend their time in office up to the remainder of their lives.
Although a one person can be qualified for being part of the executive branch, it would not be a good idea to be a part of both because they both need to be different. Both have secrets of their own and it would be hard to agree on things if a member is part of both.
A member of the assembly is even more less qualified to be a part of the judicial power, due to the amount of members, the time it takes to get things done and their lack or knowledge in that field.
Having one assembly will ultimately result in making new laws to their own benefits without being regulated or opposed by anyone else.
At the end of the piece, Adams maintains that three additional types of laws are very important for maintaining republican self-rule. These are: a military law, laws which make provisions for “the liberal education of the youth, especially of the lower class people” and “sumptuary laws”. What Does Adams mean by these laws, and why does he think they are so important in a republic?
Gathering from Adams short excerpt on the three laws he mentions towards the end, what Adams means by these laws is basically the first stepping stones in building a republic. As he first mentions militia laws, he provides a clear and concise view on the use of any firearms. Adam says that young men should be given arms and ammunition, while also going into detail that it would be ok to exclude some, for perhaps conscience reasons. Training would be included along with arms provided. The whole premise behind why such a law should be implemented is of the threat of invasions ever becomes reality. These laws would provide counties, towns, or small districts a means of defense, and during the times of the revolutionary war a wise commodity to have. Adams then shifts over to education and laws that could be implemented to help an institution as such. In a way it’s as if Adams is suggesting the creation of an educational system, which will serve as a vital institution in any community. He saw this as a form of gift to the members of any society being that it was free, especially in the sense of the lower class seeing as when Adams says, “(regarding education) are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.” (Pg.34). When it comes down to the sumptuary laws Adams proclaims its one of the most crucial ones from the two listed. Adams here, basically says that every member of the community would pay their share of the cost of living, creating a revenue for items as an educational system to be constructed and arms & ammunitions to be acquired with ease and stockpiled. All these suggested laws are important in Adams mind simply because they are the stepping-stones for building a form of government and unifying a set group of people. As all would come together the next set of stones would then be built. The importance from Adams perspective is that, it would enhance the people’s knowledgeable awareness of what’s around them and providing them with a social awareness of who they are, with the type of community being built. He then goes on to say that these principles (laws) would then go on to promote happiness, good humor, and good manners. If government inspired this type of elevation of sentiment it would make the people brave and enterprising for the future ahead.
These types of laws will bring some type of balance to the government and its citizens. By allowing a militia to exist, it sends a message to the government that if it ever over steps its boundaries that citizens have the ability to retaliate and will do so to protect them selves. If allowing even the lower classes to have the same share of rights such as education it sets an example of fairness as a country and promotes justice. Sumptuary laws will give sets laws such as wages of labor and the boundaries or overpricing. This will leave citizens with comfort because gives the impression that its government is willing to uphold the laws. This is all-important because it is ideas feed justice and fairness to a government of democracy.
Why does Adams think that annual elections are so important for republican Self- rule? (p.31)
Adams believes, annual elections are important because power should not be to one ruler, it should be distributed as time continues because that is what makes a good government. In the text book Democratic Ideal, it informs you about how happiness is found by and end of a ‘’Man’s life. From my interpretation I felt that maybe that’s how Adam’s felt about annual elections in order to keep the country with enlightenment and progressive ness then it is wise to have annual elections so that there is a fair representation of justice and the wellness of the people.
Bill of Rights
The Tenth Amendment has been regarded as one of the Antifederalists’ great victories. How might we read it as helping to assuage Patrick Henry’s fear that the Constitution was insufficiently democratic? How might it be seen as setting the stage for the American Civil War?
The tenth amendment reassured the democratic ideologies of the constitution by granting the state’s power that is not allocated to the federal government. Patrick Henry recognized the potential tyranny of the federal government; if the states, and their constituents, did not retain some executive power. This could be interpreted as setting the stage of the American Revolution, because the South felt that the practice of slavery was protected by the tenth amendment. They felt that by taking away their slaves, the federal government was overreaching their power and infringing on their rights.
The issue of the “right of the people to keep and bear Arms” (Amendment 2) continues to be one of ongoing controversy in the United States. From a republican perspective, why is the right of the people to bear arms so crucial?
