fuzzy distinction between empirical and normative
Normative positions affect empirical ones; also goes the other way (idea that better ultrasound technology would help the pro-life movement)
Are there ethics in Hobbes' state of nature? What predominates?
no; force and fraud
Is there room for industry or agriculture in Hobbes' state of nature?
no; people will just steal your work
Hobbes quote on state of nature
"The lot of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."
Why does Hobbes say rational people will want a sovereign?
they realize they disagree on what's ethical and have to have one to settle disputes or enforce agreements
What are the 'ultimate sanctions' that a sovereign can use?
take away life, liberty, property
Why does the sovereign have those ultimate sanctions?
- tell us what's ethical
- bring order to society
- protect us from ourselves and each other
3 questions that drive political philosophy
1. is there a God? if so, what's He like?
2. are there ethical absolutes?
3. what are humans like?
In the context of worldview questions, why does Hobbes say the sovereign needs so much power?
humans are inherently bad, and there are no ethical absolutes
traditional purposes of government
1. protect us from ourselves and each other
2. protect us from outsiders
3. provide goods and services that individuals and/or the market cannot efficiently provide
broad categories of goods and services that individuals/the market cannot efficiently provide
1. roads, currency, postal service, public utilities... education? healthcare?
2. compensation, reparation - protect consumers from the market
3. things like pollution control that don't make sense in the short run; gov has to decide it matters and make it happen
three problems the sovereign may run into
1. we don't all agree on the goals
2. even if we agree on the goals, we might disagree on what they mean and how ethically to accomplish them
3. how do we prioritize them?
Why shouldn't we surprised that politics is bound up in conflict?
definition of politics
the authoritative resolution of conflicts through the allocation of values and resources
What does resolution of conflict not mean?
that everyone's always happy
that the issue will never come up again
that the ethically or technically correct solution has been achieved
resolution of conflict (what it does mean)
1. a decision has been made
2. the decision binds everyone (although he may choose to exempt someone)
3. sovereign has the right to take away life, liberty, property if that's what it takes to enforce these decisions
allocation of values
1. The sovereign's decisions are value judgments.
2. Many decisions are trying to influence our values.
the set of roles and offices that are established in a society to make authoritative decisions
offices in the def of gov
the sovereign gets to make these decisions because he's in the position, not because of who he is
What are the implications of power resting in an office rather than a person?
power must be limited; talk about what can/cannot be done
roles in the def of gov
expected or accepted patterns of behavior enforced informally by how people respond (e.g. political parties)
What does it usually mean when people say we should keep religion out of politics?
Keep your religion out of politics, but mine's good!
Richard Kirk on inseparability of religion and politics
everything in a culture flows from a common religion (at least at first)
Rushdooney on inseparability of religion and politics
"If you want to know what a nation's gods are, look at its laws."
What argument does Reichley pick up on?
Religion and politics are inexorably intertwined because they rest on a common cultural base.
Reichley's 7 moral principles that motivate individuals and social groups
spiritual reality is the only good
through lens of group, figuring out transcendent ethics
transcendence through individual experience
transcendent significance in related experiences of individuals and the group
ways of separating Reichley's isms
belief in transcendence; individuals vs. groups
What does Reichley think is necessary for building stable societies?
some kind of belief in transcendence
two dimensions of the religion/politics conversation
1. degree of institutional separation
2. church role in public policy formation
strict institutional separation, small role in policy formation (e.g. conservative Protestant churches)
strict institutional separation, large role in policy formation (e.g. Catholic church)
moderate institutional separation, moderate role in policy formation (religious presence without specific stances)
modederate institutional separation, large role in policy formation (e.g. Jesse Jackson, Mike Huckabee)
Why did theologically conservative Protestant churches change from being interventionist in the 18th and 19th centuries to being separationist now?
changing immigration patters mean other views have to be involved now; Blaine amendments at state level refuse gov $ for any church/religious thing; tax-deductible status if we stay out of politics; eschatology?
