Ideology, Politics, and Deviance 1

Born out of revolution, the United States is a country organized around an ideology which includes a set of dogmas about the nature of a good society. Americanism, as different people have pointed out, is an "ism" or ideology in the same way that communism or fascism or liberalism are isms. As G. K. Chesterton put it: "America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence. ..."2 As noted in the Introduction, the nation's ideology can be described in five words: liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism, and laissezfaire. The revolutionary ideology which became the American Creed is liberalism in its eighteenth- and nineteenth-century meanings, as distinct from conservative Toryism, statist communitarianism, mercantilism, and noblesse oblige dominant in monarchical, state-church-formed cultures. 3 Other countries' senses of themselves are derived from a common history. Winston Churchill once gave vivid evidence to the difference between a national identity rooted in history and one defined by ideology in objecting to a proposal in 1940 to outlaw the anti-war Communist Party. In a speech in the House of Commons, Churchill said that as far as he knew, the Communist Party was composed of Englishmen and he did not fear an Englishman. In Europe, nationality is related to community, and thus one cannot become un-English or un-Swedish. Being an American, however, is an ideological commitment. It is not a matter of birth. Those who reject American values are un-American. The American Revolution sharply weakened the noblesse oblige, hierarchically rooted, organic community values which had been linked to Tory sentiments, and enormously strengthened the individualistic, egalitarian, and anti-statist ones which had been present in the settler and religious background of the colonies. These values were evident in the twentieth-century fact that, as H. G. Wells pointed out close to

' Figuratively. but when considering the variations between Canada and Britain. These issues are covered more extensively in chapter Three. middle-class individualistic values. that the two great political parties in America represent only one English party. and no Labor Party. commonsensical truism that it seems almost foolish to enunciate it. Thus.4 Ideology. often overlooked. in which he sought to explain to his fellow members what the revolutionary Americans were like. from the English point of view. Its spirit was essentially anarchisticthe antithesis of Socialism. status. law-abiding. He particularly stressed the unique character of American religion. Wells. Canada would fall around 30. on a scale of 0 to 100. against the monarchical and aristocratic state-against hereditary privilege. with the United States close to 0 on a given trait and Britain at 100. that they always are made in terms of more or less. John COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES In dealing with national characteristics it is important to recognize that comparative evaluations are never absolutes.) that the United States is more egalitarian than Europe. Rather. This proposition usually means (regardless of which aspect is under consideration-social relations. violent. There are no Tories . Why Is There No Socialism in the United States? 8 As we have seen. Comparative judgments affect all generalizations about societies. All Americans are..10 Since some object to an attempt to explain a negative. but its trade unions. it devotes less of its income to welfare and the state is less involved in the economy than is true for other developed countries. radical political movement. 9 Both Lenin and Trotsky were deeply concerned because the logic of Marxism.." He enunciated a theory of America as a liberal society. more popular and liberating thinkers who became Radicals in England. Liberals of one sort or another. An emphasis on American uniqueness raises the obvious question of the nature of the differences. have been steadily declining since the mid-1950s. and statist.. also addressed the issue that year in The Future in America. That riddle has bedeviled socialist theorists since the late nineteenth century. This is such an obvious. then a Fabian.. which have long been weaker than those of almost all other industrialized countries. the query may of course be reversed to ask why has America been the most classically liberal polity in the world from its founding to the present? Although the United States remains the wealthiest large industrialized nation. Friedrich Engels tried to answer it in the last decade of his life. is Edmund Burke's speech to the House of Commons proposing reconciliation with the colonies. the middle-class Liberal party. H. it appears as more elitist. in the classic anti-statist meaning of the term: It is not difficult to show for example. . and egalitarian. . 13 He noted that they were different culturally. The liberalism of the eighteenth century was essentially the rebellion . less logical. For example.. and Jeffersonians and then Democrats in America. Politics. but also has never developed a British or European-type Conservative or Tory party. mobility. The statement that the United States is an egalitarian society obviously does not imply that all Americans are equal in any way that can be defined." implied to Marxists prior to the Russian Revolution that the United States would be the first socialist country. a vacancy. Canada looks different when compared to the United States than when contrasted with Britain. stark and clear. [T]he new world [was left] to the Whigs and Nonconformists and to those less constructive. against restrictions on bargains. the proposition expressed by Marx in Das Kapital that "the more developed country shows the less developed the image of their future. 11 There is a large literature dating back to at least the eighteenth century which attempts to specify the special character of the United States politically and socially.' The German socialist and sociologist Werner Sombart dealt with it in a major book published in his native language in 1906. etc.. class-conscious. I only do so because statements about America or other countries are frequently challenged on the ground that they are not absolutely true.3 2 American Cxceptionatism ninety years ago. J. 12 One of the most interesting.. Canada looks more antistatist. Hector St. that they were not simply transplanted Englishmen. It not only does not have a viable. As Wells put it: " Essentially America is a middle-class [which has] become a community and so its essential problems are the problems of a modern individualistic society. the United States not only has lacked a viable socialist party. G.. and Deviance 3 3 when Canada is evaluated by reference to the United States.. Generalizations may invert when the unit of comparison changes. The notion of "American exceptionalism" became widely applied in the context of efforts to account for the weakness of working-class radicalism in the United States .6 The major question subsumed in the concept became why the United States is the only industrialized country which does not have a significant socialist movement or Labor party. America has been dominated by pure bourgeois.. It was anti-State . ..

