NATURE OF POLITICS - 1 Section 06 ------------------------------------ Q: What is Politics? Participation? Manipulation? Twisting things around to make people appreciate false actions? How a group of people organize themselves? How an organized group group of people interact with another organized group of people? Interaction, advertising benefits for a policy, Basically everything shared by people is political. Greek word ?polis? means a ?city state?. Living together and seeking the good life! Politics: The habits, norms, rules, or laws that communities enact and enforce, in order to promote peaceful coexistence and their own collective well-being; To the processes by which communities arrive at these habits, rules, norms, or laws. Not just about how government passes laws, how people come together and figure out their collective objectives. Political Theory The systematic attempt to articulate basic principles by which a community?s public affairs ought to be organized; To provide a conceptual foundation for political behavior, and To defend those principles against competing views in their own society or elsewhere. **** Ted Kennedy said in a recorded message: This is the purpose of my life! Healthcare *** Political theorists say, ?What are we trying to accomplish as a society?? We ought to have a way in which peoples? healthcare is taken care of. We must protect fundamental rights. What is the point that we are trying to achieve through authority? (Next Class) Ideal! Reading for Aristotle: Check Sakai Political Theory: The systematic attempt to articulate basic principles by which communities public affairs ought to be organized. To Provide a conceptual foundation for political behavior, and To defend those principles against competing views in their own society or elsewhere 1/25/09 -- Aristotle Asked more than ?What did Hobbes say about politics?? Late in Alexander the Great?s Life, he became paranoid cuz he was an asshole. He died in his thirties. He began suspecting that Aristotle was trying to poison him or something. Aristotle was AG?s tutor. Anatomy, Physics, Astronomy, etc, Aristotle was a beast ?First Scientist? ?Observation shows us? - Aristotle?s first line jawn METHOD If you wanna know pros and cons of various system, first thing you do is look around. Quite a different approach from Aristotle?s teacher, Plato. He wrote ?The Republic?. About what a perfect society looks like Plato: ?Perfect city cannot exist.? ?Governments are pale shadows of perfect justice.? So Plato is a bit disappointed. Aristotle begins with careful observations of what actually exists, and starts from there to build this perfect idea of society. Picture: Plato pointing to the heavens, Aristotle points towards the Earth. Unlike his great teacher, Aristotle was much more interested in the observation of the actual world. Methodologically speaking, observation is crucial for Aristotle, what are politics actually about, rather than what they should be? An extended critique of ?The Republic?. << By A What does observation show us? ?Observation shows us, first, that every city [polis] is a species of association, and, secondly, that all associations come into being for the sake of some good- for all men do their acts with a view to achieving something which is, in their view, a good....tThe most sovereign and inclusive association is the city [polis]...or the political association (1252al). If state is a sovereign association, there must be good. The Political Association (polis, city) We may say that while [the polis] comes into existence for the sake of mere life, it exists for the sake of a good life. For this reason every city exists by nature...It is the end and consummation to which those associations move... From these considerations it is evident that the city belongs to the class of things that exist by nature, and that man by nature is a political animal. [Politics, Book 1, Chapter 2] If humans want to reach their full potential, they must be organized in a political community Acorn is the end and consolation of an oak tree. Yet every acorn does not turn into an oak tree. Something in an acorn that An acorn strives to grow up Under certain circumstances acorn won?t grow. Just like humans and their political communities. Without political communities, humans will not flourish. Without economics, education, family, etc. Fatally impaired. The end and purpose of a polis is the good life, and the institutions of social life are a means to that end. A polis is constituted by the association of families and villages in a perfect and self-sufficing existence; and such an existence, on our account, consists in a life of true felicity and goodness. [Politics, BK. 3, Chp. 9] However, the ?good life? is not the central purpose of politics. Aristotle, it is ultimately a good life that we have in common with other people. Social life is a means to this end. ?If you have to remember just one thing from today, let it be that for A politics is fundamentally connected with concern for the good life, by which he means other than personal wealth. Politics is about human goodness.? Must devote itself to the end of achieving goodness, otherwise law becomes a mere covenant. Good & just polis. The many, the most vulgar, would seem to conceive the good and happiness as pleasure, and hence they also like the life of gratification. TIn this they appear completely slavish, since the life they decide on is a life for grazing animals...