following commentsthe crash course video belowwelcome W r i t i n g

following commentsthe crash course video belowwelcome W r i t i n g

Assignment:

  • What is the appropriate role of government and why might one want to study U.S. Government and Politics?


Source Material:

  • The following comments
  • The Crash Course video below

Welcome to POSC 121, Introduction to U.S. Government and Politics. I hope you had a great Winter Break and are anxious to tackle your political science odyssey. We are going to go over issues that construct the very bases of our society. Politics determines how power is exercised and who wins and who loses as a result of that exercise of power. Politics essentially determines the tradeoff between order and freedom. We want and need both of these things but, at some point there has to be a tradeoff, we can’t have maximum amounts of both; where that tradeoff lies is the central issue of any political system. In order to underscore the importance of this tradeoff, one need look no further than both citizens’ and governments’ responses to the Coronavirus pandemic and the death of George Floyd. These issues, and many others including The Supreme Court’s recent rulings on DACA and LGBTQ employment rights, touch on many of things we will be examining right away in the first week of this class: Power, Freedom, Equality, Natural Rights, Capitalism, Collective Action Problems, Classical Liberalism, Positive Freedom and Negative Freedom, Democracy, Majority Rule and the Irony or Paradox of Democracy, Federalist #10, Factions, Collective Goods, Demagoguery, Civil Society, Social Capital, Limited Government, etc. You do not need to be as passionate about these issues, or this subject, as me to recognize the incredible importance of what we will be covering in this class. After all, these are the issues the make up “the essence of our life” as Michel Foucault says below
“…why am I so interested in politics? If I were to answer you very simply I would say this: why shouldn’t I be interested? That is to say, what blindness, what deafness, what density of ideology would have to weigh me down to prevent me from being interested in what is probably the most crucial subject of our existence, that is to say, the society in which we live, the economic relations in which it functions, and the system of power which defines the regular forms and regular permissions and prohibitions of our conduct? The essence of our life consists, after all, of the political functioning of the society in which we find ourselves.” (Michel Foucault)

  • We all have routines, take a few seconds and make a list what you do on a typical day
  • Take a second look at your list: which of the items is completely under your control and which are influenced, in some way, by government?
  • Why is government involved in these things?
  • Can you think of any examples?
  • Why do we need government to help us/force us to coordinate our actions in order to provide things we can’t provide on our own (Collective Action)
  • Could a society function without a government? Please combine your answers for these questions to the assignment question together, a examples from other students is provided below, please do not copy their work. (200 words will be fine)

Introduction: Crash Course U.S. Government and Politics (Links to an external site.)

Student#1

After making a list of a daily routine, I have come to realize that almost everything is somewhat even a tiny bit influenced by the government. Although some tasks are not directly influenced by the government there happens to be this domino effect on things leading to completing the tasks that are influenced by the government. An example that comes to mind is driving to work in the morning, there was a freeway exit that was closed for construction for a while, this leads to a domino effect of me having to wake up earlier, eat breakfast earlier so I can leave the house earlier, which in turn caused me to be more tired at the end of the day creating a lack of motivation for hobbies and activities. Now the government didn’t directly hinder the ability to participate in my hobbies however the effect of the freeway being closed carried on to impact my hobbies. Although this can cause a minor inconvenience in my day I still believe society needs a government to function and the biggest reason being is collective action. We NEED the services that are provided by the government such as roads, military, schools, police, etc. Although some may argue that it is not enough that’s a different story. The main reason the government is so involved in our everyday lives is that the resources they provide are essential to our well being. The government is involved is not always as bad as it sounds, we are taking this course, safe in our home, using the internet which is all provided in some way by government action.

Students#2

After spending some time outlining my typical daily routine, and creating categories within my routine, it became quite apparent that nearly all of my daily tasks are influenced by government in some capacity. The sun rising each and every day may not influenced by government but the Standard Time Act of 1918 determines the time zone in which I live thus when I wake. I make my breakfast choices each morning but government agencies (such as the FDA) ensure the food I purchase, from my local market, is safe for consumption. I have complete control of when I choose to leave my home but government provides safe roadways that make convenient transportation possible through The Department of Transportation. Although, government does not regulate speech the FCC does have a role in regulating news & media that I, along with millions of others, consume everyday. I lock our doors every night but am keenly aware that if I should need protective services the government sponsored Police & Fire will come to my aid within minutes of a free phone call. At each turn throughout my day, the glaring theme of government involvement is public safety.

Individual citizens do not have the means or the capabilities to meet the current demands of maintaining a modern western lifestyle without the assistance of government and public policy. Without government oversight, we would expect to see a change in priorities within our society. Corporate and self interests would become more prevalent, inhumane and unsafe conditions would become acceptable, the voices of minorities in our society would be muffled, civil order would be undone and chaos would ensue. It is possible that some form of society could be possible without government but I would not expect remotely similar living conditions such as the ones we have grown to depend on today.