etc. as distinct from the emphasis on "group ties" which marked Europe. but it may also be seen as the most classically liberal polity in the developed world. that their "dictionary" was "short in words of dignity. written in the late eighteenth century. Conservatism in Europe and Canada."17 Harriet Martineau. and names of honor. is associated with the emergence of the welfare state. is the best known. also wrote a first-rate comparative book on America.15 These commentaries have been followed by a myriad-thousands upon thousands-of books and articles by foreign travelers. However. There is a fairly systematic and similar logic in many of these discussions. and South' Africa-as units for comparison . G. as most Americans about the United States. Their politics reflected the values of noblesse oblige.20 There is a considerable comparative North American literature. Canada." that is. As he put it. Great Britain. The semantic confusion about liberalism in America arises because both early and latter-day Americans never adopted the term to describe . various other comparisons have been fruitful. AND AMERICANISM The United States is viewed by many as the great conservative society. the obligation of the leaders of society and the economy to protect the less fortunate. and Deviance 3 5 logic of studying societies which have major aspects in common was also followed by Louis Hartz in treating the overseas settler societies-United States. Fernando Cardoso. with H. as they read the evidence. class-conscious socialism does not appeal in the Americas. Some Latin Americans have argued that there are major common elements in the Americas which show up in comparisons with Europe. and the United States-is also useful precisely because the differences among them generally are smaller than between each and non-Anglophonic societies. it is impossible to be a literate Canadian without knowing almost as much. "without comparisons to make. the mind doesn't know how to proceed.14 Tocqueville. who observed egalitarianism in a similar fashion. if not more. Politics. were much more egalitarian than other nationalities.23 Fruitful comparisons have been made between Latin America and Anglophonic North America. sectors which disdained capitalism. They formed a populist party because. a distinguished sociologist and now president of Brazil. the family. which shed light on each.3 4 American Exceptionalism Crevecoeur.18 Friedrich Engels and Max Weber were among the contributors to the literature. is particularly weak in this country. while very few of the latter study their northern neighbor. he noted that he never wrote anything about the United States without thinking of France. The two names most identified with it are Bismarck and Disraeli. also stressed individualism. Latin America. an English contemporary. explicitly raised the question. New Zealand. Such writings are fruitful because they are comparative.22 The Ideology. derived from the historic alliance of church and government. Wells. written almost entirely by Canadians. To understand the exceptional nature of American politics. in terms through which the lower strata expressed their subservience to the higher.16 Tocqueville's Democracy. Both were leaders of the conservatives ( Tories) in their countries. The overwhelming majority are by educated Europeans.24 With the exceptions of Chile and Canada (to a limited extent). "What is an American?" He emphasized that Americans behaved differently in their social relations. Australia. CONSERVATISM. LIBERALISM. disliked the bourgeoisie. I do not want to take on the issue of how exceptional the Americas are. in his book Letters from an American Farmer. Cardoso suggested that consciousness of social class is less salient throughout most of the Americas than in postfeudal Europe. and rejected materialistic values.21 I have tried to analyze these variations in The First New Nation. dealing with the United States is more than enough. major New World left parties from Argentina to the United States have been populist. once told me that he and his friends (who were activists in the underground left in the early 1960s) consciously decided not to found a socialist party as the military dictatorship was breaking down. of course. trade unions. In previous writings. As we have seen. They have a great advantage over Americans since.'9 Beyond the analysis of variations between the United States and Europe. religion. that conservatism. Many Canadians seek to explain their own country by dealing with differences or similarities south of the border. those who wrote them emphasized cross-national variations in behavior and institutions. it is necessary to recognize. Canada. as defined outside of the United States. They represented the rural and aristocratic elements.) contains a great deal about the United States. in speaking of his need to contrast the same institutions and behavior in both countries. I have suggested that one of the best ways to specify and distinguish American traits is by contrast with Canada. Almost every Canadian work on a given subject (the city. Specifying and analyzing variations among the predominantly English-speaking countries-Australia.

