Politics as a Vocation
* Concerning the significance of political action in the whole way of life.
- What do we understand by politics?
- The concept is extremely broad and comprises any kind of independent
leadership in action.
- i.e. currency police of the banks; of the discounting policy of the Reichsbank,
the strike policy of a trade union.
- We wish to understand by politics only the leadership, or the influencing of the
leadership, of a political association, hence today, of a state.
- What is a „state‟?
- Sociologically, the state cannot be defined in terms of its ends.
- There is scarcely any task that some political association has not taken in hand,
and there is no task that one could say has always been exclusive and peculiar
to those associations which are designated as political ones: today the state, or
historically, those associations which have been the predecessors( 被取代之物) of
the modern state.
- Ultimately, one can define the modern state sociologically only in terms of
specific means peculiar to it, as to every political association, namely, the use of
- “every state is founded on force.” -- Trotsky
- If no social institutions existed which knew the use of violence, then the concept
of „state‟ would be eliminated, and a condition would emerge that could be
designated as „anarchy‟, in the specific sense of this word.
- Force is not the normal or the only means of the state -- nobody says that -- but
force is a means specific to the state.
- Today the relation between the state and violence is an especially intimate one.
* Today, we have to say that a state is a human community that (successfully)
claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given
* Note that „territory‟ is one of the characteristics of the state.
* At the present time, the right to use physical force is ascribed to other
institutions or to individuals only to the extent to which the state permits it.
* The state is considered the sole source of the “right” to use violence.
* Hence, „politics‟ for us means striving to share power to striving to influence the
distribution of power, either among states or among groups within a state.
- What is a “political” question? When is the decision is said to be „politically‟
- The interests in the distribution, maintenance, or transfer of power are decisive
for answering the questions and determining the decision or the official‟s sphere
of activity. - He who is active in politics strives for power either as a means in serving other
aims, ideals or egoistic, or as „power for power‟s sake,‟ that is, in order to enjoy
the prestige-feeling that power gives.
* Like the political institutions historically preceding it, the state is a relation of
men dominating men, a relation supported by means of legitimate (i.e.
considered to be legitimate) violence.
* If the state is to exist, the dominated must obey the authority claimed by the
powers that be.
- When and why do men obey?
- Upon what inner justifications and upon what external means does this
* In principle, there are three inner justifications, hence basic legit合法化tiofs
1) The authority of the „eternal yesterday‟: i.e. of the mores sanctified through the
unimaginably ancient recognition and habitual orientation to conform. --> this
is „traditional‟ domination exercised by the patriarch and the patrimonial prince
of yore昔日 .
2) The authority of the extraordinary and personal gift of grace (charisma), the
absolutely personal devotio信仰/奉献 an personal confidence in revelatio显露 ,
heroism, or other qualities of individual leadership. --> this is „char超凡matic‟
魅力的/神赐能力的 domination, as exercised by the prophet or -- in the field of
politics -- by elected war lord, the plebisci国民投票an ruler, the great
demagogue 煽动政治家 , or the political party leader.
3) There is domination by virtue of „legality,‟ by virtue of the belief in the validity of
legal statu法规 and functional „competence‟权限,资格 based on rationally
created rules. --> In this case, obedience is expected in discharging statutory
obligations. This is domination as exercised by the modern „servant of the
state‟ and by all those bearers of power who in this respect resemble him.
- In reality, obedience is determined by highly robust motives of fear and hope --
fear of the vengeance of magical po