American Culture Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

American Culture and the institutionalization of the 'sage' in the American political discourse -- are sages necessary?

According to the philosopher Plato, the ideal form of governance was not a raucous democracy, along the lines of the ancient Athenian state or polis. Nor would the ideal form of government take the guise of a modern republic, where popular sentiment was judiciously filtered through the wisdom of elected officials. Instead, under Plato's system of the rule of the philosopher-sage, the popular will and all disseminated knowledge by the media, would be controlled by oligarchs. Plato advocated not the rule of those not of high birth, but those who knew best, namely a tribe of philosopher kings or sages.

Frank Fischer and Brian Martin, in their recent analysis of the failures of the American political system do not offer as radical a solution as the ancient Greek. However, Frank Fischer's analysis does implicitly propose that there is a fundamental lacking within the texture of American government and American political culture as a whole, in terms of citizen involvement within American political society and decision-making. The solution to this absence of involvement, he suggests, is not a more responsive governmental structure, but the institutionalization of the 'sage' within the American political frame of discourse, that of an individual who is distanced from the issues to some extent, and can offer commentary and intellectual and intelligent perspectives upon issues of the moment and also put the perspective of politics within a forward-thinking view. In contrast, Martin stresses that rather than look to experts for knowledge, one must become one's own sage, and profound challenges to government and conventional wisdom have been proposed by many relatively ordinary individuals all over the world, from the author's native Australia to India.

But according to Frank Fischer, American culture is experiencing a crisis of confidence in itself. In other words, as American culture grows increasingly informationally savvy and informationally expansive in its dissemination of data across the airwaves and the World Wide Web, individuals are still becoming less and less enfranchised in the political process because they feel excluded from its technical discourse. Fischer sees the example of environmentalism as unusually revelatory of this example of personal political disenfranchisement of the citizenry of America.

For instance, environmental destruction is perhaps one issue where individuals should feel the impact of the issue very close to home. The destruction of the environment can harm the individual's own body, as recent cancer clusters in areas all over the state of California have highlighted. The destruction of the environment can impact a child within a school, as schools that are not properly taken care in terms of asbestos removal can cause asthma and thus cause a child difficulty in learning if not properly treated. Even on a very basic level of the physical environment, environmental dumping can harm one's own physical home, one of the most important health and financial assets a citizen possesses. Environmental destruction can increase one's health costs, decrease one's quality of life, and also decrease one's property values.

So why do not more individuals take a more involved role in the political process regarding environmentalism, asks Fischer? Yet the American citizen stands back, while interested economic and political parties continue to wreck economic destruction upon the land. Contemporary experts may understand the environmental issues at stake, but they have profound personal and economic interests that cannot be ignored when evaluating their opinions. Furthermore, citizens can only glean the full impact of environmental, and other scientific issues (such as issues pertaining to health, health insurance, and Medicare, to name just a few) from such experts, as most citizens are laypeople regarding such issues. Beck's techno-industrial logic, as Fischer calls it, creates a 'risk society' where individuals are unable to fully calculate and comprehend the full extend to which they are at risk, because of the density of technical verbiage. Individuals cannot understand fully what technical and scientific issues may pose risks to their well-being, or simply affect the development of their future. The recent debate over stem cell research, one might add, in the popular media, is a profound illustration of how even the risks of scientific innovations make it difficult for scientists, much less lay people, to engage in a coherent evaluation of how different risks may impact the future of…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"American Culture" (2004, May 24) Retrieved December 2, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/american-culture-170279

"American Culture" 24 May 2004. Web.2 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/american-culture-170279>

"American Culture", 24 May 2004, Accessed.2 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/american-culture-170279

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • American Culture

    American Culture America is the land of contradictions: fast-food restaurants with low-carb menus; prefabricated pizza parlors next to organic juice stands; "Trading Spouses" and "Trading Spaces." With an income disparity as large as most third-world nations, the United States has clearly become a land of contrasts. Nowhere was this contrast as clearly visible as in the last presidential election. Perhaps more than any other in recent history, the 2004 results elucidated

  • American Culture

    American culture is the result of different social forces mixed together to create something unique: a society which is based on impermanence and change, always looking to the future for something better. There is always something better, something that will help create the perfect society just around the corner, about to hit the market. Because of this view that the future will be better than the present, Americans are rarely

  • American Culture

    American culture and the consumption (patterns) of American youth in television, film, and other entertainment venues Mommy I want that!" When discussing how American culture 'corrupts' children, the first words to come to mind are usually four letter words, or words pertaining to highly sexualized scenarios. Yet the culture of American capitalist cultural consumption is if anything more omnipresent and equally damaging to American children. It has created a legacy of

  • Culture and the Ipod American Culture and

    Culture and the Ipod American Culture and the IPod Apple first introduced the iPod in October 2001, beginning what many would consider an enormous revolution in the music industry. While music had been previously made available on MP3 players, the iPod became the first product that was also linked to computer software designed to help consumers both manage and purchase files. In fact, by the end of 2001, consumers had the option

  • Culture American Culture Prides Itself

    Any other expression of love is considered to be abnormal and therefore not legally valid. In the past, interracial marriages were illegal because they did not conform to the national standard of legitimate love. Many of the normative behaviors we take for granted were at one time forbidden: such as women being able to vote or own businesses. Although minorities have become more visible in American culture recently, a dominant

  • American Culture and Values American Culture Highly

    American Culture and Values American culture highly regards individuality compared to many other cultures. For this reason, it is more difficult to distinguish the dominant values, beliefs, and traditions of American life, because the lives of Americans differ so much, depending on their race, class and beliefs. Tracy Ore, John Langston Gwaltney and Lillian Rubin each add a unique perspective to the values that dominate our culture. Ore makes an excellent point

  • American Culture American Society Is an Amalgamation

    American Culture American society is an amalgamation of diverse cultures, and American cultural norms and behaviors reflect a wide range of beliefs. Cultural standards in the United States can be fairly predictable, however. For example, when two friends greet each other, they will shake hands or hug, depending on the closeness of the friendship and the gender of the persons involved. Generally females are more prone to displays of physical affection


Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved