this is a very rich topic as habit that there's so many different things to say about so what I'd like to do today is to first of all trouble you a little bit and then really upset and then hopefully sir drawing back thinking that maybe this guy has a point anyways even though a lot of my senses are positively true so starting with the the topic of badness and identity politics but the notion of fat as a political issue i think is still very unusual to people it sounds very counterintuitive that that could be a political issue susie orbach 30 years ago suggested that fat was a feminist issue an idea which I think has become almost platitudinous in a way but as a professor so he indicates has perhaps been a serious injury arises in a variety of ways the feminism it's been mr.
Proclaiming that the person was the political and certainly I think that's nowhere more true than the context of arguments troubles over body weight in American culture today now what I'd like to do today is first of all the way out why I think we're in the grip of a moral panic on the issue of weight in America and then make an analogy to another area of social contention that is I think usefully compared to the moral panic that we're having overweight especially to the question of the kind of cures that are being put forward for the supposed crisis health crisis that we're facing because of the fattening America now I premises with the usual academic caveats about analogies being limited by their very nature as a strippa logician will point out say a is like B is always going to be to some extent false given that a is not be so there's going to be ways in which these analogies are not perfect if you wish to dismiss what I'm saying by pointing out that what I'm saying is not perfectly analogous feel free because you will certainly have been used to do that but that being said I do think analogy in this kind of contest we can secretly power organs and cause people to think about things in ways that they otherwise would not have considered so beginning first of all oh maybe said let me say a couple words first about how I got into this business in the first place I was a law professor and a lawyer by training and so are people naturally especially doctors are often curious as to why I am cramming them about their they're mistaken views on the relationship between body weight and health I got into this originally because there was a president of the United States name to a Clinton's 1990s and he had a lays on of a woman named Monica Lewinsky and the I was in a conference of a patient Bill Clinton at the time and I was a discover that that would seem to be a tremendous amount of anxiety and the culture about the fact that Monica was he was born with fact and it was a tremendous amount of discussion of that could understand it and I was doing that confidence and I had to fill enough a gap in the program with speaker drop that I was going to talk about media coverage and so I just did Alexis search an online search I put in the search charms Lewinsky and zaftig because I notice the word softy just out of curiosity how many of you know the words out that means maybe ten fifteen percent and imagining it is very very many socio-economic determines that we have no idea what was optic means i think is a yiddish ism it's from the german word for juicy and originally advanced custom n a curvaceous and therefore logically desirable woman but through semantic drift and became a euphemism for fat so to call it open and soft it was essentially it such a polite way of saying she was fat and so I was wondering why are all these stories singling that Monica Lewinsky is quote unquote fat and also by the way not coincidentally Jewish what's going on there especially given that the vast majority of Americans have no idea for words optic means and it was and a hundred stories that use the turns out digging and describing always that's how I got into it in the first place and then there's a really long story as in regard to how I found that this sounds like a wild separation but I tell you is true Bill Clinton got impeached because Monica this people together diet that is literally true and to find out how this little human companies but so with well just bracket at the moment that's how I got into it and when I was when I was getting too into the subject issue that I was just going to talk about bad anxiety in the context of a Clinton presidency and like most people of my background I just assume that it was true that mean that was really bad for you from a health perspective and I wasn't really questioning at all the venice area that sometimes the case for that proposition very poorly supported actually so much so that it could be analogized to a lot of other panics that we have in society or the risks that are either small such as smoking marijuana or non-existent such as being subjected to satanic abuse while you are a preschooler which probably none of probably some of you in my math you're some of you at least may have actually been none of you were subjected to can't refuse at that time but there was in the nineteen eighties in the United States a huge panic over a satanic ritual abuse in our preschools believe it or not there was a one of probably the most famous trial at your place regarding this happened right here in Los Angeles the McMartin trial I without my sentence essentially it was a not saying that no preschoolers ever been subjected to Costa tannic abuse but what happened was that there was the click on that there were hundreds of cases of this all around the United States and what it really turned on is essentially anxieties about women going into the pain workforce a band on the the satanic ritual users essentially imagined in three schools where this or folk Devils of this moral panic over having so anyways the young it turns out that that that the fat panic we're having America's largely like that it's a largely like reefer madness it's largely life satanic ritual abuse in our preschool it's largely like 153 kindness in the State Department Joel McCarthy it's piece of paper it's largely like crack babies will be known supercriminals I'm sure some of you will if you