The study of politics is the study of influence and the influential. The science of politics states conditions; the philosophy of politics justifies preferences. This book, restricted to political analysis, declares no preferences. It states conditions.
The influential are those who get the most of what there is to get. Available values may be classified as deference, income, safety. Those who get the most are elite; the rest are mass.
The distribution of deference is relatively clear in a formal hierarchy. The peak of the Roman Catholic pyramid is occupied by a comparatively small number of officials. There are one Pope, 55 cardinals, 22 apostolic delegates, 256 vicars apostolic, 245 archbishops, 1,578 bishops. The Communist party in the Soviet Union comes to a sharp head in the Political Committee of nine or ten members. The looser structure of government in the United States none the less confers special influence upon the Supreme Court of nine, the Presidency of one, and the Congress of a few hundred. Although any bright and talkative lad in the United States may be told that one day he may be president, only eight boys made it in the last generation. The potent American Senate, though comparatively large, would provide a place for only 480 senators each generation were none reelected. Deference pyramids, in form and in fact, are steep.