The video’s argument is convincing, but only if you accept the premise that the extreme left of the political continuum is big government, and the extreme right is no government.
March 26, 2011 — A good friend recently brought to my attention a video that’s been making the rounds lately: “The American Form of Government.” Knowing that I had taught social studies subjects in Texas, including history, government and economics for serval years, he was interested in having my opinion about it. He asked, “Does this sound right? Is there something missing? Below is the video.
After watching it, I told my friend that I had found the video to be very interesting — enjoyable to watch, actually. I was impressed by the quality of its production and by much of the historical examples used to substantiate the video’s thesis, i.e., that more government is necessarily bad and less government is good. But the objective, the whole purpose of the video, I told my friend, had obviously been to correct so-called “elitist” teachings and to spread instead conservative propaganda.
The conclusion the video makes, that “big” government is in-league with communism and other forms of oligarchy like fascism is fallacious on several counts and laughable to me. Notwith- standing, this is a popular conservative theme that’s being propagated these days. To this end, the video could be called effective. It’s effective because the argument is presented in a authoritative, simple manner. But it distorts established political science theory.
This, or something like this, will undoubtedly be taught in Texas high school government classes as soon as the new textbooks can be printed, purchased and distributed, thanks to Governor Perry’s State Board of Education. But political science is not at all as simple as the producers of this video would have viewers believe.
The video’s argument is convincing, but only if you accept the premise that the extreme left of the political continuum is big government, and the extreme right is no government. This is in contradiction with traditional teaching, to wit, that that the left of the established continuum is progressive (desiring change) while the right is conservative (resistant to change). Notice in the graphic below, which represents a much more sophisticated view of the political spectrum, where anarchism and fascism are plotted. Similar graphics depicting this are included in most current political science text books.
I suspect (and I am nothing if I am not the consummate conspiracy buff) that this video lesson was produced by those whose wish it is to see the recent trend of corporate deregulation restored to the benefit of big business and stock holders’ interests and to the disadvantage of middle America and the environment alike.
Some, including myself, are of the opinion that this country is already perilously close to being an oligarchy, a special kind of oligarchy, one that’s called a “corporatocrcy“. It is my bottom line is that it’s not the size of government that matters so much as it is the quality of government. What is it that a nation’s or state’s government purports to do? Is it to, as the preamble of our Constitution says: to form
a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity?
Or is it to simply secure our borders, protect our economic national interests, and ensure that corporations have all the freedom they need to continue making the richest of Americans even richer at the expense of everyone else?
Please feel free to comment, whether you agree with me or not.