haven't already encountered these social phenomenon study more organized in a variety of social science concepts so to get to the meat gritty of why we're having now or how it is that we're having a panic or fat in the culture um let me just a sort of a few things for sort of punta there's a possible statistical demonstration of the things that i'm saying you can check that out check your visa first of all the correlation between Wayne and health is actually fairly weak except in real statistical extremes if you look at very thin people or whether we're rarely talked about in this context and extremely bad people you do see some kind of a significant correlation between health risk and weight but you probably have to be looking at fairly extreme subgroups of the population for the vast majority of people for essential for one hundred percent of people who are classified as overweight in our culture and for most of the people who are classified as obese in our culture going to have to go these four categories under way to never talk about and almost impossible for any human being to achieve it about like starvation towards rationalism Hollywood actresses then normal weight which means thinner than me and seriously and then are overweight which is me and eighty percent release and then obese which is like a really fat category well I'm is over though there's no increased risk associated with a boy whatsoever and in fact the highest i should say the lowest mortality list in the launch life expectancy is found in the overweight category so that's it has this Pony a category as you can get the lowest category on most people movies can we do not have increased mortality risk associated with their way although very very bad people do so correlation between weight and helpers in general and mortality was in particular is weak and tremendously exaggerated in the literature second as I'm sure many of you have already discovered by being introduced to those to the concept of the relationship and correlation and causation correlation is not the same thing as causation the fact that you see some correlation between body weight and health risk as distal experience does not mean that the body weight is causing the health risk it's associated with it but that's a different matter there's all kinds of reasons why there might be a correlation that is it's positive if you find that people like yellow t have a mutton-headed of stratospherically higher rate of developing lung cancer in the United States and people who don't that does not mean that teeth whitening is going to greatly reduce the risk of contracting lung cancer for reasons that I'm sure you can all figure out for yourself the confounding variables that might lead to people who are significantly heavier than average having increased health risk rather than the weight itself is identical let me just name a few lower socioeconomic status which is strongly associated with higher way the cultural the crab you are the more likely you are to be poor I mean comports and gentle bring bad for your health for all kinds of reasons in the United States not least of which being that we have a highly dysfunctional healthcare system at least four can put more now privileged a situation another reason why a very people who are significantly higher in the average might have increased health risk is dieting dieting is in general a pretty bad for people's health specifically was harmful people's health is is a weight fluctuation is so-called yo-yo dieting and wishes the outcome of a significant percentage of diet affects what people do is lose weight them to gain it back and at least certain cases more so when the effect that you get is the in the studies that I've looked at this have all found either that there is a there's a risk associated with weight fluctuation or there's no effect there are no studies that show that there's a positive outcome to a graduation which is very strongly suggest that weight fluctuations per se that all kinds of reasons is strongly associated with in competed with the increased congestive heart failure I'm hypertension and with and with other bad things as well so dieting which is the cure of course or the obesity epidemic and they they're compelled me actually the cause of the health risks associated the cause of many of the health risks associated with fatness another thing that's very bad for people's health is stressed I can feel the stress in this room right now it's just very comfortable to talk about this subject because people and I can go and win in this culture are basically largely uncomfortable with their bodies in regard to well thank you ok all right ok better speed up now I mean visit any I'm being a little bit decisions and I don't I don't wish me this is just because this is a census I think it's an extraordinary jen and subject I me just take a look round all right why am I getting to talk away i am about this kind of thing even though I'm quota for Roy which I am for it can we get on their cover because a man and there's a second reason I can what it is mainly about man and therefore i have 0 at time i think even though i'm overweight I'm thin right I'm thin in terms of the social meaning of thinness in our cultural man of my particular social class of that by the so forth is tight as thin and therefore even though i call it away at the BMI you know 25 change 5 367 pounds and that makes me overweight or the US government I am socially thin so I'm a man so I get to say whatever I want about weight and not be judged for it because nobody cares one that way needless to say i'm painting of their we brought fresh air okay so yes you know weight discrimination definitely affects men and it's not as if this kind of craziness does not have negative effects on men to it certainly does but it has a vastly stronger effect on women as i'm sure many recognize from his real life experience so i'm a man I can say what I want about weight without being judged by it for it and secondly I'm thin if I was a woman and I was 5 8-9 is 57 pounds i would not be thin even though ever have exactly the same body mass though I physiologically i have seen BMI body mass index but socially