Freedom, Order, or Equality?

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Freedom, Order, or Equality?

0Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to

  • Define the key terms at the end of the chapter.

  • Describe the ways that globalization has affected government and society in the United States.

  • Give practical examples of ways in which the values of freedom, order, and equality may conflict.

  • Provide a conceptual framework for analyzing government.

  • Discuss the three major purposes of government.

  • Explain the two dilemmas of government.

  • Sketch a continuum of ideological stances on the scope of government, ranging from totalitarianism to anarchism.

  • Construct a two-dimensional, fourfold classification of American political ideologies, using the values of freedom, order, and equality.

  • Distinguish between liberals and conservatives with regard to their attitudes about the scope and purpose of government.

0Freedom, Order, AND Equality, OR the Challenge of Democracy

Chapter 1 explores the meaning of three of the text’s five major themes: freedom, order, and equality. These values are important ones in the U.S. political system. They often come into conflict with one another, however, thus posing a dilemma for people who are forced to choose between competing values. The chapter’s opening vignette, describing how globalization affects our housing market, reveals the costs and challenges associated with balancing freedom, order, and equality. The chapters ahead focus on the setting, structure, and institutions of U.S. government and the policymaking process; as we proceed, we will see many examples of these conflicting values.

0Chapter Overview

0The Globalization of American Government

Whereas nations used to be understood as independent political actors, global economic interdependence and the growing importance of international organizations challenge this independence. Nations are compelled to reconcile national political values with international values that may represent a different balance between freedom, order, and equality. The 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty was blocked until 2007. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty in 2007 because the political climate had changed and certain advantages of the treaty became evident.

0The Purposes of Government

Government is the legitimate use of force to control human behavior. Throughout history, government has served three major purposes: (1) maintaining order, including preserving life and protecting property, (2) providing public goods, and (3) promoting equality. Maintaining order, the first purpose, is the oldest and least contended purpose of government. Most would agree with Thomas Hobbes that the security of civil society is preferable to life in a warlike state of nature. But the question of whether maintaining order requires the government to infringe on an individual’s personal freedom is a tough one to answer. The second purpose—providing public goods—leads to questions of just what goods the government ought to provide. Over the years, the scope of the U.S. government has expanded considerably, as the government has assumed greater responsibility for providing an array of social benefits. The third purpose of government—promoting equality—is the newest and probably most controversial purpose of government today. It raises issues about the extent of the government’s role in redistributing wealth, regulating social behavior, and providing opportunities.

0A Conceptual Framework for Analyzing Government

People often have difficulty understanding the U.S. government because they lack a framework to help them organize the facts of politics. The framework supplied in this text distinguishes between the values citizens pursue through government and the institutional models that guide them in their efforts to govern themselves democratically. The framework presented here uses five major concepts. The three presented in this chapter—freedom, order, and equality—represent what democratic governments try to do. The two remaining concepts concern how democratic governments do what they do; governments may behave according to pluralistic or majoritarian models. These models are explained more fully in the next chapter.

0The Concepts of Freedom, Order, and Equality

Freedom, as used in this text, is synonymous with liberty, that is, the freedom to speak, worship, and so forth. In a narrow sense, order consists of preserving life and protecting property, but it may also refer to social order, which prescribes the accepted way of doing things. Equality is used to mean several different things: political equality, or equality of influence in the political process; social equality, or equality in wealth, education, and social status; equality of opportunity, or equality in chances for success; and equality of outcome, or equality for people in the end. The last concept is connected with the idea of entitlements and requires much more government intervention to sustain than either political equality or equality of opportunity.

0Two Dilemmas of Government

Two major dilemmas confront government today. The first one, the original dilemma, involves tradeoffs between freedom and order. How much freedom are people willing to give up to achieve complete safety? How much insecurity are they willing to tolerate to preserve personal freedom? The second one, the modern dilemma, deals with the balance between freedom and equality. Should government act to promote equal access for women and African Americans to high-paying jobs, even though this restricts the freedom of their employers?