[L]iving is apparently shared with plants, but what we are looking for is the special function of a human being; hence we should set aside the life of nutrition and growth. The life next in order is some sort of life of sense perception; but this too is apparently shared with horse, ox, and every animal... Happiness, then, is best, finest, and most pleasant...It is not surprising, then, that we regard neither ox, nor horse, nor any other kind of animal as happy; for none of them can share in this sort of activity. For the same reason a child is not happy either, since his age prevents him from doing these sorts of actions. [Aristotle, Ethics] Expectations for children and adults are different. Scooby Doo & Mr. Ed will do anything for their respective treats. Being Human is not seeking sensory gratification 1/27/09 Constitution: A constitution is an organization of offices in a city, by which the method of their distribution is fixed, the sovereign authority is determined, and the nature of the end to be pursued by the association and all its members is prescribed. [Politics. 4:1] What else is there to the Constitution? The Preamble The constitution is the way in which a city lives [ Politics, 4:11] The best life for an individual: The mean [occupies the middle ground here] Cowardice, bravery, Stinginess, generosity, wastefulness ?IN the ethics we stated...that the truly happy life is one of goodness lived in the freedom of independence.? Types of constitutions: Good constitutions (rule acc to common interest) Monarchy/kingship Aristocracy Constitutional government/polity Perversions (Rule acc to personal interests of rulers) Tyranny Oligarchy Democracy Government is often dominated by the rich Great fear that drove a lot of philosophers is, ?What will happen if we turn the vote to a majority?? Rather than a few tyrannical rich people. Aristotle admits, there may actually be some situations in which it is better to have one person in control, and in some places to have any type of constitution in power depending on peoples? needs. >>> *ARISTOTLE DOES NOT LOVE DEMOCRACY.* <> useful friends Friendship of pleasure >> Fun friends Friendship of complete virtue >> People struggling are like friends of ours How would our political society look different if we saw people on the street as potential friends? ( lol I already do this) 2/1/10 Machiavelli: Life and Times Savanarola and the Bonfire of the Vanities Career in Florentine politics Letter to Vettori (1513) ?Machiavellianism? The Prince Dedicatory Letter An ?economy of violence? Cruelty well-used and cruelty abused Got burned at the stake where he burned the Vanities. Savanarola and the Bonfire of the Vanities Letter to Vettori (1513) When evening comes, I go back home, and go to my study. On the threshold I take off my work clothes, covered in mud and filth, and put on the clothes an ambassador would wear. Decently dressed, I enter the ancient courts of rulers who have long since died. There I am warmly welcomed, and I feed on the only food I find nourishing, and was born to savor. I am not ashamed to talk to them, and to ask them to explain their actions. And they, out of kindness, answer me. Four hours go by without my feeling any anxiety. I forget every worry. I am no longer afraid of poverty, or frightened by death. I live entirely through them. In the Prince (c.1513) No evidence that Lorenzo, the guy the book was written to, even knew the book was written. Written in a pathetic tone. The government he worked for was overthrown, he was suspected of secrecy, was tortured. Discourses on Livy (c.1517) Dedicatory Letter to Lorenzo de Medici: I have found nothing among my possessions I would value more...than an understanding of the deeds of great men, acquired through a lengthy experience of contemporary politics and through an uninterrupted study of the classics. Since I have long through about and studied what makes for greatness, and have now summarized my conclusions on the subject in a little book, it is this I send Your Magnificence. Has observed through his own experiences and gained book knowledge and practical knowledge that stand the test of time. His notion of greatness is a political and historical category/word/term. It?s not a moral category. Not the same thing as moral goodness. Not like Aristotle and his ?good life?. Distinction between two becomes important. SECTIONSSSSSSSS ?The economy of violence? Cruelty well-used and cruelty abused (Agathocoles and Oliverotto) Well used cruelty (if one can speak well of evil) one may call those atrocities that are committed at a stroke, in order to secure one?s power, and are then not repeated, rather every effort is made to ensure one?s subjects benefit in the long run. An abuse of cruelty one may call those policies that, even if in the beginning they involve little bloodshed, lead to more rather than less as time goes by. Those who use cruelty well may indeed find both God and their subjects are prepared to let bygones be bygones, as was the case with Agathocles. Those who abuse it cannot hope to retain power indefinitely. (chp. 8) Every cruelty is put behind the ruler. Cruelty abused leads to more rather than less. What does M think politics is all about? Proper use of cruelty in order to benefit people in the long run. Most radical claim: Those who use cruelty well may indeed find both God and their subjects are prepared to let bygones be bygones... God and people will forgive you if you use cruelty well. My section meets Friday, 1:10, Scott some room The Prince, Chapter 17 I recognize that every ruler should want to be thought of as compassionate and not cruel. Nevertheless, I have to warn you to be careful about being compassionate. Cesare Borgia was thought of as cruel; but this supposed cruelty of his restored order to the Romagna, united it, rendered it peaceful and law-abiding. If you think about it, you will realize that he