i would be in this context at least upper class privileged institution of higher learning i will be math and therefore of course i would not have standing to say anything about this because obviously quote unquote i will be rationalized for my own failure to have maintained in the glorious body type so stressed you're stressing about this right now okay that's bad for our health so this whole exercise is at least as a short term matter backyard isn't any good real long but worth it right now feel some stress to talk about this very subject so the correlation between weight and help us a week causation in regard to that correlation is very poorly established essentially not stablished at all because epidemiologist it's really improve science and when it's just impossible to control rigorously for the kind of confounders that we want to be able to control for saying they really didn't differ about the subject a third and this is the part that never ever gets acknowledged by people who know better even though they will acknowledge them and just renowned with the pronounced of a monstrous foot second later we can't make people thin okay there's no empirical proposition in medicine that is better established than this there is no no way to produce significant long-term point loss in a statistically significant population just don't know how to do it and that includes weight loss surgery or stomach annotation that does not produce significant long-term weight loss among most people who undergo it certainly what absolutely fails completely in terms of sequence significant long-term weight loss is random people about their weight and telling them that if they ate right and exercise more they would be thin for the vast majority of people that prescription is a complete failure now it's a hopefully relatively rare in medicine in particular and social policy in general to keep pursuing an intervention which is demonstrably a failure over and over again e of the you I'm Sherman no the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result that's just not right there's a very well done study here right here at UCLA about three years ago authored by Tracy man and others which had really excellent produce really excellent data for the question of how how well do diet programs were and the answer is they don't write it is I mean this is this is one of these things that is certainly in co Hagel you know my many people but no the really rigors they demonstrated in this study and very usefully so so even if it were true that the correlation between weight and health was strong even if it were true that the causation the causation that is pivotably a product of that correlation have been well established which it hasn't even if all that wood tree would still would not make sense to produce to pursue weight losses of probably how the remediation given that we don't know how to use it now I know a lot of you are thinking right now well I just know that's not true in my case because it may be true on mas so to speak but it's not true for me because i know that i just did x y and z I would weigh five pounds less or ten pounds less or 20 pounds less or 50 pounds less than I weigh right now which is what I should be doing but I shouldn't have had that little something together when I walked in but it was right hungry in but I go the you know I'll go to the gym for three hours tomorrow we can many people then maybe you're the exception there are exceptions of course are exceptions to every because I will get two other times but in general we can make people think about this given that our testament asian are not only failures but also positively harmful in all kinds of ways both physiologically and psychologically and given then finally the final point example says here that fitness is absolutely not necessary for hell what sense does it have to have a social policy as we do in the United States right now based on the notion that we are trying to make people thinner and for the purposes of improving their health the answer is that's a rhetorical question no sense at all in fact it's a miami sociologists don't like this kind of phraseology improve good reason but it's basically crazy it's a kind of cultural madness on on the loose and one of the great things about sociology as a feel is that it allows one to consider that today's in do tible scientific truth I'm firmed by the very best and highest authorities and consensus panels all over the world of mission statements of the world health organization and by your mother like all the top authority figures that all those things which are today and one day's truths that we hope to be self-evident then good that bad is tomorrow's unbelievable nonsense that you just can't understand how anybody could have built into that we see this over and over again in the history of science and history of Medicine in society in general and it's my belief I don't know when could be tomorrow it could be 50 years from now we will look that on the current orientation towards way in this culture and health as a form of social praising is similar to way that lots of people although unfortunately not our legal system look at things like reefer madness today or satanic ritual abuse in our preschools which I have to assure she was a really big deal 25 years ago so that's the UH that's the the thesis that's the situation I think and now I'd like to draw an analogy to another controversial topic which i think is usefully comparable in various ways a little different than others of course to the situation with fat panic in America today here I need to say a little something about terminology the word fat is almost like a verbal assault in this culture right I can't even say it's a without causing people to like I do that to Elysium researchers all the time private pray it's like what you have against back and it's like saying that is like saying that levels words you're just not supposed to say to people we're going I notice in the context of the Clinton whiskey they got it people fledged a lot less its semen stain dressed and then back I guess they'd seen same dress into my mother okay crazy about it but dad as another cab you have to