0Ideology and the Scope of Government

Political ideologies provide their adherents with consistent, organized beliefs about government. Each ideology provides a different answer to questions about the scope of government, that is, how far government should go in maintaining order, providing public goods, and promoting equality.

Totalitarianism believes in total control by the government over business, labor, education, religion, sports, and the arts. Socialists would have government control basic industries but leave room for some private ownership of productive capacities and for the operation of civil liberties. Some socialists practice democratic socialism, which guarantees civil liberties, free elections, and competitive political parties. Capitalists favor private ownership of the means of production and no government interference with business. Libertarians oppose government action except where absolutely necessary to protect life and property. Anarchists oppose all government.

Practical politics in the United States tend to be fought out in the middle ground of this continuum—a place inhabited by conservatives and liberals, who differ on both the scope and the purpose of government action. Liberals favor generous government support for education, wildlife protection, public transportation, and a whole range of social programs. Conservatives believe in smaller government and fewer social programs. In the past, liberals and conservatives have been distinguished by their attitudes toward the scope of government. Today this approach is not quite adequate; ideological divisions among Americans involve not only disagreements over the scope of government but also disagreements about the purposes of government, that is, the degree to which the government should promote freedom, order, and equality.

0American Political Ideologies and the Purpose of Government

Liberals and conservatives differ on both of the major value conflicts described in this chapter. By using a two-dimensional classification system that depicts freedom and order on one axis and freedom and equality on the other, it is possible to obtain a more accurate picture of the differences between liberals and conservatives. This scheme yields a fourfold classification of American political ideologies. Under it, those who prefer order to freedom and freedom to equality are conservatives. Those who prefer equality to freedom and freedom to order are liberals. Those who prefer freedom above the other values are libertarians. Those who would give up freedom for either equality or order are called communitarians.

0Key Terms



national sovereignty




public goods

freedom of

freedom from

police power

political equality

social equality

equality of opportunity

equality of outcome


political ideology



democratic socialism




laissez faire





0Outlining the Text Chapters

One good way to learn the material in the text is to outline each chapter after you have read it. This will help you understand how a chapter is organized and how its main points fit together. The act of writing the outline focuses your attention on the material and also reinforces what you have read.

Outlining styles tend to be idiosyncratic: one person might prepare an outline that uses full sentences or long phrases to help recall the substance of sections of the text; another might rely on brief phrases or key words. For starters though, you will probably want to use the chapter’s main headings and subheadings as the skeleton for your outline. Then flesh these out by noting the main points within each subheading, and where you think it is useful, add some notes to indicate just how each point is connected to the main heading.

Here is a sample outline of Chapter 1.

0Chapter One—Outline0

I0. The globalization of American government0

A0. Principle of national sovereignty: Each national government has the right to govern its people as it wishes, without interference from other nations.

B0. Increasing globalization has eroded national sovereignty.0

10. Mr. Rodriguez and the U.S. mortgage crisis

20. 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty

C0. U.S. foreign and domestic policies have faced international scrutiny0.

10. United States refused to participate in the International Criminal Court.

20. United States’ trade policies are critical to good relations with our trading partners0000.

II0. The purposes of government0

A0. Definition of government: the legitimate use of force within territorial boundaries to control human behavior

B0. Maintain order0

10. State of nature survival and Thomas Hobbes

20. Unalienable rights and liberalism

C0. Provide public goods0

10. Public goods: benefits available to all citizens that are not likely to be produced voluntarily by individuals

20. Tension between government and private business

D0. Promote equality0

10. Economic: redistribute wealth

20. Social: regulate social behavior

30. Tension between equality and freedom

III0. A conceptual framework for analyzing government0

A0. Definition of a concept: a generalized idea grouping events, objects, or qualities under a common classification or label

