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Lecture 2

POL 1101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Bicameralism, Justin Trudeau, Avocation

Political Science
Course Code
POL 1101
Wolfgang Koerner

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Notion of Modern State
States are largely geographic territories
Different responsibilities
Large matters in terms of government are more complicated
State and role of politics within it
State and civil society
State: government organization, bureaucracy, military
Civil Society: how we earn our livelihood, family, religion
Nation state: geographic territories with certain resp., rights and activities
Term is now used loosely without really understanding what the state is or what the
limitations are
State is a human community that claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical
force within a given territory
Right for other inst. to use physical force is only allowed by the state (sole source
of the right to use violence)
Politics is the striving to share power or influence the distribution of power (either among
states or among groups within states)
Those who are active in politics → strive for power (either as a means for aims
(egoistic, self-fulfillment)) (or simply for powers sake)
What inner justification and external means does this domination next?
Max Weber: three legitimations of domination
Authority of the eternal yesterday: the morals that are largely sanctified through
ancient recognition and traditions (conformity) → referred to as traditional
Authority of the extraordinary and personal gift of grace: charisma - domination
that’s exercised by profit or personality. Individuals don’t fear the leader because
of law or statute but because they believe in the authority (the person) →
followed because of their aura or personality
Legal rational authority: domination by virtue of legality → (one obeys because of
the rule of law) (modern state)
These three are usually combined but the most dominant is legal rational
Come together under a president or prime minister
No single person owns government property → can’t use them for their own purposes
(can’t own but can access)
Can’t have a claim to the goods of the state (not even leaders)
State is something that exists independent of all the officials
No one controls the material means of organization in their own right
Controlled according to laws, rules etc
Weber also argues that in the modern state, politics can be practiced as an avocation or
Politics as an avocation: people who are only politically active in times of need
(politics is neither materially or ideally their life)(more like a hobby)
Political association is a means to further private gain
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Politics as a vocation: live FOR politics, or life OFF politics (not necessarily
mutually exclusive)
Those who live for it → eat and breathe it. Enjoy the naked possession of
Those who live off it → choose to make their lives OFF of it. Money-wise.
Three qualities to be a successful politician according to Weber:
Make a significant contribution
Need passion → devotion to an attainable cause
Feeling of responsibility
A sense of proportion → common sense/decisive quality of the politician
Has to be able to distance himself from the situation and others
Need sense of perspective and realism
Politics is made with a head not a heart (but passion should still be present)
A proper sense of proportion keeps one from committing the two deadly sins of
politics → lack of objectivity and irresponsibility
Politician presents a persona/mask to the public (Machiavelli)
Pursuit of power for power’s sake is little more than a simple minded distortion of
the purpose of politics → the work of the power politician will leave no mark
because he needs to have a cause (a cause is a matter of faith)
For political action to have meaning and substance, a cause must be present and
Ethical foundation of political practice: distinguishes between ethic of ultimate
ends and ethic of responsibility
Ethic of ultimate ends: asks that we try to do the right things and leaves
the consequences for others to deal with
Ethic of responsibility: requires that we give an account for the
foreseeable consequences of our actions (intended or unintended)
In numerous instances the attainment of good ends are achieved through
dubious means
Always a structure of bias in how we do things → what we consider to be
Only certain issues will come to the public forum if there’s a certain push
Nation State: treaty of montevideo → first attempt to clear up what a nation state is
Treaty argues that the nation state is a person of international law → must
possess certain qualifications (permanent population, defined territory,
government and capacity to enter into relations with other states)
Defined territory: ability to control territory (territorial sovereignty → able
to take legal and factual measures within that territory and prevent other
nations from interfering in that territory without the state’s consent)
(includes air, space and earth and 12 miles of the sea off the coast) (you
may have territorial disputes with other states)
Permanent population: state requires a significant number of permanent
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