In an essay of no more than six pages, double-spaced, draw on at least three course readings to answer one of the following questions:
1. Madison, Hamilton and Jay write: “In framing a government…the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” Explain the tension between these two objectives. Why is accomplishing both of them a “great difficulty”? Which of the political ideologies that we’ve studied do you think would be most effective in accomplishing both of these objectives?
2. Find an example of a society suffering from injustice. This example can be from history, fiction, current events, or your own imagination. Identify the nature of the injustice, articulate the ethical theory or theories your judgment is based on, and explain how the perpetrators of the injustice rationalize it. Next, propose a program of norm change for this society, setting out a realistic plan for changing the undesirable behavioral norms you identify.
3. Toleration of intolerance is one of the most difficult challenges facing a liberal society. While some have argued that we should permit the expression of intolerant opinions in order to rebut them more effectively, others have argued that the harm caused by intolerance outweighs the public benefit created. Explain the terms of this debate, and identify the implicit appeals to ethical theories made by each side. Under what circumstances do you think it’s justifiable to silence others?