Anglo-American Culture, Chapter Eleven

Chapter Eleven, Libertarianism and the Reagan Revolution

 

Pre-reading vocabulary and phrases:

Great Leap Forward (Chinese Political Context):

Cultural Revolution (Chinese Political Context):

Hawks and Doves (Political Context):

Hold ~ Responsible:

Burden of Proof:

Lawsuit:

Welfare Recipient:

 

The anti-communist forces in the US and England became stronger throughout the 1970s and 1980s, probably peaking in the mid 80s. The huge numbers of deaths caused by the Chinese Communist Party and the Soviet Union made Americans and Englishmen even more afraid of communism. Examples of communist outrages include The Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution in China, where an estimated 30,000,000 people died. The Soviet Union committed similar outrages in Hungary, Poland and Afghanistan.

 

Americans and Britains, understandably, wanted to be nothing like the communist countries. This manifested in the beliefs of people like US President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Communists wanted to take all of a person’s money and use it in the government, so anti-communists wanted to take as little as possible. Communists wanted to have the government control industries, so anti-communists wanted the industries to be free from government influence. Communists wanted a powerful government, so anti-communists wanted a small government with states’ rights.

 

Ronald Reagan was the first person to make the economic portion of anti-communism into government policy. He weakened labor unions, lowered taxes on rich people, got rid of many economic controls and lessened the regulation of many industries. He also united religions conservatives, libertarians and anti-communist hawks (people who want to strongly confront enemies) into the Reagan coalition that dominated US politics from 1980 all the way until 2006.

 

Please watch this video on the Reagan Revolution:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h4DkpFP_aw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Libertarians:

 

While Libertarianism draws its inspiration from the works of philosophers and economists like John Locke, David Hume, Thomas Jefferson Thomas Paine and Adam Smith, it did not become popular until the early 1960s with the rise of Senator Barry Goldwater. Ever since, Libertarianism has been a major force in US politics, much more so than any other major nation. So what do Libertarians believe? Let’s take a look.

Individualism: The individual person’s freedom is more important than the cohesion of the group and individual choice is the most important thing in life. Libertarians try to defend the right to make individual choices and hold people responsible for their choices.

 

Individual Rights. Libertarians believe that the right to life, liberty and property is natural. They believe that the government does not give these rights, but that nature gives these rights inherently. People who want to take away freedoms have the burden of proof.

 

Natural Social Structures: Libertarians believe that most human social structures arise naturally. Thousands or millions of people, just by behaving normally, create stable social institutions. Libertarians believe that language, law, money, economics and social norms all developed without a government plan, and as such, we almost never need the government to make social structures and should let individual people make their own social organizations.

 

Naturally Convergent Interests: Libertarians believe that people in a just society naturally have the same interests. In a just, free society, factory owners will naturally oppose polluting the water just as much as fishermen oppose polluting water. Oil companies will naturally oppose CO2 pollution and farmers will naturally want to stop cutting down trees for more farmland. It is only when the government uses force that naturally harmonious businesses come into conflict with each other and the general public. Anyone who is not naturally harmonious is probably a criminal.

 

Lawfulness: Libertarians believe that no individual can act in a way that takes away someone else’s freedom. Libertarians want to follow laws that were made by individuals and not the government, and enforce them strongly. These laws should not have any particular design or purpose, but allow individuals to pursue happiness in their own ways. Libertarians also want to replace government regulatory agencies by instead having more lawsuits. This way, the government cannot control people but people who need regulatory protection can sue offenders.

 

Small Government: Libertarians believe you need a government to protect rights and enforce laws, but that government is inherently dangerous. Any group that is powerful, like a government can be, should be treated with suspicion. As such, Libertarians want the government to be weak and small, so that it cannot oppress people. This ideal of small government is central to the entire Libertarian ethos. If the government is small, Libertarians believe, freedom and economic growth will follow.

 

Lassez Faire: People need to buy and sell if they want to flourish. People have a natural right to property and a natural right to exchange that property with others. In order to use these rights, people need capitalist markets and everything will be better if the government stays out of the way. Free economics is better than regulated economics.

 

Keeping What You Earn: Libertarians believe you should be able to keep the things you earn. They oppose transferring money or things from people who produce wealth to those who have the power to take that wealth. In other words, Libertarians oppose taxation, especially when the tax money goes to government employees or welfare recipients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Study Questions:

How successful do you think the Reagan Revolution was? What did it accomplish? Where did it fail?

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Why do you think American voters found Reagan so appealing?

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What is your opinion of Libertarianism?

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Is there natural harmony in business?

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Are social structures natural?

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What Libertarian ideals do you think could help or hurt Korea the most? Why?

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What Libertarian ideals do you think help or hurt America? Why?

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Where can you see Libertarian influence in the US government?

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eiT�%10�մ �ն mily:”Times New Roman”,”serif”‘>___________________________________________________________________________

 

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How much of a role does fear play in Senator McCarthy’s worldview?

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What are the biggest fears of the Korean people and how do those fears affect Korean actions in the world?

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Should it be illegal to believe in communism? Should any opinion be illegal?

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