be sour the but he's important to use the word because as Marilyn Juan all had to come to her talk a month from now but really want makes me look like Miss Manners and we are talking about this stuff and she's only a super powerful and important really sneaker as Marilyn Juan what has reminded us over and over again that is what fat people are it's a descriptor it's like it should be it isn't but it should be a neutral physical descriptor in this culture I was trying to come up with neutral physical descriptors but given our neuroses about bodies cartoon with a purely neutral this old script but something like I can't come up with even one but something she has freckles but as I am saying is i can teach tall because tall is very positive in the context of male frame I ensure that right you can't old obviously yeah but neither the idea the point is factually just a physical description saying all you know it's the kids are right ahead red red hair there that's with that kid single s just observe why is that absurd well it's absurd because it's an insult to call somebody fat why is it insult to call somebody fat because being fat is considered as these and a morally degrading status in this culture and therefore to call somebody fat to call in sick and to call them essentially vicious as most virtuous in some way you'll have a disease and you could cure yourself of this disease if you try hard enough and therefore a diesel to call you fat as Marilyn and many others have pointed out that's not the way off of me we ought to talk about as fat so what we should not talk about is obesity I hate it using that word title my boat and the end decided my shyness public decided that it was a necessary why should we be talking about a VC why shouldn't be not use the words obesity on boy because those words are begging the question those words are tainted semantic markers of a pathological state you can't in from some of you have to deal with nonsense questions all the time by how can you say it's over healthy to be overweight a lot of doctors to then it's just like that's like saying how do you say it's healthy to be sick I don't get that some nonsense stated to me well because the word all the way is because it's a fraudulent charge of junk science appeared simple so we shouldn't be calling people over Roy dovie's we should be calling them back because that's what fat people are I'm I'm not fat right now but in certain social context I would be if I was a 20 year old gay man Santa Monica if I was if I was a woman I'm quite sure in this particular i was saying earlier well language is important and that brings me to my my analogy which I've been creeping up to an analogy is s let us think about the parallels between the conceptualization of …
In Book 1 Chapter 3 of Nicomachean
Ethics, Aristotle discusses two topics: the nature of the conclusions of
political science or ethics, and the character that will be required of the
students of this science. On the first point, Aristotle notes that ethics is an
inexact science, and in this he seems to differ from Plato, who thought that there
was a form of Justice and a form of the Good which we can know with greater and
greater clarity, outside the cave.
Aristotle says we should expect only the
degree of precision which is appropriate to this object. And because there is
great diversity and variation in the spheres of what is noble and what is
just, and because the goods and the use of these goods differs from lifetime to
lifetime, from circumstance to circumstance, we cannot expect precise
answers. I think it's important to recognize here that Aristotle is not
giving us a license for relativism, for supposing that anything can be good for
anybody. He's suggesting that there are a set of objective goods in ethics, but
that there is a range, especially in regard to their application in a
particular person's lifetime and circumstances.
What is good for one
person will not automatically be good for another person; what is good will
vary to a good degree with circumstances. And this means there can be no exact
formula for happiness, and choosing the good over the course of an entire
lifetime will require good judgment and prudence on every occasion. So we
shouldn't expect formulaic or precise mathematical answers: do A, B, and C and
you're guaranteed to be happy. That's not the way human happiness and human
flourishing work, Aristotle is telling us.
Aristotle says we should be satisfied
with this discussion of ethics if we can describe the truth "sketchily and in outline, because we are making generalizations on
the basis of generalizations." Here's one way I think we can think about that. The
first level of generalization deals with our determining the good or the virtue
to pursue in a particular set of circumstances. This can be stated as a
generalization. I might say, in thinking of a fireman facing a burning building,
that in general it is good and courageous for the fireman to go into
the burning building. Now that's a generalization and it can be overturned
by particular circumstances: if the building is about to collapse or if
there's some other circumstance that mitigates against it, I might say that's
not the rule to follow.
But I can make a generalization that it is in general
courageous for firemen to enter burning buildings, and that could be a good guide
for action for this particular man at this particular point in his life. The
second level of generalization, the generalization based upon
generalizations, I think comes in when we think about how to combine all the goods
and all the virtues over an entire lifetime. So think of my fireman trying
now to reconcile his obligations and his virtues as a fireman and as a father and
as a citizen and as a member of a church community and the like. He has to make
all these decisions, balancing these things. This requires a further level of
generalization and I might even say a third level of generalization, where I
try now as a philosopher to describe what does it mean to live a good life,
generally, for for all people, for everyone? Not just this one fireman with
his multiple different circumstances, virtues, and roles to reconcile, but for
any human being.
