USFP1 - 1st: Philosophical Underpinnings American product...

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1 st : Philosophical Underpinnings American product of Philosophical dualism resulting from unresolved differences in Western Politics Rights of Individual V. rights of society Strongly influences by Age of Enlightenment Struggle rooted in fundamental differences over the nature of the so-called “social contract” among men 2 principle players: Hobbes v. Locke Thomas Hobbes: 1588-1679 Believe man’s character was essentially flawed Saw man’s life in a state of nature (that is the absence of some ruling force) as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Thus man joined with another in an unwritten social contract in which he relinquished his rights to a higher authority for peace, security, and the common good. John Locke: 163201704 Believed man was essentially good and capable of perfection Like Hobbes, Locke saw men entering into an unwritten social contract, but the nature of that contract was less restricting In America: Locke’s influence predominates Particularly in the generally optimistic view of man The emphasis on the rights of the individual vs. the state Nevertheless, there is a lingering uncertainty that Hobbes might have been right That man’s passion and appetite need constraining for the common good In domestic politics: the struggle is between those who seek less government (free marketers) and those who seek more (civil rights, green: New Deal legislation) In International politics: the struggle is frequently between idealists (hostile to authoritarian governments who seek advance of demo) and realists An added complication Where authoritarianism takes on a more human face Where state totalitarianism or authoritarianism is less evident Where evidence exists of an interest in and commitment to improving the social whole or Sometimes just in the name of power politics, hostility of idealists abates
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USFP1 - 1st: Philosophical Underpinnings American product...

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