Max Weber 1864-1920 Foundational in modern social science, esp. sociology Helped write Weimar Constitution – Proportional representation – Article 48 Disenchantment Rationalization
Politics as a Vocation Delivered before Free Students Society at Munich University The Revolution of 1918-19 – Spartacus League, Rosa Luxemburg & Karl Liebknecht murdered Vocation
Ideal Type Analysis Not found in empirical study Tools for understanding
The lecture I shall give in response to your wishes will necessarily frustrate you in a number of ways.* (32) – in response to your wishes – Why disappointing? Why is this necessary?
What is politics? The concept is extremely broad and includes every kind of independent leadership activity. (32) – Politics is about leadership But in the modern era, the definitive political organization is the state. – Like the political organizations that preceded it historically, the state represents a relationship in which people rule over other people. (34) Notice: people rule over other people.
What is the state? [T]he state is the form of human community that (successfully) lays claim to the monopoly of legitimate physical violence. (33) – Violence by groups and individuals is legitimate if and only if they are authorized by the state, and only insofar as it permits them to do so. Violence is, of course, not the normal or only means available to the state. That is undeniable. But it is the means specific to the state.
Hence, what politics means for us is to strive for us is to strive for a share of power or to influence the distribution of power, whether between states or between the groups of people contained within a state. (33) – True? – Who is us?
Legitimacy If the state is to survive, those who are ruled over must always acquiesce that is claimed by the rulers of the day. When do they do so and why? (34) – The ruled must acknowledge the right of the ruler to rule – Power + legitimacy = authority
3 Sources of Legitimacy The authority of the eternal past, of custom, sanctified by a validity that extends back into the mists of time and is perpetuated by habit. This is traditional rule, as exercised by patriarchs and patriarchal rulers of the old style. – We do this because we have always done this. We do this because this is who we are.
3 Sources of Legitimacy Second, there is the authority of the extraordinary, personal gift of grace or charisma, that is, the wholly personal devotion to, and a personal trust in, the revelations, heroism, or other leadership qualities of an individual. – More than mere charm, charisma is akin to the touch of God
3 Sources of Legitimacy This is charismatic rule of the kind practiced by prophets orin the political spherethe elected warlord or the ruler chosen by a popular vote, the great demagogue, and the leaders of political parties. – What unites prophets and warlords?
3 Sources of Legitimacy Lastly, there is rule by the virtue of legality, by virtue of the belief in legal statutes and practical competence based on rational rules. This type of rule is based on a persons willingness to carry out statutory rules obediently. (34) – Obedience: the experience of obeying as personal will – Rule of this kind is to be found in the modern servant of the state...
2 Types of Ruling Apparatus 1. The apparatus is owned by the agents of the ruler – Military, administrative, communications – Aristocratic – Personal fealty – Decentralized, highly political
2. The agents of the ruler are alienated from the apparatus of rule. – Proletarianization of rule – Centralized (in whom?) – In the modern state, the separation of the administrative staff, that is, of officials and employees, from the material resources of administration, has been accomplished. (38)
Thus, the trend of history has been away from politics and toward bureaucracy. This is especially true in Germany, but is true even in America. – There, the bureaucracy had been entirely political (spoils system), but the demands of an increasingly complex political world led to increased bureaucratic professionalization (civil service exams)
A stark choice exists between a democracy with a leader together with a machine or a leaderless democracy, in other words, the rule of the professional politicians who have no vocation and who lack the inner, charismatic qualities that turn a man into a leader. (75)
Recall: Politics is the rule of people by people. The legitimacy of bureaucratic government is contingent on peoples obedience of rules. It it the rule of humans by things. – Political appointees come and go, but professional bureaucrats are permanent.
The bureaucrat should not be politically active but, above all else, should administer, impartially. (54) – Not politics, but administration – Not struggle, but obedience – Not leadership in a cause, but service to the law
He should therefore abstain from doing what politicians, the leaders as well as the followers, must always necessarily do, namely, to fight. For taking sides, struggle, passion ira et studiumare the politicians element, especially the political leaders.
His activity is subject to an entirely different principle of responsibility, in fact, the very opposite principle to that of the official. (54) – The official is responsible to obey, regardless of whether the command seems right or wrong. Without this high level of ethical discipline and self-denial, the entire apparatus of rule would collapse. – The discipline of the official is necessary.
The political leader, by contrast, acts exclusively on his own responsibility, a responsibility that he may not and cannot refuse or shuffle onto someone else. (54)
To ask what kind of human being one must be to have the right to grasp the spokes of the wheel of history is to ask an ethical question. (76)
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