DeadGuyQuotes's Blog

American History in the Making

Democratic Models


Dan Snowdall and I struggled with defining Democratic Relativism while simultaneously comparing the various models discussed in class over the last few weeks. We were completely flummoxed by the undefinable nature of the concepts we were discussing and have been challenged with giving the concepts some form. Coming from an undergraduate degree in Government as well as History and possessing general proclivities toward systems modeling I needed a picture. Today, we grappled with the various concepts and settled on the models and definitions as briefly listed below. We ask for comments AND CORRECTIONS if we are wildly off-base or confusing. We look forward to the discussion!

Jeffersonian Democracy:

Characteristics:

  • Rigid
  • Committed faith in a rational man
  • Strong bonds holding the political elements together resting on the foundation of the citizen
  • A priori truths that are self-evident (Divinity, Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness, Equality)
  • Individual responsibilities
  • Isolationist
  • Non-elitist
  • Limited Government
  • Hierarchical, ordered

Hamiltonian Democracy:

Characteristics:

  • Rigid
  • Committed faith in rational collective (government)
  • Strong bonds holding the political elements together resting on the foundation of the government, but top-heavy
  • Collective responsibilities
  • Expansionist
  • Elitist
  • Aggressive expansion of federal identity (debt, taxes, regulations, foreign affairs, etc)
  • Hierarchical, ordered

Dewian Democracy:

Characteristics:

  • Fluid processes
  • Committed faith in the process
  • Reliance on rational man
  • Weak bonds holding the political elements together, risk of anarchy
  • Mutual responsibilities (collective and individual and process)
  • Non-Elitist
  • Non- hierarchical, potentially disordered

Jamesian Democracy:

Characteristics:

  • Fluid processes
  • Committed faith in the balance between government and citizen (high ethics of government and benevolence of man)
  • Reliance on rational man
  • Weak bonds holding the political elements together requiring high faith, risk of anarchy
  • Mutual responsibilities (collective and individual)
  • Elitist (specialists)
  • Hierarchical

Democratic Relativism:

Characteristics:

  • Extremely fluid processes
  • Dynamic
  • Acknowledgment of a non-rational man
  • Strong bonds holding the political elements together centering around the corpus of law giving form to a reasonably constant/rigid democratic processes
  • Quantitative discovery dynamically shifts weight with intangible political “beliefs” as strength of one over the other balance each other out in the “Reality of the Process”.


Democratic Relativism: (circa 1968)

Characteristics:

  • Extremely fluid processes
  • Extremely Dynamic
  • Rise of Government as an Actor (a(x)) distinct from Government as a Function (f(x))
  • Strong bonds holding the political elements together centering around the corpus of law giving form to a reasonably constant/rigid democratic processes
  • Two actors (Citizen and Government) interacting with Science and Faith
  • Faith in Government as a Function
  • Acceptance in Government as an Actor
  • Processes remain governed by rules
  • Gov (f(x)) informs the actors as a necessary element of Democracy
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March 6, 2010 - Posted by | 20th Century American Democracy | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. General questions first: Are the sizes of the circles important? Do we read from the top down? For example, in Jeffersonian Democracy: small government and the political process overlap in political action, and a large citizenry in process overlaps with political action at the local level? And the key component is faith in the citizen? Then in Hamiltonian Democracy, government is big, and the key component is faith in the government so the government circle is larger than the citizen circle.

    For me, I found the text descriptions work better. The diagrams are a little confusing for me. It’s hard to see the underlying structural assumptions in size and hierarchies. I see that you’re trying to put the same components in each form of government. I’m afraid I have to ask “the question”: does size matter? And does Orientation matter?

    I’m not sure I understand the later diagrams, and I think that’s because I’m not familiar with other types of government beyond Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian. I tend to run screaming from the room when political science comes up…

    Here’s how I understand your graph of Democratic Relativism: Government, Scientific fact/discovery, and intangibles all interact together, creating the democratic process. Interactions with government are political action, while interactions without government are social action. The citizen is NOT involved in government but in science and intangibles, and the key component is faith in the flexibility of the process. In this setup, flexibility is almost required, there is room for irrationality, and the political process is more of a balancing act. Did I get that right?

    There is a lot of information crammed into each of the diagrams. I think it needs to be unpacked more.

    Comment by Shadow Boxer | March 6, 2010 | Reply


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