Rev. basically chronology; Christ will come back and reign; His kingdom is in the future
Rev. series of cycles; Christ's kingship began at Resurrection, and that will increasingly be recognized by nations
Christ is King now too, but focus more on the Church
relationship of eschatology to church involvement in politics
most churches that used to be postmil or a-mil are now premil
Three reasons, according to Dawson, that the West develops differently because of the influence of Christianity
1. capacity for change
2. moral underpinnings
3. truth found in Scripture: need for education
why don't we notice the difference Christianity has made on the West?
division of disciplines and specialization
What are the normative implications of Dawson's empirical argument?
If Christianity is declining and so is our society, maybe changing one will change the others
What does Huntingdon argue in The Clash of Civilizations?
there are 7 different civilizations in the world with basic beliefs fundamentally opposed to each other, so conflict inevitable
Where does Berman locate the origins of the Anglo-American legal system?
Germanic law and Christianity
What does Berman say the Germanic tribes gave our legal system?
language, structure, relational things
What does Berman say Christianity gave our legal system?
morality, transcendent ideas of ethics and justice
civil religion (Wallis)
the tendency to identify key religious ideas in terms of what is our culture, economics, history
What does civil religion amount to, according to Wallis?
idolatry: looking to the state for salvation; manipulation: you make people think the state coheres with your religion because it gives some lip service to it
more or constrained (fairly consistent) set of views about politics and economics
6 tenets of classical liberalism
1. humans primarily individuals
2. private property
3. contracts, rule of law (to organize society)
4. freedom and liberty
Today's debates between liberals and conservatives in the context of classical liberalism?
really just a debate over the meaning and importance of the tenets of classical liberalism
What are some big ideas from Adam Smith?
division of labor; trade happens naturally (gov role small); "invisible hand" of the market will lead us to the optimal distribution of goods and most efficient use of resources (doesn't mean no ethics)
What role of government does Smith call into question?
providing goods and services the market can't
According to Smith, what happens if the sovereign gets involves?
if free division of labor is optimal, you're going to be worse off; as gov gets more powerful, wastes $
What's the overarching reason for Smith that government should stay out of the market?
if humans aren't inherently good, better if allocation decisions are made voluntarily (if the sovereign tells us what to do, we have to assume he's smarter and more upright than we are)
What are a lot of people like Spencer responding to in the 19th century?
series of dislocations, economically and philosophically
According to Spencer's social darwinism, what is the kindest thing we can say?
"Adapt or die."
According to Spencer, what happens when government gets involved?
makes things worse; reduces incentives
Why do some economists argue that we have historically high teenage unemployment rates, esp. in cities?
minimum wage laws - McD's would pay teens $2.50, but not going to hire more people at $6 or $8
What do conservatives highlight about the state of man pre-Fall? (Gen 2)
God commands Adam to work
What are some laws from the OT about private property that give Scriptural support for modern conservatives?
8th commandment - don't steal
don't move boundary stones
Jubilee laws - property and slaves revert to original owners
Why do modern conservatives look at the gleaning laws in the OT (Lev 19, Deut 24)?
They had to leave it for you, but you had to go get it. No evidence of gov being involved - no 'gleaning police.' Poor get cared for by voluntary contributions from family and neighbors.
What do modern conservatives see in 1 Sam 8:10-18?
In God's warnings about what the strong sovereign will do to the people, we hear that he'll suck productive resources, that gov destroys incentives
What do modern conservatives say about the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matt 20)?
Private property, contracts - isn't it lawful for me to do what I want with my own things?
2 Thess 3:10
if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat (modern conservative support)
Monsma's two major critiques of modern conservatism
- gov not the only threat to freedom
- "holding action" - defensive agenda, not proactive
maybe conservatives are just liberals 25 years later (DADT)
What's the difference between Green and Smith's definitions of freedom?
Smith - freedom from
Green - freedom to
Where do Green and Smith locate private property?
Smith - individual effort
Green - organization in society
How does Green see human nature?
Not inherently good, but improvable - by state's education. Until a better condition is reached, it's the state's job to provide children with the freedom to be all they can be.