According to the authors of Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal, A Reader the writers of the Constitution “thought that the separation of governmental powers and the system of checks and balance incorporated into the Constitution would protect the rights and interest of individuals from the power of the majority.” Meticulously enumerating the powers of the federal government, the writers intended to limit the uprising of a tyrannical ruler or monarch, a feared reality that was closely escaped by the framers of the Constitution. Although some critics may argue that monarchical rule is an antiquated fear, Americans must remember to uphold the laws in place to keep this type of governance from replacing democracy and trampling citizens’ civil liberties. The Constitution states that the right to bear arms and the right to form a militia are “necessary to the security of a free state” and “shall not be infringed.” Therefore gun rights are solely based on the notion that guns are a security force to protect oneself from the government, not to protect oneself from other citizens. The Constitution, the document outlining our government, in itself grants its citizens the right to revolt. By banning guns entirely abolishes a citizen’s right to stand in opposition to the government and is inherently un-American moreover unconstitutional.
In the early pages of this piece, Tocqueville describes the various factor at work within history that he believes have combined to make "equality of conditions," and thus democracy, inevitable. What factors does he isolate as central to this process? How does he say they functioned, and with what specific consequences?
The driving force behind democracy was providing the opportunity for common people to create their own way in the world. Democracy allowed equality to be divided amongst the population and freed those who were seen as undeserving. Tocqueville believed this was a change for the better, however there were significant flaws of equality in democracy. According to Tocqueville, equality pressures everyone to conform and creates mediocrity within society, thus decreasing individual growth. Those who want to be unique and step outside of convention will be riddiculed and be seen as wanting to become better than everyone. Tocqueville labeled this theory as "the tyranny of the majority." He also addressed that common people are easily persuaded and mislead by individuals seeking power. These individuals use deception to gain trust within the people so they may use them as leverage.
On pages 42-43 Tocqueville provides a brief description of what a well-functioning democracy would look like, and what its positive features would be. According to this description, what does Tocqueville find to be laudable within democracy?
In chapter 2.8 the thoughts of Alexis De Tocqueville are translated and describe to the readers a year-long trip he took in 1831, to the United States. Through this trip he was able to observe and analyze the current political atmosphere that was so apparent in America. In his writings, Democracy in America, Tocqueville was able to eloquently describe what particular aspects of democracy that are worth praise. I believe that the most appealing and/or striking aspect of the American society to De Tocqueville was the equality that people are given during that period of time. Although democracy is not all perfect, he observes the difference in which people are ruled in America versus the crown rule of France along with the class system. Furthermore, the text goes on to say that although some aspects of pleasures and sciences will decrease in value or become less in general, more individuals of the society will be able them. For example, he states that comfort is more enjoyable by more people under democracy. In addition he states that although the sciences will be of fewer calibers, individuals would be able to gain knowledge and not be in a state of ignorance that people of other governments are often force into as a lack of access to education. Overall I feel as though Tocqueville admires the ability of everyone to have an opportunity in the day-to-day life experience in America, including and most importantly the ability to be involved in political affairs.
Conversely, what does Tocqueville laud about aristocracy? What does he think has been lost in the replacement of aristocracy by democracy?
As a French aristocrat of the 19th century, Alexis de Tocqueville praised aristocracy, and saw it to be an organized body of governing with stability and power. He goes on to explain that in aristocracy, the wealthy were intelligent and lived in luxury, while the poor were ignorant and lived in labor. Here, the common people did not seek to climb up the social class system, inequality existed, but Tocqueville stated that none were degraded. Because individuals remained in their class rank, aristocracy was stable and powerful. The upper social class guarded their liberties with a firm hand, and thus were not vulnerable to the influences of demagogues and despots that democracy was. When Tocqueville visited colonial America, he found that with democracy, society loses stability. As wealthy and the working class begin closing the gap, he states that society loses the luxuries of the aristocracy. The levels of comfort and enjoyment are sacrificed, as are the development of sciences. By adopting democracy, a nation also loses its strength because citizens pursue individual goals and no longer fear authority. Tocqueville states that the nation gives up certain aspects of intelligence, glory, and prosperity as a whole in order to spread the wealth.