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comparative essay

Uploaded by thabiso4 on Apr 05, 2005

A Comparative Essay

After reading Americas Constitutional Soul, by Harvey C. Mansfield,

Jr., and The True and Only Heaven, by Christopher Lasch, I came to the

realization that while they have varying ideas on many topics, they have

similar conservative views regarding citizenship and civil

rights.Specifically, Mansfield discusses his belief that people are best served

through arepresentative government and does not believe that all citizens

should be allowed to rule directly (Mansfield 141). In this regard,

Mansfield contends that people, in general, tend to be irrational and rely

too much on feelings as opposed to reasoned conclusions (Mansfield

29-30). Therefore, if a trueform of participatory democracy were practiced

where all citizens have the right to activelyparticipate in the

decision-making processes, Mansfield believes that our society would not

benefit. Mansfield, in maintaining his views that citizens are easily

swayed by their feelings instead of by intellectual reasoning, believ!

es that professional, special interest groups that are savvy enough to

capitalize on this human weakness, would sway the votes of the majority

and earn themselves a majority vote. To combat this problem, Mansfield

believes (as did our Founding Fathers when theycreated the Electoral

College), that a representative form of democracy is the more viable

form of government which will better suit our society by assuring that

rational, unselfish decisions will be made which will ultimately be needed

for the progression of our free and democratic society(Mansfield

29-30).Furthermore, in continuing with our discussion of citizenship, I

believe that Mansfield believes that through the use of formal, government

institutions, citizens are able to rise above self-interest. He points

to the fact that our United States institution is an institution of

formalizedbehavior. This document requires that actions be formal.

According to Mansfield, the United States Constitution is documente!

d proof that citizens want self-government and that they have the

ability, through formal processes set up by institutions, to rise above

self-interest (Mansfield 151). Similarly, Christopher Lasch seems to have

the same doubts about citizens ability toeffectively decide on matters

of importance. Through his discussions of Walter Lippmans writings,

Public Opinion and The Phantom Public, Lash appears to agree that the use

of self-governing is not an effective form of Democracy (Lasch 364).

Lasch goes on to further set forth that the old ideas of citizenship

are out-dated and that, in fact, citizens can no...

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Uploaded by:   thabiso4

Date:   04/05/2005

Category:   Law

Length:   6 pages (1,331 words)

Views:   2717

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