gov exam paper 2_Essay

gov exam paper 2_Essay - Take Home Prelim II American...

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11/11/08 Take Home Prelim II American Political Thought: From Madison to Malcolm Question #5 Brownson and Fitzhugh: A Cry Against Capitalism and Support of Feudalism Through the belief in Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest, Brownson and Fitzhugh see the feudal society as allowing more freedom than capitalism. Fitzhugh
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rejects John Locke’s theories, believing they lead to something worse than slavery. Brownson, through an explanation of problems with government and religion, explains why the free market liberal system is faulty, although he sees Locke’s ideas as well intentioned. In their outlines of the false promises of free market capitalism, they consider the better alternative of feudalism. For Brownson and Fitzhugh, the presence of social Darwinism allows a continuous suicide of the lower class in capitalism, while slavery guarantees a subsistence level. Locke, though, claims that every man is entitled to ownership of his own body, which slavery denies. Also, even though the north is more competitive, Locke believes if the government allows one to own his own body and land, the community will succeed together. Ultimately, Fitzhugh rejects Locke’s ideas about a better society, while Brownson rejects liberal values about the free market and offers a more populist, conservative stance. George Fitzhugh’s absolute support of slavery and critique of capitalism stemmed from the theory that liberty and equality was misguided and that the wage system was more exploitative than the southern slave system. First, he says, “…We have conclusive proof that liberty and equality have not conduced to enhance the comfort or the happiness of the people,” (624). In fact, Fitzhugh claims, “…which free competition or liberty and equality beget and encourage, is quite as oppressive, cruel and exterminating, as the war of the sword, of theft, robbery, and murder, which it forbids,” (625). Fitzhugh sees liberty and equality as a phrase government uses to hide its components of the strong oppressing the weak. This theory follows Charles Darwin’s ideas about the social world. In Darwin’s Dissent of Man he says, “With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; 2
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and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health.” Darwin’s belief is that the nature of man is to have the weak die off, while the strong men, or rich men for Fitzhugh, become stronger. Ultimately, Fitzhugh sees liberty and equality as leading to these unfortunate social truths. Thus because all men are encouraged to better their condition, they will inevitably
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gov exam paper 2_Essay - Take Home Prelim II American...

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