The AFL was an extremely militant organization. The IWW.25 Canada's most distinguished conservative intellectual. it must be recognized that American politics have changed. And as Friedrich Hayek. define conservatism in America." Grant bemoaned the fact that American conservatism. social class hierarchy. as evidenced by the significant support for the largely Republican Progressive movement led by Robert LaFollette and Theodore Roosevelt and the increasing strength (up to a high of 6 % of the national vote in 1912) for the Socialist Party.30 And he was right. As Richard Hofstadter wrote. Max Beloff (Lord Beloff) and Irving Kristol. Politics. this period brought a "social democratic tinge" to the United States for the first time in its history. as distinct from the Tory or Conservative Party. "Power as it exists was antagonistic to democracy.e. contended that what threatens conservatism in Britain "is not its remaining links with the aristocratic tradition. It was explicitly anarchist. .Ideology.. Kristol believes himself to be a `conservative. its most important European exponent noted. The 1930s produced a qualitative difference. like the AFL. but rather a militant anti-statist group. They failed to change the political system. . which engaged in violence and had a high strike rate. with its stress on the virtues of competition and links to business ideology. so cheerless. The revived American radical movement of the 1960s. it was much closer to anarchism and the IWW in its ideology and organizational structure than to the Socialists or Communists. and an established state church. [which] foreclose opportunities and repress a spirit of equality that has yet to find its full expression. the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). led by Amitai Etzioni. .27 Still. but its alleged indifference to some of the abuses of capitalism.' " since he is "as incapable as most Americans of being a conservative in any profound sense. Grant McConnell explains the failure of the Progressive movement as stemming from "the pervasive and latent ambiguity in the movement" about confronting American anti-statist values. was also not socialist. Indeed.. which asserts the right of the community to restrain freedom in the name of the common good. and was anti-socialist. debated the use of titles. ' " He wondered "why Mr. He noted that there has been no place in the American political philosophy " for the organic conservatism that predates the age of progress. It is not the Dukes who lose us votes. it includes the rejection of aristocracy. anarcho-syndicalist. focuses on the rights of individuals and ignores communal rights and obligations."26 The recent efforts. they are old-fashioned liberals." This situation fuels many of the frustrations that make "British life . . to create a " communitarian" movement are an attempt to transport Toryism to America. the United States is the only soci ety on earth that has no traditions from before the age of progress. Kristol argued that Britain "is soured by a set of very thin. which owed much to the Progressive movement. British and German Tories have recognized the link and have shown considerable interest in Etzioni s ideas." Beloff. The New Deal. the American trade union movement was also in its majority anti-statist. Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman. Its predominant leader for forty years. Samuel Gompers. a Tory. so abounding in ressentiment. . was not socialist either. believed in more union. Franklin Roosevelt clearly wanted to maintain .. Europeans and others who perceived the Gompers-led AFL as a conservative organization because it opposed the socialists were wrong. and Deviance 3 7 the unique American polity. emphasized in his Lament for a Nation that "Americans who call themselves `Conservatives' have the right to that title only in a particular sense. While not doctrinally anarchist. on the role of the government as a major regulatory actor." Americans refer to as " conservatism": a deeply anti-statist doctrine emphasizing the virtues of laissez-faire. ." Like Tocqueville. once said when asked about his politics. aristocratic pretensions . The American system of government existed long before the word "liberal" emerged in Napoleonic Spain and was subsequently accepted as referring to a particular party in mid-nineteenth-century England. two leading trans-Atlantic conservative intellectuals. not more state power." Lord Beloff concluded that "Conservatism must have a `Tory' element or it is only the old `Manchester School.. In fact.. he holds up "social equality" as making "other inequalities tolerable in modern democracy. As recently as the April and June 1987 issues of the British magazine Encounter. but the ` malefactors of great w e a l t h .. The reason is simple. libera1. but how was it to be curbed without the erection of superior power?"29 Prior to the 1930s. What Europeans have called "liberalism. The United States also had a revolutionary trade union movement. the two current names most frequently linked with this ideology. was not socialist. An earlier upswing in statist sentiment occurred immediately prior to World War I.'" i. It was not conservative. or rather. the so-called New Left. that he guessed he was three quarters of an anarchist.28 The Great Depression produced a strong emphasis on planning. but tenacious. George Grant. Their concentration on freedom from governmental interference has more to do with nineteenth century liberalism than with traditional conservatism.. on the welfare state. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was syndicalist..

The class tensions produced by the Depression lessened. but their nomination. divided the government into many units. that is. gradually inverted after World War II as a result of long-term prosperity. The president could reject legislation passed by Congress. a less developed welfare state. established a divided form of government. American conservatism. is subject to Senate ratification. and Ideology. The second and present one. America did particularly well economically. The Constitution provided for Supreme Court justices appointed by the president for life. reflected in the decline of the labor movement and lower correlations between class position and voting choices. however. the presidency. drastically increased the statist strain in American politics. he criticized Herbert Hoover and the Republicans for deficit financing and expanding the economic role of the government. and a tremendous expansion of higher educational systems-from a few million to 11 or 12 million going to colleges and universities-which fostered that mobility." to the power of the Prince . called for a Congress to pass laws. Politics. with the number allotted to each state roughly proportional to its share of the national population. has relatively unchecked power. or more realistically the cabinet. and Deviance 47 many fewer government-owned industries than other industrialized nations. two houses of Congress. the founding fathers distrusted a strong unified government. The United States. but not for an executive. Leo Strauss. The American Constitution. . remained antistatist and laissez-faire. while furthering public support for trade unions. In fact. and a federal high court. higher rates of social mobility both on a mass level and into the elites. But his New Deal. and high-ranking officeholders. those in Latin America aside. This pattern. THE POLITICAL VARIABLES Fighting against a centralized monarchical state. the Committee for (later Congress of) Industrial Organization (CIO). but many of them grew willing to accommodate an activist role for the state. increasingly concentrated among the Republicans. as compared with 69 percent of West German. like those of other federal justices. Changes to the Constitution required a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress and ratification by three quarters of the states. was virtually social democratic in its orientation. Two senators were to be chosen by the state legislators for sixyear terms. The CIO was much more politically active than the older Federation and helped to press the Democrats to the left. And the members of the small (by comparative standards) American labor movement are today significantly less favorable to government action than European unionists. and reflected a deliberate decision by the country's founders to create a weak and internally conflicted political system.32 The conservatives. although this process was soon altered by the emergence of slates committed to party nominees who competed for the popular vote. As the major modern theorist of classical liberal politics. an absence of major economic downswings.35 The first constitution. like other parts of the developed world. while the popularly elected House of Representatives was to be filled every two years. noted: "The United States of America may be said to be the only country in the world which was founded in explicit opposition to Machiavellian principles. cabinet members. In running for president in 1932. where parliament. Almost all other democratic nations. 