B0. Five concepts used in this text0

10. What government tries to do (values)0

a0) freedom

b0) order

c0) equality

20. How governments do it (models)0

a0) pluralist

b0) majoritarian

IV0. The concepts of freedom, order, and equality0

A0. Freedom0

10. Freedom of: liberty

20. Freedom from: immunity or, as used in this text, equality

B0. Order0

10. Preserving life

20. Protecting property

30. Maintaining social order: use of police power

C0. Equality0

10. Political equality0

a0) one person, one vote

b0) ability to influence political decisions through wealth or status

20. Social equality0

a0) equality of opportunity: each person has the same chance to succeed in life

b0) equality of outcome0

(10) government redistributions of wealth to ensure that economic equality and social equality are achieved

(20) governmental rights as entitlements

V0. Two dilemmas of government0

A0. The original dilemma: freedom versus order

B0. The modern dilemma: freedom versus equality

VI0. Ideology and the scope of government0

A0. Definition of an ideology: a consistent set of values and beliefs about the proper purpose and scope of government

B0. Continuum of ideologies based on beliefs about government scope000

10. Totalitarianism: controls all aspects of behavior in all sectors of society

20. Socialism0

a0) broad scope of state authority in the economic life of the nation

b0) communism versus democratic socialism

30. Capitalism0

a0) private business operating without government regulations

b0) U.S. capitalism: some regulation of business and direction of overall economy

40. Libertarianism0

a0) opposed to all government action except what is necessary to protect life and property

b0) liberal versus libertarian

50. Anarchism0

a0) opposed to all government

b0) value freedom

C0. Liberals and conservatives: the narrow middle0

10. Liberals0

a0) favor broad scope of government in providing public goods

b0) yet reject censorship, regulation of abortion

20. Conservatives0

a0) oppose government role as activist in economy

b0) favor small government

c0) yet favor government regulation of social behavior

30. Need to look at both scope and purpose of government action

VII0. American political ideologies and the purpose of government0

A0. Liberals versus conservatives: the new differences0

10. Conservatives0

a0) scope of government: narrow

b0) purpose of government: maintain social order0

(10) coercive power of state may be used to force citizens to be orderly

(20) preserve traditional patterns of social relations

20. Liberals0

a0) scope of government: broad

b0) purpose of government: promote equality (coercive power of state may be used)

B0. Two-dimensional classification of ideologies0

10. Dimensions0

a0) freedom—order

b0) freedom—equality

20. Four ideological types0

a0) libertarians0

(10) value freedom more than order

(20) value freedom more than equality

b0) liberals0

(10) value freedom more than order

(20) value equality more than freedom

c0) conservatives0

(10) value freedom more than equality

(20) value order more than freedom

d0) communitarians0

(10) value equality more than freedom

(20) value order more than freedom

0Research and Resources

This chapter introduces three of the key concepts used to build the analytical framework of the text. Freedom, order, and equality are such important concepts and are so critical to the approach of The Challenge of Democracy that you may wish to learn more about these ideas. One way to go about it is to consult an encyclopedia or dictionary, such as the Encyclopedia Britannica or Webster’s New World Dictionary. (Access to Britannica is available online as a paid service. For a free trial, go to <>.) In these works, you will find a general treatment of the terms. A general encyclopedic discussion may include some material of interest to social scientists, but it may also include material more interesting to people in other fields (for example, philosophers may be more interested in the question of free will versus determinism, a question often included in general discussions of freedom). However, these general reference works, while useful, may not provide quite the depth you want. You may find it helpful to turn to a more specialized work tailored to providing information about subjects as they apply to social or political science.

The following are some useful specialized dictionaries and encyclopedias:

Gould, Julius, and William Kolb, eds. A Dictionary of the Social Sciences. Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1964.

Greenberg, Milton, and Jack C. Plano, eds. The American Political Dictionary. l0th ed. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1996.

Kuper, Adam, and Jessica Kuper, eds. The Social Science Encyclopedia. 2d ed. New York: Routledge, 1996.

