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Returning to the text of The Road , this article reconsiders the few explicit mentions of governmental institutions to suggest the working of a basic skepticism about large-scale, bureaucratically organized governments. This is particularly so because of the nature of the one relationship around which the narrative is exclusively focused, the relationship between a father and his pre-adolescent son who, at the margins of survival, make their way through a ravaged and lawless landscape. This is not to say that political meanings are impossible to find in a narrative so bereft of obvious political references.

One might, for example, draw an analogy between the post-apocalyptic setting of The Road and the state of nature, the imagined condition of complete governmental absence envisioned by social contract theorists such as Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. The more extreme and inhumane the conditions are in the depiction of life in the absence of government, the greater the claim that governments can make on their citizens to accept the limits and inconveniences of life in a politically ordered society.

For literary theorist Eva Horn, author of Zukunft als Katastrophe [ The Future as Catastrophe ] , The Road poses a fundamental question—What happens to human beings in the wake of a disaster that ends most animal and plant life on earth? For whereas the friends of Job drew their arguments from his Affliction to his Sinne, and he defended himselfe by the conscience of his Innocence, God himselfe taketh up the matter, and having justified the Affliction by arguments drawn from his Power, such as this, Where wast thou when I layd the foundations of the earth [.

Members of this political construct would be so awed by its power that they would have little thought to resist, or even complain about, its acts of government. It is, rather, a pathetic creature of darkness who flees at the scent of humans. Behind this dream image, one detects little of the political theoretical ambition of Hobbes who thought so intensively and comprehensively about the nature and significance of governance. McCarthy certainly has never pretended to be a political theorist of the sort Hobbes was. However, there are other kinds of political theory to which we might profitably relate McCarthy, theories that are less explicit about their political ambitions and less obviously concerned with offering a blueprint for constructing a new political order.

McCarthy gives a hint of his possible affiliation with a more subtle and indirect political theoretical tradition in his novel, Blood Meridian , where he resorts to specialized political vocabulary in a decidedly apolitical setting. In the scene in question, the members of the murderous Anglo raiding party makes their way through the desolate Texas Badlands. The murder gang passes by awesome geologic formations e. To characterize that biologically hostile, yet aesthetically vital landscape, McCarthy summons language that more properly belongs to political discourse than to naturalistic description:.

The very clarity of these articles belied their familiarity, for the eye predicates the whole on some feature or part and here was nothing more luminous than another and nothing more enshadowed and in the optical democracy of such landscapes all preference is made whimsical and a man and a rock become endowed with unguessed kinships. Blood Meridian Kateb argues that these exemplary American thinkers and writers recommended a way of looking at nature and at existence, more generally, in which the onlooker would attain a contemplative mood of acceptance of the endless variety and raw vitality of the phenomena of the world.

For Kateb, this special kind of attentiveness to nature and the world, and the appreciation it fostered of the wonder of existence, was intended by Emerson, Thoreau, and especially Whitman to have political consequences for the democratic culture of representative government in the United States. In particular, they expected it to inspire a form of individuality which would be more tentative in its taking on of political identities and more playful in its social commitments and therefore especially vigilant against any absolutist claims posed by political authorities whose status is at least theoretically unsettled by periodic elections.

Because this wonder at existence was believed by them to be broadly available, potentially accessible by even the most unschooled and uncultivated person, it was an individuality to which citizens of representative democracy could and should aspire. First, as has already been noted, there are no similar examples in this latter work of McCarthy explicitly using political language to evoke the effects of aesthetic contemplation of nature e. In the second place, the landscape setting of The Road and its description of the material world lack the variety and definition that served to endow the novelistic landscapes of Blood Meridian , if not other of his novels, with vitality of the kind that might inform a political purpose.

Under perennially overcast skies from which periodic flurries of ash coat the surfaces of a world increasingly featureless, it becomes harder and harder optically to appreciate contrasts and recognize the outlines of things. If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it. In the law courts, in business, in government. There is nothing occurring in the streets. If there is a fundamental contrast of views about the worth of law courts, business and government at work in the novel, it may have autobiographical roots. So, for example, the welfare functions of government are held up for ridicule in the person of the handkerchief-dabbing, briefcase-carrying social worker who lacks the least bit of empathetic understanding of the sense of dignity and independence which motivated old man Ownby to resort to force against officers of the law coming to evict him from his mountain shack.

Unwilling to submit himself to the form-filling protocols of the social worker, Ownby declares himself ready to serve his time at the local prison on Brushy Mountain. Not a one. There is no such thing as county law. Because I say that it is. Does it work? Ninety percent of the time. It takes very little to govern good people. And bad people cant be governed at all. Or if they could I never heard of it. While The Road offers no direct examples of the working of such governance, it does make brief reference to a once-existing government.

It looks to be about eight miles or so. This is the river.

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Going east. We follow the road here along the eastern slope of the mountain. These are our roads, the black lines on the map. Wesley Morgan has shown that the route the father takes through a significant part of the novel is through towns and countryside with which McCarthy would have been familiar as a child growing up in the Knoxville area. One such site is the dam and lake, which the boy and his father observe from a roadside overlook.