72 percent of British. The president was to be chosen every four years by an electoral college. each one selected differently for varying terms of office. the Articles of Confederation. socialists and communists played important roles in the movement. but this veto could be overridden by two thirds of each house.5 6 American Exceptionalism a capitalist economy." The new labor movement which arose concomitantly. much like that held by an absolute monarch. with one third of the seats open every two years.33 Even before Ronald Reagan entered the White House in 1981. basically made up of individually elected local elites. Fewer than half of American union members are in favor of the government providing a decent standard of living for the unemployed. as well as of its labor organizations. The Depression led to a kind of moderate " Europeanization" of American politics. leading Europe and Japan by a considerable margin in terms of new job creation. A consequence of these developments was a refurbishing of the classical liberal ideology. Class factors became more important in differentiating party support . The period from 1945 to the 1980s was characterized by considerable growth (mainly before the mid1970s). and 73 percent of Italian unionists. experienced what some have called an economic miracle. the United States had a lower rate of taxation. ratified in 1789. which they had done in order to deal with the Depression. also rising out of the need to confront the massive economic downsizing. the oldest in the world. unlike the American Federation of Labor (AFL).34 The chronic antagonism to the state derived from the American Revolution has been institutionalized in the unique division of powers that distinguishes the United States from parliamentary regimes.

The American system laid down in the late eighteenth century is basically intact. As he emphasized. After each display of extra-party appeal. as E. while George Wallace secured over 12 percent of the vote in 1968. the latter is characterized by "relative statelessness. In a brilliant article on "The State as a Conceptual Variable." No other elected national government apart from the Swiss is as limited in its powers. What makes heterogenous coalition parties possible has been the . Nominees were previously chosen by party conventions. Politics. voters usually recognize that effectively they must choose between the two strongest candidates running for office. Hence. who ran in 1924. the major pre-Civil War opponent of the Democrats.36 The institutional (constitutional) structure also inhibits the possibili Ideology. for two broad electoral coalitions. the law and its practitioners have perhaps been the most important single factor making for political and social change and have time and again proved to be the normal instrument for bringing it about . and Deviance 47 ties for a multi-party system by creating the base for an electoral system which comes close to requiring a heterogeneous two-party system. prime ministers are more powerful. Schattschneider convincingly demonstrated. Given that only one person and party can win the presidency. the two major parties success fully co-opted the protest with subsequent policies and nominees. through proportional representation of members of parliament. The Bill of Rights. and to a variety of legal defense organizations to sustain such efforts. H. who then appoints a cabinet responsible to him/her. no matter how many votes they received. or somewhat. E. on the slavery issue. In any case." J. The American system focuses on electing one individual president. Perot may prove himself the exception to the rule. " The weakness of the state. however. "[I]n the United States. the policy formation process as possible. to the belief that the public. Given that the executive has to be backed by the parliamentarians who placed him or her in office. "only law is sovereign. founded in 1854. Nettl laid out the enormous differences between the European conception of the state and the American. than presidents. The procedures for nominating presidential and other candidates have also become more populist. voters who are not enthusiastic about the two major candidates still wind up supporting one of them as "the lesser evil. and private behavior. Potential nominees must run in party primaries (elections) held some time before the general election. Unlike the situation in Europe and Britain. assembly. is indicative of a political system that has led to a steady enlargement of basic freedoms in the areas of speech. These primaries first emerged in some western states around the turn of the century and became mandated for almost all posts after the 1960s. rather than professional politicians. and included most former northern Whigs. Robert LaFollette. as. often controlled by "machines" or cabals of professional politicians. should control as much of. and John Anderson obtained 7 percent in 1980. although it has been amended to provide for the direct popular election of senators. not to Parliament.37 This situation. been a number of strong third-party presidential candidates since World War I. Other countries encourage more parties either greatly. Since national opinion polling started in the mid-thirties." Third-party advocates have taken heart from the success of the Republicans. through constituency elections in which voters need only be concerned whether a party is viable in their district.6 6 American Exceptionalism have much more unified governments. well as more malpractice and environmental and occupational safety suits than elsewhere. These developments were paralleled by the expansion on the state and local government levels of reliance on referenda. Such reforms reflect a commitment to populism. They basically arose out of the break-up of the Whig Party. P. Ross Perot joined this list with 19 percent in 1992. All of these candidates. American litigiousness is evident in the greater frequency of appeals against convictions. In the United States. the emphasis on individual rights and a constitutionally mandated division of powers gives lawyers a uniquely powerful role in America and makes its people exceptionally litigious. There have. was supported by 17 percent of the electorate. with a prime minister and cabinet who are supported by the majority of the elected members of parliament. usually makes for a two-candidate race. the most prominent of which has been the American Civil Liberties Union. until recently almost unique." Those who have attempted to build third parties in America have never understood these limits. of course. Support for weaker third or fourth nominees or parties is viewed as a wasted choice. but the Republicans were never a third party. which imply the need for previously unrepresented forces to make their way to power through participation in one of the major party coalitions. particularly in the domestic field. lost much of their support during the campaigns as voters reacted to the "wasted vote" argument. thirdparty candidates have wound up with a much lower percentage than their standing in the surveys in spring and early summer polls. many of which are initiated by petitions. not whether it can finish first or second nationally. except Perot. they were not able to institutionalize themselves and become a permanent party.

