In leiu of long blog posts on single topics
Posted by meredithancret
The spring 2012 semester has started and I’m sure it will be a busy semester, as I have both work and 13 credit hours of classes to contend with. (I look forward to the summer when I’ll only be doing 3-6 credit hours at a time).
I have 3 Political Science classes this semester and since I don’t think I’ll have as much time to do long posts, as I did over the summer and Christmas break, I will endeavor to post 2 blogs a week (Tuesday and Thursday) after my classes, with a few interesting things I’ve learned in class and some of my observations on what I’m being taught.
Hopefully this will help me with what I’m learning, as much as it helps you learn, even if it’s just learning about how Political Science is being taught into universities today.
Now on to the day’s interesting facts.
John Adams, an extremely respected Founding Father, was the lawyer who defended the soldiers who shot and killed 5 of the rioters at the Boston Massacre. The riot started with a group of men taunting a British Sentry at the the customs house and escalating to throw objects, cudgels, and near daring of the soldiers to to shoot the rioters. So when it turned out that the soldier in command had not, in fact, given the order to fire and that the entire situation was the cause of unfortunate actions and poor judgement on both sides, Adams was able to get 6 of the original 8 soldiers accused, acquitted. The other two got very reduced sentences with charges of manslaughter. The definition of manslaughter, for those that do not know, is “The crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought, or otherwise in circumstances not amounting to murder.”
My feelings on the subject:
Why is it that, when hearing this story, I begin to think of the NYPD facing off against the unruly mob of Occupy Wall Street? Why is it that I can only compare the punishment of the police in the UC Davis debacle (who specifically told the protestors that if they didn’t move, they would be pepper sprayed)?
Democracy, in it’s infancy (at least as far as modern democracy is concerned), received a lot of criticism.
In 1644, John Cotton called it “the meanest and worst of all forms of government”.
Edmund Burke said that “perfect democracy is…the most shameless thing in the world”.
Pure Democracy was, many believed, a gateway to mob rule. Mobs being large, passionate, ignorant, and dangerous.
And these criticisms came from a legitimate fear of mobs. Eighteenth century mobs destroyed private property, burned effigies of leaders they detested, tarred and feathered their enemies, and threatened people who disagreed with them.
Why does that description remind me strongly of the riots in the UK last year, the riots in Greece, and the Occupy Wall Street phenomena.
Our professor asked us to vote on a problem (only a hypothetical one).
Problem – There are a limited number of points for the class and not everyone can get an A.
Solution 1 – Keep the current assignment structure with grades that are based on performance.
Solution 2 – Distribute points evenly across students so that everyone gets a B-.
Much to my disgust, about 1/3 of the class voted for the even distribution. I would like to think that this was based on the fact that the 1/3 who chose solution 2, were those that usually make a C or lower in classes. Because the reasons given were poor at best and were something along the line of “if we don’t have to worry about grades, then we get rid of a lot of stress and we can just concentrate on learning.” The problem with that is what without some type of grading system, there is no way to prove we learned anything at all in the class. Why bother learning anything, if you are going to be guaranteed a B- no matter what you do and no matter how hard you work, you won’t get any higher grade. Without grades, degrees become meaningless, because having a degree doesn’t mean you learned anything and employers will know that (arguably degrees during this day and age usually don’t prove you learned anything either…not really).
“You’ll just have to learn to live with Communism”
In one of my other classes our teacher said that exact thing. He said it based on the fact that we can’t just go into other countries and overthrow communism, just because we don’t like it. (He clearly does like it, but that’s a topic for another time.)
Ironically he forgets that most communistic/Socialistic societies (i.e. Russia), that get large enough and go on for long enough, end up being overthrown, not by outside sources, but by their own people when they get sick and tired of not having all the stuff that capitalistic societies have. Either that or they descend into a terrible economy and horrible conditions for those that live there (i.e Cuba/North Korea) though my teacher seems to have a particular love for Fidel Castro…so I don’t know why I expect rationality on the subject from him.
Also, ironically, he uses China as a basis for why Communism is a good way to run a country. He says this based on the fact that China’s economy is second largest in the world…after the United States. (So big economies don’t exactly denote successful ones do they?) The worst part is, he is completely ignoring that China’s economy got bigger and, possibly, more successful, with every tiny, infinitesimal step they take toward capitalism.
And moves toward Communistic/Socialistic policy haven’t exactly helped our country’s economic failures.
Authoritarian regimes aren’t all bad.
Here is the definition of an Authoritarian regime that he asked us to write down, because it will probably be on a test in the future.
“An elite (small) group which exercises authority over a country without regard to it’s accountability or due process of law. It imposes controls over freedom of expression and ability of citizens to organize to make demands and compete for power through interest groups or political power.”
He then asked us if we could give him a reason why Authoritarian regimes were bad, based on this definition.
Well duh, they act without accountability or due process of law. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
They impose controls over freedom of expression and the ability of citizens to organize to make demands. I suppose this depends on your philosophy, but I see countries that restrict freedom in that way (when a small group is calling the shots) and refuse to all citizens the ability to make changes that they want, as being a bad place to live, controlled by a bad government.
Also this is where he mentioned that many of the authoritarian regimes in the world are beloved by the people in the country and begins to wax poetic about Cuba and Castro.
Wait, if the people love the regime there so much, why do they risk crossing the ocean in rickety boats to escape to Florida? Something here smells rotten.
Also, how do you know that the people love their authoritarian government? They haven’t said otherwise?
Wait doesn’t the government “impose controls over freedom of expression and ability of citizens to organize to make demands”. How would they tell us if they hated their government, if their government doesn’t allow them freedom of expression or the ability to organize?
And in a final display of strange thought…
Britain and Iran have a ton of similarities guys! I didn’t know that!
No wonder Muslims feel so at home there!
Yes, that is what is being claimed. Apparently the fact that Britain and Iran both have leaders who are the head of the church (HRH, the Queen and the Ayatollah, respectively) and they both have state religions (The Church of England and Islam, respectively) means that they have a lot in common as governments.
Maybe on paper…however even on paper they have more differences than similarities.
And anyone with eyes and common sense can see that, in neither case, are those similarities carried out to the same ends.
Why am I expecting common sense from people anymore?
Well that’s the end of today’s post and today’s adventure in my political science degree. I wonder what more the weeks will bring to my attention.
About meredithancretMy name is Meredith and I’m a social media addict. I’m a political science major who basically eats, sleeps, and breathes politics…when I’m not watching NCIS, reading fantasy novels, or baking. Liberals seem to hate me for my very existence, it might have something to do with my being a conservative who is both female and gay…
Posted on 01/10/2012, in college, conservatives, democrats, Great Britain, history, Iran, islam, liberals, Obama, occupy wallstreet, politics, religion, republicans, resolution, Socialism and tagged college, conservative, constitution, democrats, iran, Liberal, Politics, Republican, socialism. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.