The Power Elite: Overview of American Political Institutions

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Questions on The Power Elite Are American political institutions rationally constructed for the purpose of the democratic organisation of everyday life in this country? I think that there is no uniform answer to this question since American political institutions vary so widely. I believe that the EPA qualifies as a rational aspect of democratic values but that the Office of Surface Mining does not since the latter does the bidding of industry and not of the people. Or are these political institutions the result of pastiche and compromise between various segments of the elite at different times in American history, resulting in institutional corruption and the failure to live up to American ideals? Again, I believe that there is a substantial variation among organizations. In its current form I believe that the House of Representatives can be seen as a significantly compromised organization that consistently thwarts rational progress, as at least at times do the Supreme Court and the Electoral College. Or are these ideals themselves, namely, the valuation of individuality and self-interest, the selfsame values of the founders themselves? Certainly the same Enlightenment values that inspired the Framers are still evidenced in American political institutions. However, I would argue that a number of values are represented, not simply self-interest. The protections of the First Amendment, for example, are more about community than about self. Do American institutions
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