Democracy and Justice Studies

Review for Exam One

 

The exam is multiple choice, maybe some matching.

The exam is worth 25 points.

 

The semester began with a delineation of negative and positive liberty/freedom. I quoted Isaiah Berlin and, before him, Erich Fromm in establishing basic definitions of these terms. Know the gist of these definitions. How is the notion of positive liberty reflected in C. Wright Mills’ writings? What was Immanuel Wallerstein’s point about liberalism and democracy being opposites? Be prepared to classify various political-social philosophies (e.g. welfarism, business conservatism, socialism, etc.) as either primarily negative or positive.

 

What is liberalism? What are its hallmarks? What is the preferred type of economy from a liberal point of view? (I mean here generic liberalism, not the narrow politicized definition of the term in use today by the media and political parties.) Despite both believing in the inherent equality of persons, how did Hobbes and Locke differ with respect to their understanding of human nature and their respective philosophy of government? What is Locke’s theory of property? What are the three basic principles generic liberals advocate, principles that are common (even if only rhetorically) to both modern conservatives and liberals? Who is Edmund Burke and why is he important to modern conservatism?

 

The negative definition of liberty is consistent with Hayek’s philosophy, which you learned about in an excerpt from the Constitution of Liberty. How does Hayek define liberty? What is Hayek’s understanding of the relationship between liberty and equality? Are they compatible? What is the difference between formal equality and substantive/outcome equality? How is Hayek’s view similar to or different from social Darwinism? To what does Hayek attribute inequality? What is the relationship between Adam Smith, Herbert Spencer, and Charles Darwin?

 

According to Professor Kaye, Thomas Paine’s conception of freedom evolves from a rather strict classical liberalism to a sort of social democratic vision. Know which works read for class fit into these different ideas, which can roughly be described as negative and positive notions of freedom (with the given frame of reference). In other words, what are arguments and recommendations from the writings that illustrate the differences? What is the focus of Common Sense? What is the focus of Agrarian Justice? What are specific recommendations in each?

 

Professor Kaye discussed the historical context that brought Paine to America. In what phase in the development of capitalism do we find Paine politically active? Professor Kaye notes that Paine sees America as having an exceptional purpose. What are the things Paine sees in America that convinces him of this exceptional purpose? Paine is said to be influenced by two prevailing sets of ideas in this context: (1) classical liberalism (individualism, i.e., individuals pursuing their own interests) and (2) republicanism (virtuous leaders rising above their own material interests). What is the synthesis?

 

Of course, Paine is not using positive and negative in exactly the same manner in which Fromm and Berlin and other legal/political theorists use these terms with respect to liberty, but rather in terms of the functions of two domains: civil society bringing us together in creative self-actualization; political society (or state) saving us from ourselves (or at least those who can’t control themselves). What does Paine mean when he says that civil society “encourages intercourse”? What does he mean when he says that the state “creates distinctions”? What is Paine’s theory of property? Does it differ from that of Locke?

 

What is Marx and Engels’ basic argument in the Communist Manifesto? What is the bourgeoisie? What is the proletariat? Which social class is the dominant class in modern society? Why are they dominant? Why are these classes locked in conflict? For Marxists, what is the relevance of class struggle for understanding historical change?  What are some of the features of capitalist development? What is the contradiction in capitalism that makes the system so unstable? According to Marx and Engels, what are the consequences of capitalism?

 

In Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, what does he theorize is the force holding society together that at the same time transforms it? What is the “invisible hand”?  What is the labor theory of value? G.W.F. Hegel argues that the spirit of culture is materialized through a dialectical process of human action and history making. Understand his argument. Feuerbach takes it a step further by inverting it and argues that human beings created god. What is this method called? What is the logic of Feuerbach argument and why is his discovery important to the history of critical theorizing? What does Marx take away from Feuerbach’s atheism? Why does Marx argue that irreligious criticism is the basis of all critical theory? What is alienation? In capitalist society, according to Marx, what are the sources of alienation and how does alienation affect the lives of working people?

 

Know the “base-superstructure” model presented in Marx’s Preface and Introduction to a Critique of Political Economy and discussed at length in class. What do such terms as “forces” and “relations of production” and so forth mean? How does Marx’s materialist conception of history (or historical materialism) represent a form of scientific materialism? From Ernest Mandel’s summary of Capital, why do Marxists believe capitalism is an exploitative system? What is the prime mover of history? How does materialism differ from idealism?

 

According to Professor Morgan, what is liberal interventionism? What is its relationship to modern neoconservative foreign policy? What is the democratic peace theory? Who were the major figures at the Paris Peace Conference and what were the competing motives that shaped the Treaty of Versailles? Was the Treaty of Versailles, and its centerpiece League of Nations, ratified by the Senate? Is not, who opposed it and why? What were the consequences of the Treaty of Versailles?

 

Was Wilson elected on the basis of his foreign policy vision? If not, what was Wilson’s main focus during the campaign and upon coming into office? What were the events that lead to the collapse of peace in Europe that brought about WWI? Did Wilson rush to bring the United States into the war? If not, why not? What was the US relationship with Mexico under Wilson? What did Wilson’s policy with respect to Mexico signal about his philosophy? What is the significance of the Zimmerman telegram?