Journal Post (Week 7)
Journal posts a place to capture what you find to be the main points of our reading and to develop a response that builds on and pushes beyond the Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal textbook. For this week’s journal you must select and critically reflect on one of the primary source readings from Ideals and Ideologies. Possible selections are listed below.
I have adapted a template for journal posts from the book They Say, I Say (see below). The template has two components: the first is summary and the second analysis. I expect you to use this template for each journal entry. Journal posts must be 500-750 words in length.
You must also respond to two other student posts. Your responses should focus on the strengths and weaknesses of you classmates’ posts. For example, you might comment on a particular aspect of a post by articulating why you agree with it or why you find it illuminating. With respect to weaknesses you might highlight issues of clarity or disagreement. If you can’t find anything you disagree with you may also choose to take the position of devil’s advocate, i.e. articulate potential points of disagreement. Your responses can focus either on the summary or the analysis.
I&I readings for week 7:
Lenin, “Revisionism, Imperialism, and Revolution” (p. 269)
Sanders, “On Democratic Socialism in the United States” (p. 321)
“They Say, I Say” Argument Template
The general argument made by author X in her/his work, _______________, is that _______________. More specifically, X argues that _______________. She/he writes, “ _______________.” In this passage, X is suggesting that _______________. In conclusion, X’s belief is that _______________.
In my view, X is wrong/right, because _______________. More specifically, I believe that _______________. For example, ___________. Although X might object that __________, I maintain that _______________. Therefore, I conclude that
Journal Post (Week 7): Sanders, “On Democratic Socialism in the United States”
The general argument made by Bernie Sanders in his essay “On Democratic Socialism in the United States” is that democratic socialism is a political ideology that is not only consistent with American values, but also provides solutions to the problems faced by American society. More specifically, Sanders argues that democratic socialism is not an extremist ideology that seeks to abolish private property or individual rights, but rather it is a political philosophy that believes in a mixed economy, a robust welfare state, and an active government that protects the rights of workers and ensures that everyone has access to healthcare, education, and housing. Sanders writes, “Real freedom must include economic security… It means that people should not be denied the basic necessities of life when they are old, sick, or disabled” (p. 326). In this passage, Sanders is suggesting that economic security is a fundamental human right that should be guaranteed by the government. In conclusion, Sanders’ belief is that democratic socialism can help to build a more just and equitable society that benefits all Americans.
In my view, Sanders is right, because democratic socialism is a political philosophy that is grounded in the principles of social justice, equality, and democracy. More specifically, I believe that democratic socialism offers a viable alternative to the prevailing economic and political system in the United States, which is characterized by inequality, exploitation, and political corruption. For example, the current healthcare system in the US is inadequate, with millions of people lacking access to affordable healthcare. Democratic socialism proposes a single-payer healthcare system, which would ensure that every American has access to quality healthcare regardless of their income or employment status. Although Sanders might object that democratic socialism would require a significant expansion of the government’s role in the economy, I maintain that this is necessary in order to ensure that everyone has access to basic necessities and that the market does not produce outcomes that are unfair or harmful to the public.
Furthermore, democratic socialism is not a new idea, and it has been successfully implemented in many countries around the world. For example, Nordic countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Denmark have a mixed economy, a robust welfare state, and high levels of social equality. These countries consistently rank among the happiest and most prosperous in the world, with high levels of public trust and civic engagement. This suggests that democratic socialism can provide a model for a more humane and democratic society that benefits everyone, not just the wealthy few.
In conclusion, I believe that democratic socialism is a viable and desirable political ideology that can help to create a more just and equitable society. While there are certainly challenges and potential pitfalls associated with implementing democratic socialism, the current state of American society suggests that the status quo is not working for many people, and that a new approach is needed. Democratic socialism offers a compelling vision of a society that values people over profit, and that seeks to promote the common good rather than the interests of the wealthy and powerful.
Sanders, Bernie. “On Democratic Socialism in the United States.” In Ideals and Ideologies: A Reader, edited by Terence Ball and Richard Dagger, 8th ed., 321-327. New York: Pearson, 2021.
Responses to classmates:
I found your journal post on Lenin’s “Revisionism, Imperialism, and Revolution” to be well-written and informative. I appreciated your analysis of Lenin’s argument that revisionism is a betrayal of the revolutionary struggle and that imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism. Your explanation of Lenin’s belief that capitalism inevitably leads to imperialism and war was particularly insightful, and I think you did a good job of connecting Lenin’s ideas to current events such as the war in Afghanistan. One potential weakness of your post is that you