Notice I've risen here to a level of
generality so high that I'm not going to be able to make even as precise a
statement of what courage is as I could make for the fireman facing the burning,
this particular burning building. So "generalizations upon generalizations"
means we're going to lose a certain level of detail and precision as we try
to give a more and more general account of noble and just and good actions.
Aristotle then emphasizes again that it is the mark of an educated
person to look only for as much precision in our answers as the nature
of the object studied allows. So it's because the the real objective nature of
human noble and good actions varies as much as it does that we have to be
satisfied with less precise answers.
We could state the converse of this claim
as well and say that to ask for more precision than the subject matter's
nature will permit is the mark of an untrained mind. And we can think of this
as a kind of warning Aristotle is giving to his students at the beginning of this
study: "If you're coming in here expecting exact precise formulaic answers for the
good life, for ethics and political science, you
need to correct that expectation right now because that's not the nature of the
object or the nature of the study that we're making of that object."
Aristotle's second point in this chapter is his famous or perhaps infamous
argument that certain character traits of youth disqualify one from the study
of ethics or at the very least they interfere with that study.
And he gives
two reasons for this, two pieces of evidence. First, that ethics and politics
is the science of experience, and youth just by definition has less or none of
this experience. No matter how widely traveled he is, no matter how varied his
experience has been, a 20 year old will not be familiar with the full range of
actions and the full range of circumstances that require judgment and
decision of over the course of an entire human life. We would expect people with
more experience of the world to be more skilled in choosing, if only because
they've been exposed to a much broader range of circumstances. His second piece
of evidence is that young people tend to follow their feelings, and for this
reason the rational study of ethical behavior will be useless for them.
Now he adds immediately that this does not, this is not a matter of years only.
It does not matter if one is immature in age or
immature in character; if they are dominated by their feelings they cannot
profit from this kind of study. So it's not a matter of age alone but of
character, and especially of the balance of reason and emotion in one's soul.
think the key point to get out of this is not that Aristotle is somehow
prejudiced against teenagers but that reason must rule over your desires and
your actions to a certain degree before you can profitably study ethics and
politics. In other words this is an advanced study that requires a certain
level of character development, a certain level of maturity. It's not going to be
helpful for people who haven't resolved that particular problem, who haven't
brought their emotions under the control of their reason to a significant degree
yet. So that's his argument for excluding youth or immature people
from the profitable study of ethics.
So that's been my quick look at Book 1
Chapter 3 of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. I hope you found it helpful.
Thanks for watching today; goodbye..
Hello, I'm Craig and this is
Crash Course Government and Politics. And today we're gonna talk about, well, mostly history. Wait Stan, this isn't Crash Course History. This must be
some kind of exception, like the Mongols. [Mongoltage] Apparently we're not stepping on anybody's toes by
talking about the history of American political parties, as long as we stay away from history in general.
Thank goodness, we wouldn't want to start a Crash Course interdisciplinary feud. Just kidding, I'm
totally feuding with that Phil guy over at Astronomy. [Theme Music] Political historians like to divide America
into eras according to which parties were active at the time. These are called party
systems, and there have been 5 or 6 of them depending on who you ask. I want to say there
were 6, but that's just me.
And some political scientists and historians. But mainly me, because I'm
the important one here, and not Phil from Astronomy. There were no parties during the first elections
under the new Constitution in 1788, partly because the framers were afraid of parties,
which Madison called factions, and partly because there was universal agreement that
the first president of the US should be George Washington. And so he was. It was only after
he retired after his second term that voters started to break into political factions and
vote based on their ideological leanings. Although, to call these factions parties is
a bit of a stretch. Anyway, the first party system, which probably
started in the 1796 election included the Federalists, who supported Washington's Vice-President
John Adams, and the Democratic-Republicans who supported Thomas Jefferson. So, the Federalist
political party was different than the group that worked to get the Constitution ratified,
even though they were also called Federalists.
And Alexander Hamilton was prominent in both
groups. What the two parties believed isn't so important for this series. We talked about
it in Crash Course US History, but overall the Federalists were supported by North-Eastern
business elites, especially merchants who wanted closer ties with England, and those
who generally wanted a stronger national government. The Democratic-Republicans were more skeptical
of national power, and, when push came to shove, favored the more revolutionary French.