including congressional leaders. As indicated earlier.7 6 American Exceptionalism absence of party discipline. have deliberately weakened congressional party organization. and Deviance 47 parliamentary majority. or about one for every 363 members of the voting-age population. The ultimate source of authority in the American system can be found in the preamble of the Constitution. When samples of the population have been asked by pollsters whether they prefer the president and both houses of Congress to be controlled by one party or divided between two. there were 511. The results of the 1994 mid-term contests reiterated this pattern. like the British Conservatives or the Scandinavian Social Democrats. the voters seemingly rein force the founders' desire to have the different branches of government check and balance each other. according to the U. majorities usually have chosen the latter response. In the United States. including primaries and counting all offices." Various liberal or progressive reforms.41 They also invariably indicate a preference for small governmental units to large ones.828 state officeholders. whose party has a Ideology.669. of the need for candidates and officials to follow a party line and support party leaders. Parliamentary parties. As of 1992. about half of whom were administrative officials and judges . almost required. the American public has often indicated in opinion polls that it continues to favor a divided government and a weak state. not only are more legal offices open to election but elections are held more frequently than in any other modern society. to vote with their party. must maintain discipline if the system is to work. They are not fired when a new party comes to power. Members of parliaments are expected.42 This should mean that. even though voters do not necessarily wish to remove the president. the citizenry may propose legislation . "all politics is local. Sweden. Furthermore. thereby strengthening these tendencies . and most countries in Europe. has noted that American legislators. are on their own and generally must try to win their districts without much help from the weakly organized national party. Prussia. legal and police authorities tend to have life tenure and are not directly involved in politics. who must resign from office and usually call a new election if he or she loses a vote for a bill in parliament. and constitutional amendments to popular votes. have voted against and helped to kill bills to carry out. the People of the United States. including judges and the heads of the prosecutors' offices and police forces. are chosen by the voters or appointed by elected officials. since many are elected to oneor two-year terms. to an extent. American congresspersons. and since they are usually prohibited from political activity. they are not under pressure to handle cases in a way that might facilitate their reelection or attainment of higher electoral office. Judges are appointed for life.4o In five of the six administrations prior to Bill Clinton's election in 1992. They may have to go along with policies favored by their party leaders even when these are very unpopular in the districts they represent.S.39 As former House Speaker Thomas P. used to express discontent with some of the policies of those who control the national administration. the president's party almost invariably loses congressional seats. American presidents control foreign policy and can order troops overseas. held local positions. bond issues. Most of them. In parliamentary countries. Almost all the major figures in law enforcement on the state and local government level. Its less privileged strata received the ballot without the kind of class struggle that was required in Britain. however. (Tip) O'Neill once put it. This pattern indicates that congressional contests are. but often have difficulty getting their budgets and proposed legislation passed by Congress. In off-year contests (those in which a president is not elected). Canadian ambassador to the United States during the 1980s. such as those in the scallop-fishing industry or logging concerns. American states and local governments submit many proposed laws. Allan Gotlieb. the American electorate divided control of the government between the two parties. Census Bureau. Politics. major international agreements in response to pressure from small groups of local constituents. The American separation of powers allows and even encourages members of Congress to vote with their constituents against their president or dominant party view. the fact that unlike a prime minister. the presidency remains a weaker office than the prime ministership. By dividing the government in this way. 491. in Congress. enacted before World War I and after World War II." America became more electorally democratic earlier than other countries. in many states. well over one million contests occur in every four-year cycle.039 popularly elected officials in the United States. Under such conditions. a president stays in office no matter how many of his proposals are defeated in Congress. other democratic polities rarely or never do. This intraparty diversity is facilitated by the separation of powers. which starts with "We. with 18. The greater strength of populism in the United States is reflected in the extent to which the public has insisted on the right to elect officials or to change them with the fortunes of elections. The non-presidential party also wins by-elections and in recent presidential election years has secured many more votes for its congressional than presidential candidates.