was, in fact, much more compassionate than the people of Florence, who, in order to avoid being thought cruel, allowed Pistoia to tear itself apart...The whole community suffers if there are riots, while to maintain order the ruler only has to execute one or two individuals. (Look at Shay?s Array story, chapter 7) Qualities a Leader must possess to hold on to power - The Prince, Chapter 15 Our next task is to consider the policies and principles a ruler ought to follow in dealing with his subjects or his friends. Since I know many people have written on this subject, it may be thought presumptuous to write on it as well, especially since what I say...will differ greatly from the recommendation of others. But my hope is to write a book that will be useful, at least to those who read it intelligently, and so I thought it sensible to go straight to a discussion of how things are in real life and not waste time with a discussion of an imaginary world. For many authors have constructed imaginary republics and principalities that have never existed in practice and never could; for the gap between how people actually behave and how they ought to behave is so great that anyone who ignores everyday reality in order to live up to an ideal will soon discover he has been taught how to destroy himself, not how to preserve himself. For anyone who wants to act the part of a good man in all circumstances will bring about his own ruin, for those he has to deal with will not all be good. So it is necessary for a ruler, if he wants to hold on to power, to learn how not to be good, and to know when it is and when it is not necessary to use this knowledge. Rebuttals ?The City of God?, Plato Political behavior should be derived from moral philosophy What we do in politics should always follow directly from what we believe to be right. Machiavelli: This is a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature. Maybe it is true that we should live by the 10 Commandments, But the world is filled with people who do not believe and do not care. People you deal with won?t always be good. Instead do things (in your own defense) that will keep the people on your side. He does care about the people?s interests, and cares about keeping the ruler in power. If ruler is in power, achieve glory and greatness! In book, carefully chooses words. ?My book teaches you how not to be good, etc. etc. more complicated? The Prince, chapter 18 Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them in injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite...If men were entirely good this precept would not hold, but because they are bad, and will not keep faith with you, you too are not bound to observe it with them. Machiavelli?s favorite words: Useful, great, glorious (He wants to be taken back into government as a USEFUL person with a USEFUL book) Ruler should be virtuous, try to appear to be virtuous, must think one step ahead for when the situation calls for vice rather than virtue. Try to appear virtuous all along! Generosity requires money. Money doesn?t grow on trees. If you are a ruler & wanna be nice to people, find a way to pay for it. There is a problem though. (In chapter 16) Avoid robbing people, so it?s okay to be miserly - Stay out of peoples? way and they will be happy. Cruelty, compassion, how to be good, how not to be good- make sure to understand what Machiavelli is saying. He is not saying there is no such thing as good or evil, (there are virtues and not virtues) God might forgive you if cruelty is used properly. Overview: Remiro?s corpse Virtue and Politics The ruler?s interest and the poeple?s interest The ends of politics: glory, greatness, and order (ruler and people) The Prince, Chapter 21 A ruler should also show himself to be an admirer of skill (virtue) and should honor those whoa re excellent in any type of work. He....retaining his authority and dignity, for this he should never slip in any circumstances. Keep yo hands off of peoples? stuff! It pisses em off. Hold public events and make sure they know who ran it. Don?t raise taxes too high, etc. The Prince, Chapter 26 Having considered all the matters we have discussed, I ask myself whether, in Italy now...there is an opportunity for a prudent and bold man to take control of events and win honor for himself while benefiting everyone who lives here...One can see every Italian is ready, everyone is eager to rally to the colors, if only someone will raise them high...Italy, so long enslaved, awaits her redeemer...Do it with the confidence and hope with which people embark on a just cause so that, marching behind your banner, the whole nation is ennobled. Machiavelli?s view of Fortune: Fortune (fate, destiny), will be a great factor in every person?s life. Some people may not be able to achieve what they want because of luck. Antifederalists: Patrick Henry Confederation vs. Consolidated government Here is a revolution as radical as that which separated us from Great Britain...The fate of this question and of America may depend on this. Have they said, We, the states? Have they made a proposal of a compact between states? If they had, this would be a confederation. It is otherwise most clearly a consolidated government. The question turns, sir, on that poor little thing-- the expression, We, the people, instead of the states, of America. I need not take much pains to show the principles of this system are extremely pernicious, impolitic, and dangerous. Patrick Henry was ridiculous with stuff We didn?t fight 10-15 years just to give power back to a monarchy Refused to go to Philly, ?smelled rats? President could become a king?
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