ERIC Number: EJ712164
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Count: 10
Pornography and Deceptive Advertising: What Is the Role of Government in a Free Society?
Martinson, David L.
Social Studies, v96 n1 p30 Jan-Feb 2005
One of the most perplexing realities concerning the attitudes of American citizens toward the proper or desired role of government in society has been an almost schizophrenic mindset for demanding less government, at least in the abstract, while at the same time asking more of that same government in the particular. If, for example, one asks the average citizen whether government is too big or taxes are too high, one will most likely get an affirmative response--often an emphatically affirmative response. Usually, that same average citizen also wants good roads, superior schools, timely garbage pick-ups, and police and fire protection when needed. One finds a similar schizophrenic mindset if one attempts to evaluate the views of the average American about questions related to civil rights and liberties. Public opinion researchers have consistently found that respondents to surveys overwhelmingly assert that they are strong supporters of freedom of speech and of the press, as long as one is speaking in generalities. Move to specific circumstances, however, and that support will quickly dissipate. In this article, the author states that social science teachers have a responsibility to address that reality if their students are going to become genuinely informed participants in the political process. Too frequently, he says, discussions of political decision making and the role and responsibilities of the individual citizen in that process take on something of a disconnected approach in the social studies classroom.
Descriptors: Public Opinion, Freedom of Speech, Civil Rights, Government Role, Federal Regulation, Pornography, Social Studies, Advertising, Intellectual Freedom
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A