Political Science 101 lecture pt 1

Political Science 101 lecture pt 1 - Political Science 101...

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Political Science 101: Introduction to US Government and Politics Lecture Notes Why Government? I. Government Defined A. Janda et al.’s definition “The legitimate use of force to control human behavior… [and] the organization or agency authorized to exercise that force.” B. Other definitions 1. “The body of people and institutions that make and enforce laws for a society.” 2. “The institution that has the authority to make decisions that are binding on everyone and the legally prescribed process for making and enforcing collective agreements.” II. The Nature of Government A. Government and the individual a. Being governed ALWAYS means giving up some individual choice and freedom. b. If you only want freedom, you do not want government- anarchists. B. Why do people submit to government? a. Chaos- freedom b. Values c. Thomas Hobbes “state of nature” i.e. life without government. i. Life would be “nasty, brutish and short” ii. Give up freedom to protect order, human life. C. Principal Purposes of Government 1. Maintaining order a. John Locke- exists to protect people’s property. b. Reflected to protect people’s property. 2. Providing public goods. a. Definition Goods that benefit all individuals but are not likely to be produced by the voluntary acts of individuals Examples- roads, sanitation, education. b. Why couldn't these be supplied in the absence of government? (Or, at least, why would it be harder?) i. Collective action (or "free rider") problem a. A situation in which individuals receive the benefit from a collective activity whether or not they helped to pay for it, leaving them with no incentive to contribute. ii. How does government solve it? a. Taxes prevent this problem. b. We have authority to make us pay for it. c. Government helps get past this can provide public goods. 3. Promoting equality a. A relative latecomer to ideas about the purposes of government a. Poverty, class, race b. How is it achieved? a. Redistributing income to promote economic equality. Very controversial. i. Taxes, social security, public education b. Regulate behavior to promote social equality i. Civil unions D. Points of Contention 1. Although most people value all three purposes in the abstract, they disagree about how far government should go in providing them 2. Disagreements stem from how strongly three underlying (and competing) values are weighted- freedom vs. order- should government exist? a. freedom b. order c. equality 3. Dilemmas
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a. Original freedom vs. order a. government wire-tapping b. Modern- freedom vs. equality a. Equality- regulating taxes, hiring c. Contemporary- globalization a. World scene- US in the world arena IV. The Three Competing Values A. Freedom 1. Different types a. Freedom of : no constraints on behavior a. Liberty b. Speech, press b. Freedom from : a. Government offers government protection against some sort of hurt or deprivation. i.
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Political Science 101 lecture pt 1 - Political Science 101...

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