Ultimately, the Democratic-Republicans were way more successful. They were dominant in
the presidential contests of the time, as Jefferson in 1800 and 1804, Madison in 1808
and 1816, and Monroe in 1820 and 1824 were all Democratic-Republicans. Monroe's elections
kind of don't count though, as the Federalists weren't really a factor in national politics
after 1815. In fact, the period between 1815 and 1824
is sometimes called "The Era of Good Feelings". And that's how I like to refer to lunch every
day. I just got back from a 45-minute Era of Good Feelings. Mmm, it was a burrito bowl.
Sadly, the Era of Good Feelings came to an
end with the election of 1824, which saw John Quincy Adams defeat Andrew Jackson in a bitter
election that ended up being decided in the House of Representatives. Jackson, ever the gracious
loser, decried the election as a "corrupt bargain," and rode this angry sentiment to victory in the
1828 election. Jackson was a divisive figure in a lot of ways, especially if you like the Supreme Court
or Native Americans but, from our perspective, he's really useful, because his election helped to launch the
second party system.
Let's go to the Thought Bubble. The new party, called the Whigs, started out
as an anti-Jackson party. They claimed Jackson was a tyrant, and they might have had a point.
The second Party System brought innovations to the political process, mostly in the party
that opposed the Whigs. The Democratic-Republicans re-branded themselves as the "Democrats".
These Democrats, especially under the leadership of Jackson's Vice President, and future magnificently
bewhiskered President, Martin Van Buren, introduced some of the features of politics that we still
see today. They established a central party committee, state party organizations, and
party newspapers. Okay so we don't have party newspapers anymore, because we don't really
have newspapers anymore. The Democrats also established state and national conventions
for nominating candidates. Before this, all candidates had been chosen by caucuses of
party leaders, which is less, well, democratic. The Whigs were generally less successful in
national elections, but they introduced flair into politics in the campaign of 1840. And
we could all use a little more flair.
This was the first time a Whig candidate,
William Henry Harrison, won the presidency. And he introduced a great deal of political
theater into running for office. The Whigs held parades featuring a rolling model of
a log cabin that Harrison supposedly grew up in (he didn't) and copious amounts of hard
cider for supporters. It also featured a giant ball covered in campaign slogans that supposedly
spawned the phrase "keep the ball rolling", and gave us the first campaign slogan with
both rhyming and alliteration, "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too".
So catchy it's still used
to this day. I put it in my wedding vows, "Do you take this woman? I do… and Tippecanoe
and Tyler, too." This came from Harrison's supposed status
as the hero of the battle of Tippecanoe, which introduced another aspect into American politics —
the idea that successful candidates for president should, if at all possible, be war heroes.
Thanks, Thought Bubble. Eventually, the issue of slavery pretty much
destroyed the Whig party, and the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 ushered in the
third party system. Lincoln ran and won as a Republican, and after 1860, the US basically
settled into a two-party system with all elections basically between Democrats and Republicans.
But over the years, the compositions of these parties, who supports each party, and what
the party stands for changed enough that we think of those shifts as creating new party
So the Republican party was originally a conglomeration
of reformers who coalesced around being against slavery. Republicans have always been pro-business
and have tried to associate themselves with liberty. In fact, one of their earliest rallying
cries was "Free soil, free labor, free men." As viewers of the Crash Course US History
video on Reconstruction know, it was a pretty pivotal and divisive time in American history.
In terms of political parties though, this was when the Southern states all tilted towards
the Democratic party, largely because Republicans were (correctly) seen as being responsible
for ending slavery. Democrats during the third party system were
a bit of an odd mix. Their strength came from white, largely racist Southerners and working
class immigrants in the north, many of whom gravitated to the Democrats because the Republicans
tended not to like immigrants or alcohol, and many Republican reforms in this era were designed to keep
middle-class Protestant business elites in power. Another reason for Democrats' success in recruiting
immigrant votes was that this was the era of political machines, which traded political appointments
for support to win elections and maintain power.
The most famous of these machines tended to
be in big cities with large immigrant populations like Boston and New York, and they were mostly
Democratic, although there were Republican political machines too, mostly in the Midwest.
