that politics is about: obtaining access to the wealth and power of a society, and managing these authoritatively via governing institutions for the good of the people, both individually and as a society.
Entering political life requires individuals to possess ato work for the good of the people. Let us take this requirement step by step:
The presence of self-aggrandizing lust immediately puts to work for the good of all» become squeezed out. Ultimately, concern for the people en masse is almost an afterthought to be fitted in if absolutely necessary.in jeopardy. then supports and enables the abuse of power for personal or group gain instead of the general good. The self-interested urge enters and shapes the machinery of government; and the end result is that genuine motivations «
Michael Oakeshott"Lectures in the History of Political Thought" 2006, eds T. Nardin & L.S. O’Sullivan, Imprint-Academic London. describes Greece where Western ideas of originated.
In tribal times in ancient Greece a tribe was little more than an extended family. It operated via custom and personal relationships. When tribes joined together in early Greece, the need for management of diversity arose and henceand laws emerged.
The language ofthen was about «doing justice», making tribes «feel at home», «divine inspiration». The Greek thinkers and leaders were, apparently, lovers of political discourse and debate. The polis, agora, demos, politai, basileus, ecclesia, politike, themis, thesmos, nomos, dike, nemesis: all these things seem remote from political violence. Yet violence was everywhere.
Oakeshott suggests that what the Greeks created was more a «legend about politics», than itself. The aim here is not to create any legends, but to focus on the brute reality of so we can know what it is that we have to tame.
Governing institutions need to be specifically designed to take account of the human lust for:
In the Time-before-Design, the political-governing role implicitly selected for those with a lust for power and a readiness to do anything, anything at all, to gain power. Until rather recently in human evolution, societies were run by a «strong man», the King or Chief or General or Tyrant or Dictator, who inherited power, or took it by force, or was begged to take charge to deal with chaos or fears.
A few powerful organized groups then surrounded this Supreme Leader: his generals & soldiers, the priesthood, and usually aristocrats (e.g. barons). Together, they ruled and governed society. Once political power was gained, it was used to accumulate:
That is how enlightened goal for politics.started, and how it has in general continued. But that does not deny the continuing existence of a realistic yet
A: Wrong question. obeys evolution's «survival of the fittest» rule. Those who are most determined to do what it takes rise to the top.
In the past: kill or be killed was the power rule: so murdering competitors often solved the issue. Yes: it does violate every ethical doctrine—but ethical choice is a matter of personal freedom, so there is little that any doctrine (as such) can do about it.
In the present: survival of the fittest still applies ingenerally. Anyone squeamish about cheating, lying, defaming, bribing, threatening, tricking, distorting, inciting base emotions, or using charisma for selfish ends is liable to be crushed by a less scrupulous competitor.
Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 24-Feb-2014