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Before they built the dam that was just a river down there. Later, the boy and his father arrive at the parking lot of another overlook, this one, Morgan tells us, of the Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Dam building was a crucial component of the public works program of the New Deal government of President Franklin Roosevelt, aimed at stimulating the economy through jobs creation and raising living standards through electrification.

The s Savannah River project was a direct heir of the s Manhattan Project, the first mega-investment by the US government in nuclear weapons development. To the extent that these are sites of immense and ultimately successful governmental effort, they stand in clear and obvious contrast to the catastrophic condition of governmental absence in which the boy and his father find themselves. To be sure, the father does not indicate any knowledge of, nor volunteer any background information on, the contribution of governmental activity to the development of these sites.

It will probably be there for hundreds of years. In their later back-and-forth about state roads, the notion of durability is again evoked:. What happened to them? But the roads are still there. For a while. How long a while? Maybe quite a while. Did his father express pride in pointing out infrastructure projects, some of which he may personally have had a hand in?

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Either at the time of the visits, or later, McCarthy would have been or become aware of the human costs of those projects to the communities whose lands were taken. The boy in The Road wants to linger at what Morgan identifies as the Norris Dam, but the father refuses out of concern about being surprised by the arrival of other stragglers or worse. However, when considered beside an instance in the text of what can plausibly be read as a grotesque parody of political organization, this overlap carries greater interpretive weight.

This instance happens at a time when father and son are out of food. After a futile search through a crumbling mill town, the pair pass by a stone wall in the countryside topped by the decorated skulls of the losers of some past skirmish between cannibal bands.


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It is the largest conglomeration of people that the boy and his father come across. As the tennis shoe army processes by, no indication is given of a directing presence or authority, which raises the further question of how the order and discipline of the group is maintained. The depiction of these wandering ragged brigands is much more consonant with the conditions of life established by the narrative.

In addition, the encounter with this band furthers the action of the plot in a realistic way. By contrast, the tennis shoe army appears, in this impoverished landscape, as a larger-than-life spectacle with no discernible effect on plot development. After all, the narrative gives no indication that the only other possible witness to the phenomenon, the boy, sees or hears this nightmare procession.

His father presses the back of his head so that he remains face down for the duration. Take, for example, the vision that the main character of Suttree has after weeks of solitary wandering across unpopulated mountain forests in a state of severe malnourishment. Lay acolytes followed all in company and the priest went before ringing a small bell. A barefoot brotherhood clad in black marched in the rear bearing scepters of weeds. The Christ jostled past, a poor figure of straw with carven head and feet. In important respects, this scene anticipates another religious procession which appears to the kid years later, after the break-up of the murder gang.

After years of desultory work accompanying wagon trains in California, the kid abandons a party of migrants at a desert well seven days march from the coast. He first saw them laboring over the plain in the dusk among the flowering ocotillo that burned in the final light like horned candelabra. Then the member states nominate the Commission members in consultation with the presidential nominee. In sum, all three polities are democratic in Alvarez et al.

X8 is a combined variable indicating whether the legislature is elected or not, then multipled with an effectiveness indicator.

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Differences are emphasized. Second, domestic turmoil may make the implementation of legislation impossible.

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Third, the effective executive may prevent the legislature from meeting, or other wise substantially impede the exercise of its functions. Sec- ond, is that legislature effective? The Commission now formally sends its proposals to both chambers. This point is not trivial. In assessing the relative effectiveness of the European legislature, it matters that the Council, usually seen as the European actor with teeth and made up of ministers from elected govern- ments, is a factor in the equation. But how effective is the European legislature? Consider each chamber in turn.

First, Council proceedings lack transparency. Third, the rise of QMV in the Council, especially since Nice, creates a compliance problem when member governments are outvoted in the Council Hayes- Renshaw and Wallace Nevertheless, Nice lifted the threshold for QMV from 71 percent to 74 percent, in effect toward unanimity; and the Council of cabinet members from democratically elected governments is widely seen as a democracy-enhancing institution.

Those who refer to a weak EU legislature typically mean not the Council but the Parliament. Now the Council cannot overrule Parliament not even unanimously, as under Coopera- tion , or present it with take-it-or-leave-it proposals anymore. Its appointment and dismissal powers give the Parliament substantial au- thority.

Since the Single European Act, it has held hearings of prospective Commissioners before their investiture Jacobs The Commission has been very solicitous of the Parliament ever since.

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Parliament can demand much from agencies in terms of reporting, hearings or policy. Substantial funds earmarked for agencies are frozen until Parliament agrees that its concerns have been addressed Brinkhorst Even if its legal competencies were enlarged, the structural precondi- tions for its effectiveness are still lacking. The absence of a viable European party system, for example, is problematic, as weak parties cannot be good watchdogs for voters and against corruption. Each score ranges from 1 to 4, with 1 the most and 4 the least democratic.

