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Achieving DemocracyThe Future of Progressive Regulation$
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Sidney A. Shapiro and Joseph P. Tomain

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199965540

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199965540.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 April 2021

Public Ambivalence about Government

Public Ambivalence about Government

(p.41) Chapter 3 Public Ambivalence about Government
Achieving Democracy

Sidney A. Shapiro

Joseph P. Tomain

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 further develops the theme discussed in Chapter 2 that the United States has experienced alternating periods of pro- and antigovernment sentiment. The ambivalence between favorable and unfavorable attitudes toward government is repeatedly shown in public opinion polling. Public opinion polling reveals that even when Americans tell pollsters that government does more harm than good, they simultaneously tell pollsters that they favor retaining specific levels of social and economic regulation such as government support for social security, education, health care, and environmental protection. This polling also reveals a deeper truth. Americans are committed to core, and sometimes conflicting, values. Americans believe that capitalism is an important method for social ordering, and they believe that democracy reflects our historic values and must be secured even in the face of free-market advocacy.

Keywords:   capitalism, democracy, social regulation, public opinion polling, positive and negative liberty

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