Democratic Political Theory Eco Ag – Eco Design October 30, 2003 Chad Kruger Kemmis: Community and the Politics of Place “The great, hidden debate behind the Constitution was not about how to balance the interests of slave and free states, or of large and small states, but about the role of virtue, and of vice, as elements of citizenship.” – p. 13 Kemmis: Community and the Politics of Place • “Republicans believed that public life was essentially a matter of the common choosing and willing of a common world . . .” – p. 15 • The federalists believed “individuals would pursue their private ends, and the structure of government would balance those pursuits so cleverly that the highest good would emerge.” – p. 15 Plato: How do we create a just state? • “To know the good is to do the good” – Virtue can be learned – Bad action comes from ignorance – Takes too long for people to learn • Therefore: Guardianship The Phaedo and The Republic – Bronze Souls – Artisans, farmers – Silver Souls – Soldiers – Gold Souls – Philosopher-Kings Aristotle: “A friend is a mirror unto thyself.” The Ethics and The Politics • “. . . everyone always acts in order to obtain that which they think good. . . all communities aim at some good, the state or political community, . . . aims at . . .the highest good . . . Hence, it is evident that the state is a creation of nature, and that man is by nature a political animal.” • The polis is the functional scale St. Thomas Aquinas: Catholic Aristotle Summa Theologica • Key contribution to democratic political theory is that law is the mechanism that the state uses to encourage virtuous citizens. Machiavelli: “Is it better to be feared or to be loved?” • “The people are like cattle. . .” The Prince – written to gain the favor of the ruling Medici family. • The craft of governing is more important than the nature of the governance. Public success and private morality are entirely separate. The question is not what makes a good human being, but what makes a good prince. Thomas Hobbes: The Leviathon • “And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.” [sic] • Hobbes lived through a variety of violent wars, and studied the Peloponnesian War at length. The Leviathon • Without a strong, effective state (central government), the state of nature of human beings would take over society John Jacques Rousseau: Noble Savage The Social Contract • “Man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains. . . How may the restraints on man become legitimate? . . . At a point in the state of nature when the obstacles to human preservation have become greater than each individual with his own strength can cope with . . . an adequate combination of forces must be the result of men coming together.” Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness The Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights "The main body of our citizens... remain true to their republican principles; the whole landed interest is republican. . . Against us are... all timid men who prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty... We are likely to preserve the liberty we have obtained only by unremitting labors and perils. But we shall preserve it, and our mass of weight and wealth on the good side is so great as to leave no danger that force will ever be attempted against us." --Thomas Jefferson to Philip Mazzei, 1796. The Federalists: Alexander Hamilton, John Jay & James Madison • The entire purpose of The Federalist Papers was to gain popular support for the then-proposed Constitution • Hamilton would serve in the President’s cabinet • Jay became the first Chief Justice • Madison became President – Important to note that Madison rode the fence on the issue of democratic theory – He agreed in principle with Jefferson that the people The Federalist should rule, but feared that the people Papers lacked the discipline to gain the necessary competencies to rule justly. Alexis de Tocqueville: Why American democracy works! • "The electors see their representative not only as a legislator for the state but also as the natural protector of local interests in the legislature. . .” • "Americans of all ages, all stations of life, and all types of disposition are forever forming associations...In democratic countries knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge. . ." French Aristocrat who toured the US in the 1830’s and wrote Democracy in America • "In towns it is impossible to prevent men from assembling, getting excited together and forming sudden passionate resolves. . . In them the people wield immense influence over their magistrates and often carry their desires into execution without intermediaries." Concluding Questions • So – are people inherently good or bad? And, more importantly, can they be changed? • What factors need to be considered in terms of developing the processes that make civic democracy possible? – Ex. Role of scale, civic associations, etc. There once was a dream that was Rome.