Shafritz, Jay M. The HarperCollins Dictionary of American Government and Politics. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

Stills, David L., ed. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 17 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1968.

0Using Your Knowledge0

10. Become familiar with specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries. Look up the terms equality, freedom, democracy, ideology, and pluralism in some of the works cited above. Compare the material covered in the different sources. Are all these terms included in every work?

20. Use your knowledge and resources to define freedom, order, and equality. Is there a common concept that can be used to define all these terms at once, or are they too different?

30. 0Visit the websites of groups that represent each of the four ideological types discussed in the chapter. At each site, see if you can find statements that illustrate the group’s viewpoint on freedom, order, and equality, the key values discussed in this chapter. How well does each group fit into the typology? You may try the websites listed here or at the end of the textbook chapter, or you may try to make your own list of ideologically oriented groups. For libertarians, try <>. For communitarians, try <>.

0Sample Exam Questions

0Multiple-Choice Questions

(Answers to multiple-choice questions are at the end of the chapter.)0

10. Approximately what percentage of people agree with the statement, “Politics and government seem so complicated that a person like me can’t understand what’s going on”?0

a0. 20 percent

b0. 40 percent

c0. 60 percent

d0. 80 percent

e0. 100 percent
20. “The legitimate use of force to control human behavior within specified geographic boundaries” is a definition of0

a0. politics.

b0. government.

c0. democracy.

d0. totalitarianism.

e0. anarchism.

30. Why did the United States wait so long to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty?0

a0. feared it would undermine our sovereignty by delegating authority to an International Seabed Authority

b0. feared it would be too detrimental to the U.S. economy

c0. feared the United States would lose control of its moral authority in the regions

d0. feared the United States could not fulfill the environmental antipollution requirements for the region

e0. feared the United States would not have enough time to properly maintain its responsibilities

40. Which of the following is not one of the four indicators used to rank a country’s globalization?0

a0. economic integration

b0. technological connectivity

c0. political engagement

d0. leadership coefficient

e0. None of the above; all are indicators of globalization.

50. Which political philosopher first defined the doctrine of liberalism, which linked the defense of property rights to the safeguards of individual liberties?0

a0. Thomas Hobbes

b0. Thomas Jefferson

c0. John Locke

d0. Karl Marx

e0. James Monroe

60. The modern dilemma of government can be seen in0

a0. Oregon’s approach to assisted suicide.

b0. Michigan’s approach to assisted suicide.

c0. employment provisions of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

d0. decisions leading up to the war in Iraq.

e0. decisions to ban smoking in public buildings.

70. Faced with the paradox of poverty and plenty in their nation, many European nations expanded the role of government to provide medical care, education, and income for a lifetime. What is this lifetime of government benefits called? 0

a0. from birth to burial

b0. from toddler to dodder

c0. from young to old

d0. from spring to winter

e0. from cradle to grave

80. What term do we use to describe the benefits and services available to all, such as education, sanitation, roads, bridges, etc.?0

a0. global equity

b0. community services

c0. liberal ideals

d0. public goods

e0. national equity

90. Who was the first woman to receive the honor of lying in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda?0

a0. Rosa Parks

b0. Barbara Jordan

c0. Dolly Madison

d0. Eleanor Roosevelt

e0. Susan B. Anthony

100. Which of the following is not one of the four freedoms Franklin Roosevelt described and fought for during his terms in office?0

a0. freedom from want

b0. freedom from fear

c0. freedom of religion

d0. freedom of speech

e0. freedom of equality

110. Which of the following exemplifies the effort to create gender equity in college athletic programs?0

a0. the modern dilemma of government

b0. libertarian ideology

c0. the clash between equality and order

d0. the conflict between order and freedom

e0. conservative ideology

120. What is the political ideology that rejects all government action except that which is necessary to protect life and property?0

a0. liberalism

b0. libertarianism

c0. capitalism

d0. anarchism

e0. socialism

130. During the 1960s, Congress passed legislation that requires men and women to be paid the same wage if they perform the same work. What is this an example of? 0

a0. government promoting order at the expense of freedom

b0. government promoting equality at the expense of order

c0. government promoting freedom at the expense of equality

d0. government promoting equality at the expense of freedom

e0. socialism

140. What term do we use for the belief that states should leave individuals free to follow their individual pursuits?0

a0. democracy

b0. anarchism

c0. liberalism

d0. state of nature

e0. conservatism

150. In U.S. politics, the fight for the middle ground of government action takes place between0

a0. conservatives and liberals.