H. Clinton and R. Santorum on the differences between Smith's and Green's perspectives?
Clinton - "It takes a village [i.e. gov] to raise a child."
Santorum - "It takes a family to raise a child."
What does Galbraith think about Smith?
1) If Smith ever worked, he doesn't now; power makes things too uneven.
2) If Smith were right, we would've bargained our way out of the Great Depression?
What is Galbraith's solution to the problem of power imbalances?
gov must be and/or foster countervailing power
examples of countervailing power
min. wage laws, compulsory education, etc; anti-trust laws, protection (or encouragement!) of unions
Galbraith comes out of the thought of which British political philosopher?
Keynes: demand-side economics
What happens to the Regan Bobblehead Co. when demand decreases?
fire people; fired people can't buy dolls, so demand decreases again; cycle continues
How should gov get involved to stimulate demand, according to Keynes?
cut taxes, increase spending; stimulate economy
What is inflation and what should gov do about it, according to Keynes?
too much $ chasing too few goods; raise taxes (so we have less $ to spend) and cut spending
three problems with inflation
1. can you plan for how to save? kids' college, retirement?
2. does bad things to our ability to trade with other countries
3. what do you do with people with fixed incomes?
In Keynsian economics, what drives the economy?
How does fiscal policy work as a tool?
gov tries to stabilize (not control) demand through tax and spending policy
How does monetary policy work as a tool?
trying to stabilize demand through how much $ is available
Do conservatives prefer fiscal or monetary policy?
Monetary, if they have to pick one; but neither is better
How does the FED's reserve rate help stimulate demand?
FED regulates that banks have to keep a certain % of customers' $ on hand; if there's not enough demand, lower the reserve rate (too much? raise it)
How does the FED's interest rate help stimulate demand?
If we're in a depression, FED lowers interest rate for other banks (that in turn lend to other banks), which makes it a good time to buy a house, car, etc
What is quantitative expansion and how is it supposed to stimulate demand?
FED is buying gov debt to try to create more $
What are three basic philosophies of how we tax?
1. flat taxes
2. regressive taxes
3. progressive taxes
everyone makes the same %; many local and state taxes
the more income you have, the lower the % of it you pay; per capita tax ('local service' tax), maybe social security
the more you make, the greater % of income you pay in taxes; federal income taxes, also some states
How does the progressive tax work?
add each successive bracket to the last (you only pay the top % on the amt of income that's beyond all the other brackets)
% of your income you're actually paying in a progressive tax
% of your income you pay on your last dollar in a progressive tax (everything in econ. is about 'marginal' - what will you do with your next dollar?)
How can we get enough $ to do what Green and Galbraith want to do?
tax the rich (they can afford it)
What does inflation do to heavily taxing the rich?
as salaries go up (tho not worth more!), people are automatically pushed into higher tax brackets
How can the tax code encourage certain behaviors?
deductions come off of highest bracket - could drop a whole bracket (e.g. tax codes for energy-efficient windows)
What % of taxes to the 50% of Americans making more $ pay? The top 5%?
over 90%; over 50%
What are the questions of equity and justice concerning taxes?
we're all equal, so we pay the same amt or %?
to whom much is given, much is expected?
What are the implications of Keynsian economics for taxing?
if consumer demand drives the economy, we should target tax cuts (to the poor and middle class)
What drives the economy, according to conservatives?
people's willingness to invest and produce
tax code's effect on public policy (e.g. marriage issues, energy efficiency)
what policy should be is something we need to think about, but whether the tax code is where we should do it is another question
What's the theoretically impossible lose-lose situation of Keynsian economics and when did it happen?
inflation is high and so is unemployment; 70's
How do conservatives and liberals explain the failure of the Keynes model?
conservatives - the model itself
liberals - the application of the model (it's not an electable strategy to say we're raising taxes!)
Liberals say that Keynes was the only reason the economy survived the 70's at all, in view of...