it hardly exists elsewhere. and a number of county and city offices. particularly in the United States where it takes more time to first register and then vote than in most other countries. Banfield and James Q. Politics. The civil service." Americans. and legislators are likely to remain around much longer than the latter. as with George Bush.) It may be argued that part of the responsibility for the lower turnout in American elections (only 55% voted in the 1992 presidential contest. even when they are of the same party as the person they succeeded. 46 Populism clearly does not explain all of the phenomenon. Comparing the consequences of the divided authority in a presidential system with the more commonly used unified parliamentary government points up the way in which values and institutions interact to produce distinct political cultures. This is because our constitutional structure and our traditions afford individuals manifold opportunities not only to bring their special interests to the attention of public officials but also-and this is the important thing-to compel officials to bargain and to make . the foremost expert on the subject. Their legislative behavior reflects these needs and the characteristics of their districts. including ultimately the political head of their department. how- On November 8. and eight city propositions. Austin Ranney. . Since individual votes rarely. more oriented toward special interests. more than their party's or president's dictates. is as high). which has comparably low participation. [T]here is virtually no sphere of `administration' apart from politics. state representative. was called upon to vote on twenty-nine state propositions (we had already voted on twelve propositions in June). and Deviance 47 compromises. like every Berkeley voter. (The 1994 election results may put these generalizations in doubt. particularly its committees.45 The prolonged. five Alameda County propositions. This results in American politics appearing more materialistic. U. American civil servants will cooperate with congresspeople and their staffs in ways that rarely happen elsewhere. Parliamentarians cannot affect their activity. congressional committees. at least for two years. . Voting is encouraged as an expression of good citizenship. have as much or more to say about the perquisites of a department or subunit than political superiors."44 Such a comment underlines the effects of the populist sentiments and structures that pervade the American polity. state senator. The divided government also results in numerous and powerful special interest and lobbying organizations. The strong egalitarian emphasis in the United States which presses for expression in the vox populi makes Americans more derisive and criti cal of their politicians and government bureaucrats. Also. The fact that congressional candidates are largely on their own. Edward C. But that was not all: I was also asked to make choices for president.8 6 American Exceptionalism through initiative petition. than elsewhere. to wait at a red light even if no car is approaching. and more personal. leaves them dependent on and vulnerable to influence from those who can produce money and campaigners for them. In the manner of political scientists of my generation. In a discussion of the American polity. these countries tend to hold their elections on a Sunday. In the United States. Many voters elsewhere take the time to cast a ballot for the same reason they obey a sign not to walk on the grass. are responsible for thousands of new appointments. I made a simple count and found that I had a grand total of sixty-one decisions to make!43 The same differentiating factors are seemingly reflected in varying administrative practices at the governmental level.S. Newly elected presidents. while far fewer take part in primaries and lower-level elections. a right frequently used. unlike America. The dividing line between political appointees and permanent civil servants is drawn higher in most other democratic countries than in the United States. representative. civil servants must conform to the will of superiors. to nominate candidates and to mobilize people to vote has meant that fewer people take part. the frequency with which Americans are called to the polls (only Switzerland. for funding and legislative support. or not to break the law in other ways when there is little or no chance that they will be caught. Hence. senator. and that they must raise campaign resources personally. taking time to cast a ballot is not rational behavior. if ever. however. character-assassination tactics inherent in contests which necessarily focus on individuals rather than the weak parties. I. determine the outcome of an election. Wilson point out that "our government [in the United States] is permeated with politics. has noted the effect of all this on him as a California voter: Ideology. multi-year campaigns. . behaves differently from the bureaucracy in parliamentary unified systems. U. and the mudslinging. The decline of the power of the organized parties. In the latter. as well as in a greater number of social movements.S. of the "machines" mentioned above. all appear to discourage participation. that their parties have little to do with nominating or electing them. particularly their chairs and ranking members. including those for Congress) should be attributed to populism. which is dependent on Congress.

the threat of defeat motivates men to the use of those tactics.9 6 American Exceptionalism ever.52 The question is.. family structure and social values. . have been accompanied by rates of decline in voting paralleling the falloffs in less restrictive states. regardless of the methods employed in doing so. and the differences have been growing. a world record by far. compared to other Euro-Canadian polities.. vote less."50 The country's lead is much greater for violent crimes. of course. 49 A detailed survey of comparative crime rates by Louise Shelley in developed countries for the period 1945-85 indicates that "rates for all categories of crime are approximately three times higher [in America] than in other developed nations.4 per 100. It is still more classically liberal (libertarian). The United States "had an incarceration rate more than 4 times that of Canada. As Merton has put it: What makes American culture relatively distinctive . . LAW. they now favor a lot more government than he did. value emphases.. particularly the need to register to be on the voters' list. 9 for Japan ."53 While all these factors seem relevant. ascriptive.000. bourgeois. As the United States moves into its third century under the same constitution. the last set. and more than 5 times that of England and Wales. people are led to feel that the most important thing is to win the game. Winners take all. By the end of 1993. [T]his patterned expectation is regarded as appropriate for everyone. less law-abiding than citizens of most other developed societies. by fair means if possible and by foul means if necessary. It gives its citizens more power to influence their governors than other democracies.. They continue to stand with Thomas Jefferson in believing that less government is better.. Ideology. In a country that stresses success above all. it seemingly has the same divided form of government and. which promise "success. although the more permissive ones have higher rates of participation than states with more stringent requirements. and but 0. mentions a number of possible factors: tensions from "postwar urbanization and population mobility. values. as we will see later in this chapter." Only Russia was higher . . in nations descendant from more traditional. Americans are the most antistatist liberal (Whig) population among the democratic nations. Shelley. which rely more heavily on unified governments fulfilling economic and welfare functions. and Deviance 47 were in state and federal penitentiaries. being less conformist and. American culture applies the norms of a completely competitive society to everyone. close to 1 million persons .48 But sharp reductions in such requirements since the 1960s. in a significant portion of cases. including in some states the elimination of the registration requirements or permitting citizens to register on election day. " . It is in this cultural setting that. the drug problem. Ironically. 