The interpretation of politics found in this book underlies the working attitude of practicing politicians. One skill of the politician is calculating probable changes in influence and the influential.
This version of politics is not novel to all students of social development. Yet it is constantly in danger of attenuation. Even now there is no brief book in English which states this standpoint for student, teacher, scholar, citizen, and politician, and which sees it in relation to passing time.
Certain practical and theoretical consequences follow from the lack of opportune reminders of this fundamental standpoint. That practicing politicians, caught in the immediate, lose sight of the remote, is to be expected. That systematic students, exempted from instant and overwhelming necessity, often grow precise about the trivial, need occasion no surprise.
Concepts for the study of influence must be changed or invented when influence is sought by novel means or under changed conditions. In epochs of rapid development, there is need to reassess the relevance of intellectual effort. Of the need for orientation in our day nearly everyone is convinced. A society newly devoted to planning may (as Karl Mannheim contends) require new styles of thought.