HomePolitical CultureThe political culture of the United States

The political culture of the United States

Moralistic political cultures, according to Elazar, consider the government as a tool for improving society and promoting public welfare. Politicians must be honest in their interactions with others, put the interests of their constituents first, and commit to improving the place they represent. Rather than a mechanism for corruption, the political process is considered a good force in society. In moralistic societies, voters have minimal tolerance for corruption and feel that officials should be motivated by a desire to assist the society rather than a need to earn monetarily from service.

As a result, moralistic countries tend to prefer a greater role for the state in general. They are more inclined to feel that the government should provide funding to initiatives that aid the poor in order to enhance the general welfare. Public authorities are also expected to push for new initiatives that help marginalized populations or address public policy issues, even if there is little public pressure to do so.

Puritans in upper New England influenced the development of a moralistic political culture. Over time, these pioneers traveled west, spreading their ideas to the upper Great Lakes region. Northern European immigrants, who began arriving in the mid-1800s, strengthened the Puritan principles that had already been established by this group of early colonists. Together, they marched westward across the northern Midwest and West, eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean. 19

Citizens’ involvement in politics is highly valued in countries that connect with this cultural tradition. Moralistic people are more inclined to participate in political campaigns and vote, according to Elazar’s hypothesis. There are two basic causes behind this. There is a high importance placed on ensuring that as many people as possible participate in the political process.

As a result, people from moralistic countries are more inclined to vote in elections. Furthermore, candidates are less likely to run uncontested and more likely to face a competent challenger in the polls. Public service, Elazar argues, has become more competitive because of the widespread belief among citizens that it is a respectable vocation.

Finally, Elazar argues that people in moral cultures are more inclined to support politicians who have earned their places in government by hard work rather than by being loyal to a political party. Theoretically, if individuals are appointed to positions based on their abilities rather than their merits, corruption should be less of a problem. Moralistic civilizations are also more receptive to outside involvement. Regardless of their party affiliation, voters want to see political candidates compete who are driven by the promise of assisting the greater community.

Interactive Political Culture

According to Elazar’s individualistic political culture, governments in these states serve as a vehicle for the pursuit of personal aims and concerns by people. If you’re from this society, the government is just like a storefront or a mall.

Public officials and bureaucrats who work for the government are entitled to compensation for their efforts in providing critical services to the public. Instead of putting the needs of the whole society first, the emphasis is on achieving personal objectives and gratifying personal ambitions. If politicians can utilize these policies to get support from the public or other interested parties, or if there is a high demand for these services from people, new policies will be implemented.

According to Elazar, non-Puritan English and German immigrants brought with them an individualist political culture. From New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey in the mid-Atlantic area to Wyoming in the central section of the United States, the first settlements were established.

It is common for states with a strong individualistic bent to promote tax incentives as a means of boosting the state’s economy or encouraging entrepreneurialism and self-determination. In 2015, for example, New Jersey governor Chris Christie made news when he discussed the incentives he utilized to recruit firms to the area. Christie provided hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits to companies considering relocating to Camden, a city with an unemployment rate approaching 14 percent.

24 The governor is hoping that these business incentives would encourage the development of jobs for residents in a region of the state that is suffering from a severe economic downturn. As a means of promoting the expansion of the community, incentives for people to migrate might be offered. Tulsa Remote, for example, gives $10,000 in relocation incentives to employees who work remotely so that they may use the money toward a down payment on a house in Tulsa. 25

With the assumption that politics and the government exist to further individual interests, Elazar believes that people will only become involved in politics when they have a personal stake in the outcome or want to be in control of how government benefits are distributed. They are more likely to stick around if they obtain something in return, such as a patronage position or monetary recompense. Consequently, individuals in individualistic governments are more likely to tolerate corruption in their political leaders and less inclined to see politics as a noble profession in which all citizens should participate.

And Elazar concludes that in governments where citizens are free to pursue their own interests, there is no political competition to determine who has the greatest ideas. Instead, it sets two well-organized political parties against one other in direct competition for the public’s vote. Voters tend to stick with candidates that are affiliated with the same political party as they are. As a consequence, unlike in moralistic societies, voters here are less tolerant of third-party politicians and pay less attention to the personalities of the candidates while casting their ballots.

Culture Of Traditional Politics

Elazar argues that a conservative political culture regards the government as vital to sustaining the current social order, the status quo since slavery played such an important role in its construction. For this reason, new public policies will only be implemented if they reflect the ideas and interests of those already in power.

It was in the higher parts of Virginia and Kentucky that traditionalist political culture first took root before migrating to the Deep South and Southwest. Both the individualistic and traditionalistic cultures place value on the uniqueness of every person. Traditionalist governments, on the other hand, made their wealth dependent on the existence of slavery on southern plantations rather than on commercial endeavors.

Poor and sick people on the margins are more likely to live in poverty if elected leaders don’t prioritize initiatives that assist them. Figure 14.8 demonstrates that poverty is a concern across the United States, although the South has the greatest frequency. Self-reported obesity is more prevalent in the Southern United States than in the Midwest, according to the CDC. 26 In the short and long term, legislators must balance economic limits with rising demand for services, and this is a challenge for all parties.



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