The Pure Theory of Politics

By Bertrand Jouvenel De | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
THE LAW OF CONSERVATIVE
EXCLUSION

Instigation was discussed in part III. We posited the 'radical'1 of political action: 'A tells B to do H'; and pointed out that the reaction of B is uncertain (which can be signified by writing ABH?), and that the probability of its being positive is a function, on the one hand of his positive appreciation of H, on the other of his positive valuation of A. Now in part IV, attention is focused upon the reinforcing factor of A's speech constituted by his position of relative authority in respect of B (which can be denoted by A!B), a relation which can arise from A's occupation of a position of established Authority, or more simply from his having built up, accumulated, some propensity towards compliance on the part of B: authority simpliciter.

As we have ever lived in the shadow of established Authority, it seemed necessary to stress that simple authority is a ubiquitous, dynamic and logically prior phenomenon. At the end of the last chapter it was shown briefly that a state of affairs where there exists no authority besides established Authority cannot be achieved. Here it will be formally proved that a state of affairs where there would be no established Authority would be intolerable. For this demonstration, we shall assume such a state of affairs at the outset, and from its consideration the necessity of some established Authority will be made clear.

Such a demonstration may seem redundant. Almost no one is a consistent anarchist, pursues to its logical conclusion the belief that there should be no command: practically all men take for granted that there must be some pronouncements binding upon everyone. But the very function of a 'theory of politics' is to substitute for a hazy awareness an articulated edifice of sharply defined and logically dovetailed notions.

____________________
1
I am anxious that the reader should bear in mind that the relation referred to is 'cut out' by intellectual analysis, from complex situations wherein it figures as a basic component. It seems to me that this character is properly denoted by the term 'radical', which for that reason I persist in using, although advised that it lacks elegance.

-109-

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The Pure Theory of Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Part I- Approach- Politics as History 1
  • Chapter 1- Configuration and Dynamics 3
  • Chapter 3- On the Nature of Political Science 29
  • Part II- Setting- Ego in Otherdom 41
  • Chapter 1- Of Man 43
  • Chapter 2- Home 48
  • Chapter 3- Otherdom 55
  • Part III- Action- Instigation and Response 67
  • Chapter 1- Instigation 69
  • Chapter 2- Response 83
  • Part IV- Authority- ''Potestas'' and ''Potentia'' 97
  • Chapter 1- On Being Heard 99
  • Chapter 2- The Law of Conservative Exclusion 109
  • Chapter 3- Place and Face 118
  • Part V- Decision 129
  • Chapter 1- The People 131
  • Chapter 2- The Committee, I (judicial or Political) 146
  • Chapter 3- The Committee, II (foresight, Values and Pressures) 157
  • Part VI- Attitudes 167
  • Chapter 1- Attention and Intention 169
  • Chapter 2- The Team against the Committee 176
  • Chapter 3- The Manners of Politics 187
  • Addendum the Myth of the Solution 204
  • Conclusion 213
  • Index 215
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