Social Movements

The study of Government, Politics, and Governance in the United States is a subdiscipline within the discipline of “political science” which itself is a sub-discipline with the
larger social & behavioral sciences. A discipline is defined by adherence to certain rules and
patterns of inquiry following standards of professional practice in ascertaining what we know
and do not know and what we accept as verified truth and what we do not. This is also
explicitly, the sub-discipline of “American Politics.” As citizens of this republic, one engages in
this study (e.g. takes a course) explicitly to empower persons in their civic education as citizens
of a larger world and life in The United States explicitly. It can be argued these are perilous
times within which we must seek to thrive (rather than merely survive).
From different points of view both the political Right and the political Left see the very
nature of what this government and social contract may be as being at stake. Is the republic at
risk? If so, how? Whose vision of America is more valid? And, how will you negotiate and
thrive in this legitimacy crisis?
This is by way of saying, the reason
why one takes a course in American
governance (or for that matter, any course
one takes, I mean… hello!) is to empower
you in becoming more effective in life as
persons, workers, and as citizens of the
world. We can assume you do not want to
be victims of events nor do you want to
define yourself as “survivors” of crisis. You
want to be able to thrive! Or more simply,
you want the means by which to live a
happy life. That’s why we are here.
The reason to study politics is So our children may have the liberty to engage in
commerce; in order to give their children a right to pursue painting, poetry, and music.
~ John Adams
The starting point of studies in political science is to define the parameters of this time in
“the human story” (i.e. history). One ongoing struggle in American governance is the
importance of the issues involved in the struggle for power between ideas in conflict. A complex
set of ideas or “narrative” which guides all social, private, and public behavior in a society is
called an “ideograph.” One major struggle between ideographs in America today is between the
notion of “The Purposive State” ideograph (the ethos that the state has a purpose in building,
maintaining, and supporting a vibrant public sphere & social contract wherein the pursuit of
happiness is through a preferential option for human rights and appeals to reality based truth as
interpreted differently by liberals, conservatives, and radicals) and “The Wilding State”
ideograph (deferring to a more “right libertarian” or Ayn Rand conservative individualistic ethos
of a concentration of individuals