b0. conservatives and libertarians.

c0. communists and liberals.

d0. socialists and liberals.

e0. socialists and conservatives.

160. The term freedom, as used in the text, is synonymous with0

a0. equality.

b0. only equality of opportunity.

c0. only equality of outcome.

d0. liberty.

e0. order.

170. What term would we use to describe a person who values order and equality more than freedom?0

a0. anarchist

b0. libertarian

c0. communitarian

d0. conservative

e0. liberal

180. Which of the following is not true?0

a0. Libertarians value freedom above equality.

b0. Liberals value equality more than order.

c0. Conservatives value freedom more than equality.

d0. Communitarians value freedom more than order.

e0. Libertarians value freedom over order.

190. Established patterns of authority and traditional modes of behavior represent0

a0. totalitarianism.

b0. police power.

c0. public goods.

d0. equality of opportunity.

e0. social order.

200. What term describes the idea that each person is guaranteed the same chance to succeed in life?0

a0. economic equality

b0. communism

c0. equality of outcome

d0. political equality

e0. equality of opportunity

210. What do we call a consistent set of values and beliefs about the proper purpose and scope of government?0

a0. political ideology

b0. political equality

c0. liberalism

d0. anarchism

e0. equality of opportunity

220. Which of the following would be an accurate description of today’s liberals?0

a0. They oppose government in all its forms.

b0. They are strong adherents of government who believe government’s power should unlimited.

c0. They believe in free enterprise without government interference.

d0. They promote equality of outcome while preserving order.

e0. They see a positive role for government in helping the disadvantaged.

230. Among the major purposes of government, the newest to be added to the list is0

a0. promoting equality.

b0. maintaining order.

c0. restricting equality.

d0. providing public goods.

e0. protecting private property.

240. Which of the following is a case of government regulation of social behavior to enforce equality?0

a0. a state law prohibiting assisted suicide

b0. a state law permitting assisted suicide

c0. a federal law outlawing pornographic material on the Internet

d0. a court decision permitting homosexuals to serve on a local police force

e0. a court decision forbidding homosexuals to serve on a local police force

250. Conservatives would be most likely to support which of the following?0

a0. a government-sponsored program to combat poverty

b0. a Mothers Against Drunk Driving campaign to lower the drinking age

c0. reregulation of the airlines

d0. a constitutional amendment to prohibit flag burning

e0. affirmative action

0Essay Questions

10. On a number of college campuses, fraternities and sororities are not permitted to serve alcohol at parties they host. Which of the values discussed in the chapter (freedom, order, or equality) would you say are involved in these conflicts? How are they involved? How do the values you have mentioned come into conflict with each other?

20. Why is the United States less globalized than other nations? What could we do to increase our globalization?

30. Explain the key differences between liberals and conservatives in modern U.S. politics.

40. According to the text, the newest major purpose of government is to promote equality. Explain the various meanings of the term equality. What aspects of this new purpose of government are controversial in the United States? Why?

50. How has globalization affected domestic political choices in the United States? Are international organization and conventions eroding U.S. national sovereignty?

0Answers to Multiple-Choice Questions0

10. c

20. b

30. a

40. d

50. c

60. c

70. e

80. d

90. a

100. e

110. a

120. b

130. d

140. e

150. a

160. d

170. c

180. d

190. e

200. e

210. a

220. e

230. a

240. d

250. d

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