Does Government Serve the People or Lead the People? Introduction: Please review the main ideas that we have studied so far in this program:
Prior to the French Revolution most people in Europe lived under the rule of a select few people - royalty and the Church (i.e. - Feudal System). The majority of people lived in poverty and experienced very few freedoms. If they were born a peasant, they stayed a peasant and life was dictated to them from the King and the Church. This caused the French Revolution after which people experienced more freedoms and rights. From this came Classical Liberalism.
We have learned about the emergence of Classical Liberalism and its 5 principles, which are as follows:
i) individual rights and freedoms
ii) belief that humans are reasonable and can make their own decisions
iii) economic freedom
iv) protection of civil liberties
v) constitutional limits on government
From Classical Liberalism sprang various ideologies that modified the 5 principals of Classical Lioberalism some of which are:
Scientific Socialism/ Marxism
We looked at ideologies during the 20th century (1900’s) that rejected Classical Liberalism and the freedom of individuals. These ideologies include:
We took a look at how modern Liberalism evolved based on the principals of Classical Liberalism. We examined life in the U.S.A. and Canada before and after World War 11 in order to see why changes needed to occur in the way the economy operated and how these changes reflected the principals of liberalism. As you will discover, businesses in the early 1900’s in the U.S.A. prospered; however, the workers suffered and there was very little government intervention. Sure people enjoyed economic freedom, religious freedoms, freedom of speech and the opportunity to choose where they lived and worked; however, for the majority of the population, working conditions were horrible and as you will discover corporations paid very little attention to the health of their employees and/or the environment. As long as they were making HUGE profits, life was good. The government eventually became more involved in the economy, which lead to modern Liberalism. The following chart illustrate this evolution:
We looked at what happens when ideologies clash in the example of the U.S.A. (liberalism) VS The Soviet Union (communism). These two countries never actually fought a military war, but they imposed their ideologies on other countries around the world and nearly brought the world to total destruction with their nuclear weapons production.
We looked at groups of people within Liberal countries such as Canada that challenge the liberal ideology. While doing so you will try and determine if the challenges are justified or not. This included groups such as environmentalists, the Christian Right, and Aboriginal Collective Thought.
We have tried to determine to what extent, and for whom, has the imposition of liberalism been successful. We examined examples that illustrate a culture exposed to and encouraged to accept liberalism by another group of people and determine if the process was/has been successful.
This week will try and determine to what extent should governments reflect the will of the people? This exploration will touch on some of the principles central to liberalism, such as individual equality and worth,the rule of law, respecting private property, and ruling through the consent of the governed (the will of the people). It will also help you address the Related Issue for Part 3 of this text:To what extent are the principles of liberalism viable?
Step One: Please read Chapter 10 (pages 332 – 366) in your textbook, Perspectives on Ideology.
Step Two: Please complete the following assignment:
Formative Assessment Assignment 1. Please review the quote by Thomas Jefferson onpage 335 in your textbook,Perspectives on Ideology and answer the following question: Jefferson’s words echo the ideas of John Locke, who put forward the concept of “the consent of the governed.” If the will of the people is the foundation of government, in what ways can a government accurately discern the will of the people? What are some possible problems with this principle? In other words, how can the government know what the people want and what are some problems with only doing what the majority of people want – the will of the people?
2. Please review page 339 in your textbook,Perspectives on Ideology and answer the following question: Do you think that the main role of citizens is to legitimize the system by electing the government? Do citizens play other roles in a representative democracy? Explain. In other words, do you think that the only role of a Canadian citizen is to vote for their elected official and that is it or do they have other ways of voicing their “will” to the government?
3. Please view Figure 10-8 and Figure 10-9 and read the accompanying captions onpage 340 in your textbook,Perspectives on Ideology and answer the following question: Is it fair that over one-third of all MPs come from just one province? Is it fair that urban voters are under-represented in comparison with rural voters? Can you think of reasons why population is the main criterion used in determining ridings? What would happen if all provinces and territories were given the same number of seats? Would this be more fair or less fair?