The supposed Democratic abuses of machines brought about electoral reforms like voter
registration, secret ballots, requiring that voters be alive, and other good government
reforms that had the effect of reducing the number of voters and making elections a lot
less fun. The third party system lasted from roughly
1860 to 1896, when another pivotal election brought about a change in the composition
of one of the parties, in this case, the Democrats. Some time in the 1880s, and certainly by 1892,
a new party The People's Party, or Populists, began to form in the south and the western
parts of the US.
They had a number of concerns, mainly about regulation of farm prices and
railroad shipping rates, but also things like supporting a national income tax and a general
mistrust of bankers and plutocrats. (Those are the Democrats that live on Pluto, but
according to Phil, no one lives on Pluto. Whatever Phil!) They won a few congressional elections, but
eventually merged with the Democrats when they nominated the Democrat William Jennings
Bryan to be their presidential candidate in 1896. Adding certain elements of populism
shored up Democratic support in the South and the Midwest, but for many Americans their
ideas were too radical and the Democrats were unable to elect any presidential candidates between
1896 and 1932, with one exception: Woodrow Wilson. Good ol' Woodrow only made it in because the
Republican vote in 1912 was spilt between the establishment candidate Taft and former president Theodore
Roosevelt, who started his own progressive party.
The rise and fall of the Populists show us
something important about third parties in American politics. The first thing is that
they never win, largely because the way American elections are structured, but this doesn't
mean that they don't matter. Third parties can shift the terms of political debate. Without
a Socialist party (and there was one, believe it or not) issues of workers' rights wouldn't
have been nearly as prevalent in the early part of the 20th century. (Eagle was in the shot, I didn't
want it to be. Didn't want to influence political debate.) Often, third party ideas get incorporated
into the platforms of one of the other parties. This happened with the Populists, as their
plans for graduated national income tax and direct election of senators were eventually incorporated
into the constitution in the 16th and 17th amendments. After the election of 1932 when Franklin Roosevelt
became president and the Great Depression had kind of discredited Republican economic
policies, the Democrats were dominant in both Houses of Congress as well.
Thanks to these
advantages, the Democratic party saw another shift in its composition and priorities. One so big that
we say that the new fifth party system was the result. The Democrats' New Deal policy brought more
groups into the party's fold. Support for organized labor, especially the Wagner Act,
attracted union workers. The idea that government could work to alleviate poverty through research
and planning attracted some Socialists and many upper middle class intellectuals, including
a large percentage of the American Jewish community. Southern farmers, always a backbone
of the Democrats, were attracted by New Deal farm policies.
New Deal support for jobs and
FDR's repeal of prohibition helped bring urban immigrants, especially Catholics, into the
Democrats camp. The Democrats acknowledgment that African Americans were suffering especially
hard from the depression helped shift African American support away from the party of Lincoln. This was a major re-alignment, as black people,
when they could vote in America, had until the New Deal voted overwhelmingly for Republicans. And even though New Deal programs did very
little for black people (the programs were often quite discriminatory), the impression
that the Democrats and FDR were champions of the poor helped convince many African Americans
to vote Democrat, and they remain one of the most consistent groups in terms of their party
The coalition of groups that make up the Democratic
party, sometimes called the New Deal coalition (also my band name in high school), had been
pretty stable for quite some time, as has the coalition that makes up the Republican
party. This is why some people suggest that there've only been five party systems, with
the fifth beginning roughly in 1932 and continuing to the present. I disagree! As do other historians
and political scientists. My people, my posse. I bet they all have beards too. Us six-system-ers argue for a further realignment
of support after 1968 and consider the current political climate to be a sixth party system.
The main shift here, and in terms of Congress it has been really huge, is that the South,
which used to be solidly Democratic, is now pretty unshakably Republican.
Most historians will tell you that this has
largely to do with race, and the Democrats' support of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965
Voting Rights Act, and we don't have time to go into just how true that is. What we
can say is that for whatever reason, the Republican party now draws a lot of support from White,
middle, and lower-middle class voters, especially in the South and Midwest, and that these were
groups that used to vote for Democrats. A major part of this realignment is white
working class men who generally used to be reliable union democrats, but are now just
as likely to vote republican. The democrats have maintained their support among liberal
intellectuals, members of minority groups, and to a lesser degree women, but their coalition
is much less powerful than it used to be.
