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Pos 442 - Introduction

Pos 442 - Introduction - POS 442 American Political Thought...

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POS 442 American Political Thought Robert Bellah Habits of the Heart 3 American political languages/discourses Constrain and enable political thinking - biblical/religious o Christian Protestant Calvinist Liberty is submission of your will to the will of God Happiness: consists in giving your life to Christ Equality: all equal in the eyes of god o Dominant during the puritan period - Republicanism o The highest station that a male human may reach is that of citizen o The best kind of life is vios politikos – the political life o Freedom = politics Freedom is living under laws that you had a hand in making (Rousseau) o Happiness is public happiness (john adams), sense of well being that is achieved by living the life of the citizen o Dominant around the American Revolution and the founding of the nation What is a free republic, how is it constituted, how do you make it last - Liberalism/liberal individualism o Raised the status of the individual (not the citizen) Has rights against the state/community Community cannot trample on these rights o People are naturally self-interested o Freedom is the liberty to compete with each other in the free marketplace o Dominant during the Age of Jackson Sumner – social Darwinism, should be no social safety net The government’s role in the economy - laissez-faire - FDR BIBLICAL (religious, Christian, Protestant) Christian nation: debate 1600s New England, Christian colonies Protestant Christians, secure religious liberty Dissenters, disagreed with established religion American Political Thought is largely derivative of European thought “intellectual baggage” – old world concepts/thinking Sources: Bible & Protestant Reformation Martin Luther Augustine: human beings are wormlike creatures that all deserve to go to hell God is the deus abscondidas (hidden god) Tower experience, we are not saved because of what we do, we are saved by the free grace of god (gift)
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All that must be done by people is to accept this offer (by being a faithful Christian) The priesthood of all believers (abolishing the priesthood as a separate class/caste) Anti-institutional Christianity (Luther should be second to individuals) Bible is open to many interpretations (unleashed the furies) John Calvin Need to bring back the church as an institution [Seminary work: Institutes of the Christian Religion What is the best society for Christians? Institutions? Obedience motivations? Romans 13 (the powers of this earth are ordained by god) Duties as a Christian to obey them Calvin backtracks and says that under certain circumstances, disobedience could be justified Divine right of resistance Tuesday, September 02, 2008 Communitarian liberal debate Duties before rights, community first Libertarian liberal debate Individual before duties, individual first Communitarian: Imagery of the body, organic Emphasis on hierarchy (head in charge of body) Liberals: contract Communities are established contractually John Calvin
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