Multiple choice essay: Which of the following best describes the current United States of America, and why? (Don't you hate it when an otherwise easy question contains the condition "and why"?)
- Ochlocracy (aka: Mob Rule) — trusting of the instincts and power of large groups—no consistent civics at all.
- Anarchism — no government or other hierarchy, a common ethical code enforced only by personal governance and voluntary association.
- Minarchy — a minimal hierarchy—e.g. sometimes said to include eco-anarchism
- Libertarianism — a philosophy based on the premise that in order to maximize personal freedom, society should value the acquisition of private property over the public good.
- Direct democracy — decisions made directly by citizens without guidance or moral suasion, e.g. as advocated by H. Ross Perot, usually relying on multiple choice laid out by experts
- Deliberative democracy — decisions made by locally-grouped citizens obligated to participate in consensus decision making process, e.g. as advocated by Ralph Nader
- Bioregional democracy — a deliberative democracy regulated by a caste of highly-qualified scientific advisors (both ecologists and ethicists) who can use scientific method to challenge or veto major ecological decisions, means of measuring well-being or selecting criteria for moral purchasing by the entire bioregional state
- Technocracy — reliance on castes of scientists, e.g. doctors to rule society, and define risk for the whole society - sometimes generalized into anticipatory democracy. Can be interpreted as leading to or including kleptocracy
- Theocracy - government lead by religion, beliefs or culture. May be led by powerful religious figures such as the Pope and follows rules based on religious documents.
- Aristocracy — general trust in one class in society to rule and protect, e.g. members of particular noble families that have worked for and/or defended the community across many generations (i.e. "old" money), upholding traditions, standards of living, art, culture, commerce, and defense. Not to be confused with plutocracy, where rule is based solely on financial wealth.
- Constitutional monarchy — a monarch, possibly purely symbolic and devoted to moral example, avoiding vesting such popularity in any less trustworthy political figure—typically tied to at least some deliberative institutions, and making the monarch a tiebreaker or mediator or coach, e.g. Queen Elizabeth II and Tony Blair
- Representative democracy — a political class of elected representatives is trusted to carry out duties for the electors - these may be responsible to any group in society, or none, once elected.
- Absolute monarchy — a monarch who rules for life and can pass on this rule to his or her heirs, but is responsible to some social ideal or culture that has trained him or her to carry out these duties, e.g. Louis XIV, Hirohito, most dynastic Emperors, Augustus Caesar.
- Dictatorship — a political or military ruler who has the powers of the monarch, but whose basis for rule is not hereditary, but based upon military or political power, or by popular election, e.g. Benito Mussolini, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Julius Caesar, Josef Stalin, Mao ZeDong.
- Socialism - a broad array of ideologies and political movements with the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community for the purposes of increasing social and economic equality and cooperation.
Use a blue book. You have 90 minutes.