We could say a lot more about political parties
in America and how they might be changing as we speak, but as I promised this episode
has been about history and how we got to where we are. If you're going to take away anything,
it should be that political parties change over time both in terms of their policies
and the groups that support them. And that it's often historical contingencies that cause
these shifts. And although we pretty much always had a two party system, third parties
are still valuable even though they never win because they help frame issues and move
the terms of political debate and even of policy. It's like me. I've never won an internet
award, but I made up the word "Doobly-doo," so… Thanks for watching, see you next time.
Course Government and Politics is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios. Support
for Crash Course U.S. Government comes from Voqal. Voqal supports non-profits that use
technology and media to advance social equity. Learn more about their mission and initiatives
at voqal.org. Crash Course is made with the help of all these nice people, who aren't
Phil. Thanks for watching!.
The director-general of the World Health Organization sent a strong message to world leaders and the media on Wednesday: “Stop politicizing the coronavirus if you don’t want to see more bags with corpses.”
Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus made the remarks during his regular pandemic update press conference, after being confronted by journalists after receiving criticism from various countries for his response to the pandemic.
The leader of the World Health Organization emphasized that, as a former minister of Ethiopia, he understood that it was a difficult task to separate the virus from politics, but that it would take advantage of these weaknesses and would be more difficult to defeat.
You cannot use COVID-19 to earn political points, and there is no need.
“Ultimately, people belong to all political parties; the mission of all parties must be to save their people, please do not politicize this virus. It will exploit the differences we have at the national level. If you want to have more bags with corpses, then do it, but if you don’t want more dead, you have to avoid politicizing this virus. My message is, please quarantine the COVID-19, national unity will be very important to defeat this dangerous virus, “he said.
The official explained that, as it is a new virus, so serious and dangerous, it is possible that mistakes have been made, so the Organization it leads conducts regular evaluations to identify weaknesses and strengths, and to learn.
Precisely, Tedros stressed on Wednesday, and the World Health Organization is not with one country or another, but with all States.
“We are next to all nations, we do not look color, for us rich or poor is the same, for us, weak or strong is the same, small or large is the same, north or south, east or west, is what himself,” he said.
The WHO director said he received criticism last year after choosing the head of the Organization’s nursing department because she was from the Cook Islands.
“People did not want the global head of nursing to come from a small country like the Cook Islands, which only has 10,000 people, but I think that talent is universal, the opportunity is not. You can find the most talented person in a small country like that. We work with them, with Cook Islands that have 10,000 inhabitants and we work with China that has 1.4 billion. And why did we choose her? Is Cook Islands influencing us? And how? We see everyone the same, “reiterated the official.
Tedros took the opportunity to thank the United States for their contributions to the Organization and assured that this has always been in a bipartisan spirit, which he hopes will continue.
“We need solidarity now more than ever. Everything that begins in one place affects everyone, we cannot live on our national borders, because we are interdependent. And that is what I hope and believe will continue in the United States,” he said.
Victim of insults and even death threats
“I am only an individual; Tedros is a point in the entire universe. I don’t care if they attack me; I prefer to save lives. I’ve said it many times, why would I care if they attack me when people are dying? Let’s compare both things, and we are losing lives right now. Why is someone with a clear conscience going to think about their personal attacks and ignore the great challenge that we are facing as humanity? Said the WHO leader.
The director had harshly criticized a suggestion by a group of European scientists that coronavirus vaccines be tested first in Africa, calling it racist.
“Personal attacks have been going on for more than three months, abuse, or racist comments, and they give me a name, they call me black. I am proud to be black, and I do not care about those things, even death threats I have received, I do not care, because this is personal, it is towards me. What makes me sad is when the entire African community is insulted, I will not tolerate it, I said there, people are crossing the line . When I was personal, I didn’t care, I didn’t even respond, but as a community when they start insulting us, it’s enough. We cannot tolerate this, “said the official.
Since then, WHO has worked day and night in five key areas:
- Helping countries develop their preparedness and response capacity.
- Providing accurate information to combat disinformation
- Working hard to ensure the supply of essential medical equipment for health workers
- Training and mobilizing health workers
- Accelerating research and developmen
Other key data:
- The UN Supply Chain Task Force COVID-19 has been launched to dramatically increase the supply of these life-saving tools and match supply to needs
- In February, more than 400 of the world’s top researchers were brought together to identify and accelerate research priorities, and Solidarity Trial launched in March, with more than 90 countries working together to find effective therapies for the coronavirus as soon as possible.