The public has become less trustful of government. Polls show about 75% of the public during the 1960s trusted government. In 1973, 42% of those polled had "a great deal" or "quite a bit" of confidence in Congress, In mid-2001, 26% stated that had a "great deal" or "quite a bit" of confidence in Congress.
The public distaste for politics along with the mean spiritedness of campaigns discourages many capable people from even entering politics. Further, many who do select public service as a career are finding the burdens of service are causing them to leave public careers prematurely. The loss of dedicated public servants weakens the legislative process as well as reduces the public image of legislatures.
While the public may be disillusioned with representative democracy, and while politicians may similarly have reservations, the alternatives are no better. The authors argue that the option of Executive dominance can lead to concentrated and abused power. The alternative of direct democracy may be cumbersomely unpractical and may be more readily manipulated by powerful interests.
Negative campaign advertising is cited as a major influence in the declining appreciation and respect for politics and for government. Political scientist Richard Fenno has found that negative campaigning is further affecting government, as candidates are elected by claiming their opposition to the institutions to which they seek eleciton and, upon election, their negativity hampers their abilities to serve in office.
The authors note the very nature of legislative politics is bound to create negative public perceptions. Most legislation that is passed reflects compromises and the mere act of compromising often leads proponents and opponents both feeling disappointed. Legislative work thus usually wins few friends, yet it produces important results.
Despite its complexities and nuances, representative democracy does work. The legislative branch does a good job of bridging the gap between the public and policy makers. The alternative of administrative control concentrates power too much and the alternative of direct participation is too cumbersome. Representative democracy may not be perfect, as this book discusses, but it is the best system there is. Readers wishing to explore these discussions will greatly appreciate this book.
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Here's hoping for more Inspector Chan novels. I can't wait to see how he fares under Communist control of his city!
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I give it 4 stars instead of 5 because of the relatively weak ending.
It is always exciting to discover a new writer, and I look forward to Burdett's next effort, and will no doubt add him to my list of "must read" if he lives up to the promise of this first effort.
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A Level is the main exam route taking in the UK for entry into Universities.
The continual rapid development of computer technology means it is a nightmare trying to keep up with terminology and acronymns. This glossary has the defintions the examiners will accept. Very useful when different text books all have their own definitons.
The 4star rating rather than 5 is a reflection of the date of issue of this glossary. There must be another one on its way soon, we sure need it.
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