- baby boomers hit the job market
- social changes leading women into the job market
- OPEC (oil and petroleum exports) starts driving up prices, everything goes up
Laffer curve and taxes
the government can raise taxes and revenue actually decreases, because people are less likely to work
What's the conservative argument about lower taxes (and its counterargument)?
if we cut taxes, the economy will boom (Reagan); spending doesn't decrease, so we run up a big deficit
What are the differences between the targets of liberal and conservative tax cuts?
lib - cut taxes for poor and middle class
cons - cut for rich - they're the ones spending!
Laffer curve and marginal taxes
the question isn't whether you'll work, but whether you'll work overtime, make that next investment, etc.
What happens when gov policies interfere with people's desire to produce, according to supply side economics?
high unemployment (people don't want to work) and high inflation (fewer people to make bobbleheads, so fewer dolls, so price goes up)
Can you use some of each with demand and supply side economics?
Lib/cons positions on capital gains taxes (what you make on an investment you've held for a long time)
lib - tax these a lot! the filthy rich get them; aren't they unearned income?
cons - don't tax! incentive not to invest; it's redistribution of income that's already been taxed
Lib/cons positions on why the housing market isn't doing well
lib - consumers aren't building houses
cons - investors aren't convinced it's worth it
What is the clearest divide between R's and D's, or conserv's and lib's?
Biblical support for modern liberalism
Jubilee - land reverted to its family, debts cancelled
gleaning laws - we're all responsible for the poor
Deut 14 - gov had to be involved (argument)
Ps 82:1-4 active verbs! (caring for the needy and oppressed)
5 implications of humans being made in the image of God
3. stewards - care for
5. social/relational - reflects the Godhead
What are the problems with these implications of being made in the image of God?
we aren't sure how to be stewards, how to be rational; we are no longer righteous
What do Christians debate about the role of gov?
Is it meant to suppress evil, or be proactive?
Would there have still been civil government if there hadn't been a fall?
Is it just a response to sin or is there a more positive role that would've made it a part of the pre-Fall world?
Gov and politics in OT: what do we see by the end of Genesis? What's the question about how Israel worked?
civil government (Pharaoh in Egypt, elders in Israel); is this to tell us what happened or how it's supposed to happen?
Difference between lex rex and rex lex
lex rex - law is king
rex lex - king is law
(king can't just do whatever he wants!)
How does God respond to the problems about being made in his image? (4 ways)
1. Christ the mediator
3. Holy Spirit
4. series of institutions
Christ the mediator
mediatorial kingship of Christ - God gives Christ a special kingship because of His work as mediator - huge implications for gov and politics
Scripture and political implications
can't suppress the truth or say we didn't know. is it wrong to say we should base ethics on our feelings or even mutual agreements?
help in renewing us into the image of Christ
bring order to society in the face of the chaos and evil resulting from the fall, and do what we can't do ourselves (we have parents so siblings don't punish siblings)
what it means to be transformed, examples
if we're being transformed we don't repay evil for evil, don't take vengeance
Rom 13 and vengeance
we're not to take vengeance, so civil gov does!
What happens in Ex 18?
Moses can't handle disputes in Israel alone; Jethro proposes delegation of gov: tiered judicial system (Federalism based on this - divide power so no one person has too much)
Characteristics of leaders in Ex 18
upright, hate a bribe, trustworthy, know the laws
What's really at issue in the characteristics of the king in Deut 17?
character; what motivates them (what we're told we're not supposed to look into in politics!); king is to write a copy
Ex 18 and teaching the law
Moses is to teach the people the decrees and the laws; if they understand the law, maybe fewer disputes, or can be solved on own. gov is to teach morality (for today?)
monsma's 3 concerns with liberalism
1. underestimates what it will take to solve problems
2. blurs charity and justice
3. thinks that gov is more ethical than the rest of us and that it knows what we need, how to take care of us
Why, in the light of Gen 1, are we more comfortable with sharing power than, say, hierarchical Islamic nations?
God is 3 in 1
implications of the fact we live in a created world, for ethics
God has the right to say that He knows best how things work and has the right to say He knows how things should work.
Jesus' creative power, ruling right, and divinity; all things created by and for Him.