The Pure Theory of Politics

By Bertrand Jouvenel De | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
THE TEAM AGAINST THE COMMITTEE

A certain small group of men (hereafter called 'the team') share an intention, the implementation of which requires at least a once-forall decision of some public authority.1 The most obvious procedure (hereafter called 'first') is to plead in favour of that decision with the holders (or holder) of the competent authority. The next most obvious (hereafter called 'second'), is to win over people who have easy and habitual access to the decision-maker or makers. These first and second procedures can be practised under any regime.

In the United States of this day the first procedure consists of calling upon the President, or Secretary, or upon Senators and Congressmen, and putting the case for the decision. The second procedure consists of mobilizing people who 'have the ear' of these important people and may bring up the matter. The same methods can be practised in a despotic regime. The despot is seldom inaccessible: the case can be put to him; also he lives surrounded by courtiers, and these may mention the request at favourable moments. Of course some requests have no chance at all of being listened to by the despot: but the same is true in any regime.2

The case which interests us here is that in which the decisionmakers ('the committee') cannot be persuaded directly or swung over by the mild nagging of their immediate circle. The team then turns to a third procedure, the organization of an outside pressure upon the committee. This is a current procedure in a regime of liberty: indeed its being held legitimate defines political liberty.

What is this third procedure? Through propaganda, the team recruits partisans of its intention who join with it in demanding the decision. How does this affect the committee? Here we must distinguish two possibilities. (a) When the team first uttered its demand, the committee failed to consider it, owing to the abundance of other business or to sheer negligence. Anyone at all familiar with

____________________
1
It may require as much as the complete taking-over of public authority, but we start out with the narrower requirement.
2
E.g. in the United States: that all unions be dissolved and declared henceforth illegal, or that all corporations with a capital exceeding a million dollars be nationalized, or that no citizen with a German grandfather be eligible to public office, etc.

-176-

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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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