Their criteria for achieving the top score 1 are listed next to each indicator in Table 4. Switzerland, the US and the EU all achieve top scores in all indicators. A system is genuinely free or democratic to the extent that the people have a choice in determining the nature of the system and its leaders.

Freedom House In Table 5, all three polities receive the top democratic grade 4 in all but one Political Rights indicator 4. A democratic regime is a regime in which the state is highly responsive to the preferences of society because all adult citizens are free to formulate their preferences, to signify their preferences to other citizens and to the state, and to have their preferences weighed without discrimination in the conduct of state policymaking.

Dahl 2—3 His indicators are the most ambitious of the scales here. No other scale includes both dichotomous and continuous variables and, for example, in- dicators for state intervention in the economy or for the type of parties. Gasiorowski provided only categories, no ratings. My ratings are based on subjective judgment. In two others, the EU compares unfavorably: a high level of technocratic leadership indicator 5f , and a moderate role of the state in economic planning 5i. Finally, it differs from Switzerland because of Swiss Corporatism 5g; Katzenstein and Swiss welfare 6c.

To get the top rating 1, a polity must have a total of 28—32 raw points in the 8 political rights indicators and a total of 45—52 in the 13 political liberties indicators.


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  6. Switzerland and the USA each get the maximum 32 and 52 raw points, while the EU gets 30 and 50 raw points. In no polity are people free from foreign powers, given globalization, or from economic oligarchies, given mergers of multinational corporations. In no polity are all media free and independent. Are all people respected by the security forces of Switzerland or the United States? Is there gender equality in Switzerland or the United States?


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    7. Is there equality of opportunity? But too much consistency can become rigidity. Second, Gastil holds up the Western-style democracies as the standard, and his survey has been accused of right-wing bias. For example, does the US system really provide freedom from gross socioeconomic inequality?

      Did a recent shift in power through elections take place in Switzerland? Not quite. One is the presence of institutions and procedures through which citizens can express effective preferences about alternative policies and leaders. Also coded for transitional arrangements intended to regularize future transitions after an initial seizure of power. Also used for transitional arrangements between selection and competitive election.

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      Third is the guarantee of civil liberties to all citizens in their daily lives and in acts of political participation. But in two other indicators, the EU receives a lower rating than the other two polities. I code it as 2. Now the EU: if a single executive the Commission is appointed and then approved by Parlia- ment, then the EU should receive the same code as Switzerland: 2.

      If, on the other hand, the EU has a dual executive — the Commission and the Council of Ministers — of which one the Council is elected, and the other the Commission is selected and then approved by Parliament, the EU should receive only a 2. To be conservative, I rate the EU at 2. Other scales show the EU as slightly less democratic than the other two polities. Some readers might object to some of my ratings.

      Yes, they are subjective, but so are many established scores in the scales. Others might argue that the EU is sui generis and cannot be compared to other polities, and that the scales are not applicable to the EU. Otherwise the term would be meaningless. One answer might be that the scales do not measure the real issue; but we have already dealt with that possibility above.

      Another explanation might be that old myths die slowly; but that cannot be the whole story.

      maisonducalvet.com/sant-gervasi-paginas-conocer-gente.php Asked differently: cui bono? It is worth remembering that neither Switzerland nor the US is an ideal type of democracy. Actual political conditions in both countries raise doubts whether political competition is really fair and open. True, the US permits more entrepreneurial freedom than most other states. This grand coalition functions almost as smoothly as a one-party system. The media in both countries may be governed by money and taboos protected by corporations or bureaucrats that must not enter the public debate.

      But this study did not aim to scrutinize the extent of democracy in these polities. Its purpose has been a comparison between them and the EU. Address for correspondence: Thomas D. He thanks Chris Matthews of the European Commission for countless interviews, phone calls, and correspondence on EU institutions; Robert Weissman for guidance through the labyrinths of US regulation; and Felix Heusler and Valentin Zellweger for help in understanding Swiss law.

      The member states granted the Commission more scope in international trade by moving trade agreements from unanimity to QMV, but other important areas see footnote 8 still require unanimity. The Parliament approved the Santer College by votes to in and the Prodi Commission by to in Vanhanen rates Switzerland at Since a center-right party grouping won the June European Parliament elections, winning 35 percent of the vote of Parliament seats , the share of the smaller parties is 65 percent. With a voter turnout of Banks, Arthur S.

      Bollen, Kenneth A. Bundesversammlung der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft Bundesverfassung der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft, Bern, Switzerland. Coppedge, Michael and Reinicke, Wolfgang H. Dahl, Robert A. Gasiorowski, Mark J. Gastil, Raymond D. Huntington, Samuel P. Jacobs, F. Katzenstein, Peter J. Heinz ed. Does it make a differ- ence? Manuscript, Yale University. Peters, B. Pollack, Mark A.

      Putnam, Robert D. Sbragia, Alberta M. Scharpf, Fritz W. Schmidt, Susanne K. Schumpeter, Joseph A. Sunstein, Cass R. Gastil ed. Sussman, Leonard R. Volcansek, Mary L. Weiler, Joseph H. Wood, B.