How well do elections reflect the will of the people in a multi- party democracy? Only 59 per cent of eligible voters voted in this election. Do the 37.6 per cent of the 59 per cent who voted (or 22 per cent of the electorate) really represent the will of the people? Is this an indication of something that needs fixing in Canada’s parliamentary system?
4. Please review page 347 in your textbook,Perspectives on Ideology and answer the following question: Why do you think voting becomes more likely as people get older? Do young people take their right to vote for granted? What effect do you think voter age has on government policy? Do you think this is something the government takes into account when deciding what laws to pass or where to focus spending?
5. Please review “Should Government Rely on the People’s Will” on pages 355 and 356 in your textbook,Perspectives on Ideology and answer the following question: Talk to your Key Parent or other adults about how much they consider political issues before voting. Based on these interviews, do you feel that voters are responsible enough that government should rely on their will?
6. Please review pages 357 and 361 in your textbook,Perspectives on Ideology and answer the following question: Virtually all authoritarian governments say that they are working for the best interests of the people; however, many also argue that the will of the people is unimportant because it does not reflect what is best for the country. Is this ever a legitimate justification for ignoring or even subverting the will of the people?
7. Please review “Vision”pages 361 and 362 in your textbook,Perspectives on Ideology and answer the following question:
To what extent did Stalin’s implementation of collectivization (and the resulting famine) reflect the will of the people? The common good?
Analyzing Political and Economic Systems Step One: Please read the following introduction to the assignment:
As you have learned in this chapter, there are many forms of political systems some of which reflect the will of the people and/or the principles of liberalism more than others.
In this assignment you will be required to assess and rate the extent to which a contemporary political and economic system reflects the principles of liberalism by analyzing a political and economic system of your choice. As you work through the assignment, below, and begin wondering if the political system you have chosen to investigate reflects the principles of liberalism and democracy you might ask yourself:
"I would know that I was living in a liberal democracy if I observed ... ." • an election that was fair and open."
• an election that allowed everyone an opportunity to participate."
• an election in which the elected officials were held accountable to the people who elected them."
• an election where there was little or no evidence that wealth or social status influenced the outcome."
Step Two:From the following list, please choose ONE country or territory and research the political and economic practices of the country you have chosen. This means that you need to determine how the government is chosen; how they run the country; who owns the resources of the country; and means of production etc.
•Canada •Japan •Sweden •Russia •China •Nunavut •Cuba •United States •Iran
• France •Zimbabwe •India •Venezuela •South Africa
As you research the country of your choice please complete the chart below be identifying evidence of liberalism or absence of liberalism according to the criteria outlined. Please try and include 3 to 4 piece of evidence for each criteria.
Name of country or territory: ______________________________
for a Liberal Democracy
Evidence that the principles of a liberal democracy arepresent
Evidence that the principles of a liberal democracy are not present
Individual rights and freedoms http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_rights
Step Three: Now that you have developed your chart that analyzes the political and economic systems of your choice, please rate the country in terms of
being liberal or illiberal – which means absence of liberalism
In the Overall Rating Scale, a 1 represents a country or territory that reflects few or none of the criteria of a liberal democracy (i.e. - individual rights, Economic competition and freedoms, rule of law, government accountability) while a 4 represents a country or territory that reflects most or all of the criteria of a liberal democracy. Be sure to include the evidence to support their ratings.
Overall Rating Scale: 1 - strongly illiberal (reflects few or none of the criteria of a liberal democracy)
2 - somewhat illiberal (reflects some of the criteria of a liberal democracy)
3 - somewhat liberal (reflects many of the criteria of a liberal democracy)
4 - strongly liberal (reflects most or all of the criteria of a liberal democracy)
Evidence supporting the ranking: You may use the evidence recorded in the chart revealing the criteria of liberalism.
Step Four: In conclusion.. Please speculate on the kinds of unstated or hidden reasons why countries or territories do or do not always reflect the criteria of a liberal democracy. Reasons might include economics, politics, environmental concerns, competition for resources, ideology, military security or religion. Please consider why the country or territory does not reflect the criteria despite claims of being a liberal democracy.
Please write your answer here.