The Pure Theory of Politics

By Bertrand Jouvenel De | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3 PLACE AND FACE

In the museum at Corinth there are two statues, artistically worthless, which testify to the fashion under Roman rule of setting up in a place of vantage the standing figure of the governor. The sculptor has reproduced, with uninspired exactitude, every detail of the military costume borne upon occasions of state by the representative of the civitas imperans. Only the head is lacking, nor is it by accident: a hollow between the shoulders reveals grooves designed for the fitting of a removable head upon the massive body. Thus were the citizens spared the expense of putting up a new statue to honour a new governor: the old face was taken down and a new face was set in its stead.

This can serve to symbolize established Authority. The statue has been set up at some previous time and lasts through many generations; but the face must be that of a living and active magistrate. The end of a life, or of a term, removes the transient head from the enduring shoulders. There is now a void to be filled, an opportunity for a new man to lift his head on to the shoulders of the statue. The aspiring politician who seeks to raise his face on top of the standing statue undertakes an operation far different from the raising of the statue itself, which requires slighter efforts, and skills different in kind. Therefore men who come to occupy positions of established Authority are seldom of the same type as the Founders. But if there have been founders in the past, as attested by the existing statues, there are also potential founders at present. The less likely they are to become occupants of established positions, the more prone they are to challenge the standing statues.

A new face can be raised on to the shoulders of the existing statue by four main procedures: heredity, nomination from above, cooptation, election from below. A complex political system comprises many statues, and the procedures for lifting heads on to them are diverse. Take Great Britain at the time of writing: succession to the throne is by heredity; seats in the House of Lords are filled by heredity but also by nomination from above (the new peers); offices

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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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