55 The stress on equality and achievement in American society has meant that Americans are much more likely to be concerned with the achievement of approved e n d s (particularly pecuniary success) than with the use of appropriate means (the behavior considered appropriate to a given position or status). Viewed crossnationally. as the American electorate gains more formal power. 54 Robert Merton has emphasized the pressures generated by the interplay between America's basic values and the facts of social stratification in an industrial society. in keeping with the complexity of our times. To the extent that this cultural definition is assimilated by those who have not made their mark. Additionally. has been noted by various sociologists as particularly important . and populist. failure represents a double defeat: the manifest defeat of remaining far behind in the race for success and the implicit defeat of not having the capacities and moral stamina needed for success.6 for the European Union. the male homicide rate was 12. AND DEVIANCE It may be argued that the fact that the United States "is notorious for its high crime rates" may also be linked to some of the special traits of the country as a uniquely liberal.. beyond the law or the mores.. Politics.56 In contrast. But. many observers properly point to the greater difficulty Americans face in voting because of eligibility requirements. the participation gap between the United States and other democracies grows.51 The same is true for imprisonment. As of 1993. is that it is "a society which places a high premium on economic affluence and social ascent for all its members. particularly as reflected among minorities and lower class persons. that he who fails has only himself to blame. and socially egalitarian society. irrespective of his initial lot or station in life. for the corollary to the concept of the self-made man is the selfunmade man. distrustful of government. why? There is obviously no single answer. or aristocratic societies there is more emphasis on the belief that one CRIME. who has studied the problem comparatively." The moral mandate to achieve success thus exerts pressure to succeed. This leads naturally to the subsidiary theme that success or failure are results wholly of personal qualities. contrasted to 1.

those individuals or groups who feel themselves handicapped and who seek to resolve their consequent doubts about their personal worth are under strong pressure to "innovate. industrial. could perpetrate violence." Organized viceprostitution. [are] one of the queer ladders of social mobility in American life . its "marital breakup rate is by far the highest among the advanced societies. may. which does not have a constitutionally mandated Bill of Rights.57 Another source of the high American crime rate may be found in the emphasis on the "due process" guarantees for individual rights. As David Popenoe notes. such "normal" goals as independence through a business of one's own. and by social discrimination from advancing up economic ladders. have not been able to make much headway." 60 Great Britain. .. The law also contains new powers for police to stop and search vehicles and pedestrians.59 But as Stephen Cole notes. the development of new and risky industries by those of recent immigrant background and/or low status who are prevented by lack of education. drug selling. class. as well as more formal and extensive efforts to enforce the law . the United States has many more lawyers per capita (312 per 100." to use whatever means they can find to gain recognition or money. and tort costs are much higher (see Table 1-1). in the view of authorities. in the language of the sociologists. the Health Department has ordered the compilation of registers of mentally ill persons who. skill. including the absence of serious gun-control measures. therefore. In addition to the new law. All privileged strata seek to develop norms which justify their right to high status and which limit. to play the game well is more important than victory. and such "moral" aspirations as the desire for social advancement and social prestige. The comparatively high crime rate in America. according to the latest available statistics) than other developed countries. though present to a limited extent among the social elite. economic resources. the norms of aristocracy.62 As noted.. law-abiding manner. The pressure to succeed may also lead individuals and groups to serve social needs through employment outside the law. which has produced legal inhibitions on the power of the police and prosecutors. Daniel Bell has logically suggested that large-scale crime may be seen as a natural by-product of American culture: The desires satisfied in extra-legal fashion were more than a hunger for the "forbidden fruits" of conventional morality.. including all the other predominantly English-speaking common-law ones. These individuals would be subject to extra scrutiny. Because of its settler society and revolutionary origins. . derivative from a Bill of Rights. in occupations usually described as "rackets. .. and Europe. manners. which is the warp and woof of America's "open" society.. both in the form of lower-class rackets. has responded to an increase in crime through legislation enacted in 1994 which drastically reduces the legal rights of the accused in ways that would be impossible in the United States. the possibility that they may be supplanted by "new men. and so forth is to reward the characteristics which those born to privilege are most likely to have. and white-collar and business defalcation. They also are involved in the complex and ever shifting structure of group. which focuses on the maintenance of law and order and is less protective of the rights of the accused and of individuals generally. has a "functional" role in the society. . rather than individual illegal acts ." by the upwardly mobile who succeed by "innovating"-that is. The law increases government censorship of videos. if not eliminate. and ethnic stratifica Ideology. As a result. ."61 The American emphasis on due process is accompanied by greater litigiousness. The chances of a first marriage ending in divorce in America today are . and the urban rackets-the illicit activity organized for continuing profit. In the morality of aristocracy. This pressure to be creative may be reflected in efforts which established groups would not make-for example. be perceived as a consequence of the stress laid on success. .000 inhabitants. and politically democratic society without the traditions of an aristocratic or deferential order. Since the emphasis is on success in the United States. The United States is also "exceptional" with regard to high rates of divorce and single-parent families. The rackets have attracted members of minority ethnic and racial groups who are strongly motivated by the American emphasis on achievement. but who are limited in their access to legitimate means of succeeding. The new law "provides strong disincentives for people questioned by the police to invoke the right to remain silent.. robbery and theft. To emphasize correct behavior. America entered the era of a capitalist. bootlegging. by ignoring the conventions. Japan.. . ..10 6 American Exceptionalism should behave in a proper. and gambling-has been open to ambitious individuals from deprived social backgrounds when other fields were closed. "the emphasis on individual rights that makes it difficult to prosecute and punish criminals also gives Americans a degree of civil liberty not found in most other countries. more evident in the Commonwealth. .58 This may be contrasted to the "crime-control" model. and Deviance 47 tion. .. Politics. . For crime. those who won generations ago.

