Political Science | Making Democracy Work
Y212 | 3552 | Isaac
Commentators from across the political spectrum agree that American
democracy is in trouble. Large numbers of American citizens do not vote, and
many have little faith in the two-party system. Many citizens believe that
political institutions are not a source of public welfare, but rather a
source of massive corruption. The welfare state is under siege and American
culture seems frayed by gender, sexual, and racial antagonisms.
How might these problems plaguing American politics be resolved? How
might American democracy be reconceived? One answer is that the welfare
state needs to be dismantled so that the economic free market and the
voluntary institutions of civil society might empower Americans. The
Republican party has tried to apply this philosophy in its legislative
agenda. This an attractive vision, one with which many Americans agree.
But it is not without its problems. Is cutting federal programs synonymous
with the enhancement of local democracy? Is liberating the free market
consistent with the flourishing of intermediate institutions like families,
churches, synagogues, and voluntary associations? Can new forms of
discipline, imposed by federal legislation on crime, welfare, and civil
litigation, really create a new civic culture in America?