092506_notes_angel - 1 Lecture Notes MC 201, Introduction...

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Lecture Notes MC 201, Introduction to Public Affairs Monday, September 25, 2006 Reading: Tichenor, Dividing Lines , pp. 1-45 Announcements: Immigration panel discussion; Writing consultancy: response paper writing Activities I Introduction A) Motivation --- Last week, this article was on the front page of the State News and grabbed my attention: [PUT UP SLIDE OF STATE NEWS HEADLINE] --- The article describes an activity planned by MSU’s Young Americans for Freedom to dress a student up as an illegal immigrant, or however they imagine an illegal immigrant would dress, and invite other students to seek out and confront him or her for cash prizes. --- For many people, it is difficult to read this article without having an emotional reaction of some sort. --- Immigration policy, in fact, involves many questions about the future direction of American culture that it is difficult not to have a reaction to, involving language, religion, and social norms and values. --- I bring this activity to your attention because it illustrates the sorts of passions that the Federalists feared would drive the direction of public policy. --- That is, they believed that ordinary citizens would become too swept up in their emotional reactions to a policy issue like immigration, or too driven by their own personal economic interests, to voice a reasoned opinion. --- As a result, they wrote the Constitution with a goal of filtering the impact of public opinion on the policymaking process. They wanted officials of the new federal government to be able to exercise reasoned deliberation in deciding public policy rather than bowing to the latest whims of public opinion. --- Today, we begin an examination of how well the plans of the framers worked out. 1
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--- That is, we will investigate how public policy gets made at the federal level in the United States. Since the public does not decide policy directly, who does get to decide? --- And, in the end, do we have reasoned deliberation, as the framers wanted? Or do factions of interest and passion twist policy away from the best interests of society as a whole? --- There are two key reasons why you need to have a clear understanding of the how public policy gets made and who gets to make it: --- First, and most obviously, many of you are here today because you are planning careers in public policy and law. Many of you want to become lawyers, or to become public policy advocates, or even to become legislators yourselves. --- As future participants in this process, you will need to know about the mechanics of making policy: what actors are involved and how do they interact with each other? How do groups organize to influence policy? How do advocates get Congress and the public to pay attention to their issues? Lawyers, policy advocates, legislators and others play different roles in this process, but whatever your plans it helps to have on overall sense of how policy changes. --- Second, as a citizen in a democratic republic, it is important to recognize the blindspots and
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This note was uploaded on 05/18/2008 for the course MC 201 taught by Professor Lynnscott during the Fall '08 term at Michigan State University.

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092506_notes_angel - 1 Lecture Notes MC 201, Introduction...

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