While . An astounding 98 percent of young Americans have reported being proud of their nationality. Americans continue to be proud of their nation." The Economist. Japan. in Germany 65 percent.-Ol.000 Population* Tort Costs as % of GNP 1987 Lawyers * United States Western Germany England and Wales Italy France Holland *For latest available years.4 0.1 134. The latter groups are also more disposed to listen to the advice of authority.900 68. presumably reflects in part the strength of individualism. Survey.. The author of an extremely thor .. . July 18. The numbers for British youth were 46 percent yes and 42 percent no.2 49. which are difficult to standardize. to exhibit a greater sense of patriotism and of belief that their system is superior to all others. i_. who note the importance of "selffulfillment" and "expressive individualism" as major parts of the value system.. undermines their developing as rational an orientation to the use of birth control as exists among the less religiously committed Europeans and Canadians. and less law. however. and PATRIOTISM AND OPTIMISM Regardless of evidence of corruption in high places and higher violent crime rates. "I want to do something to serve my country. LITIGIOUSNESS AND TORT COSTS IN SIX COUNTRIES Lawyers per 100.. compared to 18 percent answering no.69 The expressive individualism of young Americans leads them to have intercourse at an early age." 66 Popenoe points out that the statistics are not to be explained by the presence of a disproportionately black "underclass. the replies were 55 percent yes and 34 no.0 81.. he draws on the work of Robert Bellah and his colleagues. and Deviance 11 1 TABLE 1-1. Politics."64 He cites an unpublished study to the effect that "Perhaps two-thirds of all recent marriages are likely to end up in separation or divorce within thirty years. As of the mid-1990s. for West Germans. Europeans (particularly in the North) and Canadians are less likely to. [mothers involved] is higher.68 The lead of the United States in divorce rates. is more difficult. Their greater religiosity.. .5 0. to marry to legitimize birth. 1 0 . July 18.5 0..and rule-conforming than the populations of other countries."63 In a sophisticated effort to make sense out of divorce rates crossnationally." 81 percent of young Americans said yes."r." The Economist.. especially among whites. SOURCE: Adapted from "The Rule of Lawyers.. anti-elitist.6 ough comparative analysis of Teenage Pregnancy in Industrialized Countries seeks to account for these seemingly contradictory results as stemming from Americans being more intensely religious. do you think [next year] "Order in the Tort. twice that of the closest European competitor. they were 29 percent yes to 40 no. Interpreting the higher American teenage pregnancy rate.. 3-4. pp. 1992. and France. Survey. 35 percent 71. 1992.. find that Americans are invariably more positive-usually much more so-on items measuring such beliefs than the citizens of the other industrialized democracies. They continue to believe in America and its superiority as a social system.700 5."65 As in other countries.067 46. and in France 80 percent. about one in two. which occurs in tandem with a propensity. The corresponding percentages for other countries are: Britain. "the United States has witnessed a rise in illegitimacy ratios and that in turn has also affected divorce rates ." though blacks have higher divorce and teenage birth rates than whites.401 27. also show up as among the most optimistic people in Gallup Polls taken annually in thirty countries between 1976 and 1992 in response to the question: "So far as you are concerned. [the] percentage of single-parent families also ranks highest. Americans. Opinion polls taken in the late 1980s and early 1990s in most European countries._..1 35." while "divorce in America today has become almost as common among the higher classes as among the lower. 75 percent of American adults continue to say they are proud to be Americans. The numbers for youth in the United Kingdom are 58 percent." When asked to react to the statement.0 190. The degree of patriotism is higher still for American youth. prior to the recession of the early nineties. The rate of teenage pregnancy among whites alone is "still .000 115. 54 percent.1 3 .2 2. 780. [since the] rate of divorce among . while among French youth. individualistic.124 312.70 And when pregnancy occurs. Acepcionattsm Ideology. . West Germany. "67 In seeking to explain American uniqueness in this area.5 0.In line with these findings.. 20 percent. which goes back to the nineteenth century. William Goode also concludes that the divorce rate in the United States "is probably higher than that of any other nation.. and North America. the large majority of teenage white Americans marry.

it was still higher than in other nations. The next chapter continues this discussion.12 /_ timencan txceptionalism will be better or worse than [last year]?"74 And while the proportion voicing optimism declined during the recession of the early nineties. and welfare policies. focusing on the economy. religion. .

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