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Beliefs & Behaviors

Teacher/Instructor Chuck Raznikov
Chuck Raznikov

Teaching at a top-ranked high school in SF

He has been a teacher at Lo High School - a top-ranked high school in San Francisco - for over 20 years.

Abortion is murder. It's her body, it's her decision. I stand on the second amendment, government is not going to get my guns. We're not trying to take your guns away, I just want to keep it away from dangerous people. Illegal immigrants take jobs away from hard working Americans. Illegal immigrants taking jobs? If your family was hungry would you cross an international border to work? The media in Washington DC, too liberal. Liberal media? How about the corporate culture of Washington? The health care in this country is the best one in the world. The US has the best health care system in the world? 45,000,000 uninsured people in this country, you call that the best system? Not me.

In this episode, we're going to talk about things like the political spectrum. Radical and liberal on the left, conservative and reactionary on the right. We're also going to talk about political socialization, how people get their attitudes. Finally we're going to look at groups of folks and say, what folks tend to be liberal, what folks tend to be conservative.

Now we're going to talk about the political spectrum, you know of the political spectrum and you've heard these terms before. On the left, radical and liberal. It comes from the French revolution where the most radical of all settled on the left side of the building. In the center, the moderates. Most people in America identify themselves as political moderates. It might be one reason why political candidates tend to head towards the middle ground in the general election. To the right, conservatives and reactionaries. Who are the liberals, liberals tend to think the government can be a tool to ensure fairness in terms of social equality and economic equality. Think back of the great programs of the new deal and Franklin Roosevelt, considered to be a classic liberal. How about if we add onto that Lyndon Johnson's great society programs, tremendous government outlays in order to try to ensure what liberals believe was economic justice and social justice.

Liberals often stand for corporations paying more. They feel that they don't pay their fair share in taxes. They feel that government often does better to regulate the economy. If we think about it, liberals would often say, "Look at the banking and mortgage mess that we're in right now, it comes from deregulation. How about the environment on this and the pollution? Not enough government regulation." Third, affirmatives tend to be in favor of programs called affirmative action and you know the affirmative action programs under the 14th amendment.

Affirmative action basically to try to ensure equal opportunity for people who are in under represented minorities. They've been criticized by conservatives as quarter programs, but liberals have been basically defending them. Finally, liberals are pretty clear on the separation of church and state. The don't want prayer in public school, they don't want public money going to private schools, that sort of thing.

Now let's take a look at the conservative point of view, conservatives often want to have free markets, you know the terms; let's say fair. The less government interference the better and that's good government. They point at things like Adam Smith and his invisible hand and that that's how capitalism developed and flourished. They also want people to take individual responsibility. Whereas liberals sometimes think that government has a role, conservatives often think that if people were a bit just more focused and forth right that they could take care of themselves without the government's help. I don't think I've ever met a conservative who's in favor of tax hikes.

You might remember back to 1988 about the time that you were born, when George Bush Senior ran for president. In his nomination speech he said something to the effect of, "Read my lips, no new taxes." He became quite popular and he became elected president and at one point of in his presidency, his popularity was over 90% when the troops came home from Iraq. But he lost in elections a year later when he actually decided to whore among of all whores, raise taxes and he lost the conservative vote.

Conservatives also identify themselves as values voters. Most conservatives tend to be against abortion, they don't favor same sex marriage, and they often would like to see prayer in public school, that sort of thing. So that's the political spectrum and the basis of it. Now let's talk a little bit about Political Socialization.

You know what it is, you just need to get comfortable with the term. Your dad's placement to collage board will use these words from time to time.

Political Socialization basically is nothing more than how we get our attitudes, so let's take a quick quiz question. You should be able to know the answer right away on this one. It says, all the following typically have a significant influence over the development of an individual's political belief EXCEPT: A) Mass media, B) Schools C) Family D) Religious institutions E) State and Federal Government. Well you should know that the answer is clearly E. A, B, C and D are the main factors involved in how people get their attitudes. So far so good? Let's just try one more here. What if I take off the bottom one right here and we just go to A, B, C, D and I asked you, which one of these factors is the greatest in determining the outcome of political socialization. Think about it. Is it the media, is it the schools, is it the family or religious institutions? Got that one? Well the answer is pretty clearly C. It's the family. Your attitudes generally get set from a very early age and more than any other determining factor, most people tend to agree with the morals and the values and the ethics of their parents. Do you?

Let's try one more question. As people get older, they tend to become: A) More liberal B) More moderate C) More conservative or D) Less likely to vote? Take a second. Got that one? Well clearly it's not D and the answer actually is C. People tend to become more conservative and most political officials believe the answer is, because they acquire property, they have children and they have more responsibility. With responsibility, people tend to get a little bit more conservative.

Let's take one more quick quiz and then we'll send you on to the next unit.

Less couple of weeks, I took a pencil and paper and I wrote down some of the bumper stickers that I saw around town. I'd like you to listen to the bumper sticker and in you're mind can you tell me right away, is that liberal, moderate, conservative. Let's try one, I'm pro-choice and I vote. Liberal. Stop corporate welfare now. Liberal. Single pair health care now. That's liberal, by the way single pair health care, a government program not privately run, conservatives would oppose that. How about this one, affirmative action gives me a negative reaction. Well pretty clearly conservative. Here is another, bring back prayer in public schools. Simple, conservative. Wouldn't it be a great day if we had all the money we needed for schools but had to have a bake sale to build a barmer? I don't know how they get that on one bumper sticker but that's pretty clearly liberal. Two more, keep working, millions on welfare depend on you. Conservative, right down the line. And the last one is my favorite one, if you're not liberal at 18 you have no heart, if you're not conservative at 35 you have no brain. Well they just told you that, they're conservative.

There you have it. You know something about political spectrum, you know something about political socialization. We're going to take it outside to the street to ask you one final question for your quiz time. So we'll catch on the other side.

San Francisco Bay bridge was built during the heart of the great American depression. It was pride and joy of Franklin Roosevelt to new deal programs. But in 1989, the bridge was damaged by Loma Prieta earthquake and now just the other side of Treasure island, a new bridge is being built. But, conservatives and liberals disagree about who should pay the great cost of the bridge. Using your knowledge of liberal and conservative, what do you think the argument would be about, what would liberals say and what would conservatives say? Come up with an idea and then check your bonus materials to find out what really happened.