Hannah Arendt, “Reflections on Violence”

It is, I think, a rather sad reflection on the present state of political science that our language does not distinguish between such key terms as power, strength, force, might, authority, and, finally, violence—all of which refer to distinct phenomena. To use them as synonyms not only indicates a certain deafness to linguistic meanings, which would be serious enough, but has resulted in a kind of blindness with respect to the realities they correspond to. Behind the apparent confusion lies a firm conviction that the most crucial political issue is, and always has been, the question of Who rules Whom? Only after one eliminates this disastrous reduction of public affairs to the business of dominion will the original data concerning human affairs appear or rather reappear in their authentic diversity.

Source : The New York Review of Books, February 27, 1969 Issue

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Raoul Aglion, “French Colonial Policy”

Category : Ecole_Libre, Politics

France, the nation having the second largest colonial empire in the world, is the country bearing the largest responsibility in Africa. The territories administered by France on the Dark Continent may be divided into two separate and distinct parts: 1 “White Africa,” 2 “Black Africa.”

Source: World Affairs 107.2 (Jun 1944): 78-81

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G. A. Borgese, “The Intellectual Origins of Fascism”

Category : Politics, Sociology

The first and second rules of reasoning, as formulated by Newton and repeated by popular physicists down to the present, read as follows: “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearance. . . . Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes. As to respiration in a man and in a beast; the descent of stones in Europe and America; the light of our culinary fire and of the sun; the reflection of light in the earth, and in the planets.” Such rules are valid for human as well as for natural history, and therefore the reasons that explain Italian fascism must be good, at least in their main outlines, for fascism too, and vice versa, or they are not reasons at all.

Source: Social Research, Vol. 1, No. 4 (NOVEMBER, 1934), pp. 458-485

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 Herbert Croly, “The Advent of Direct Government”

Category : Founding, Politics

The Federal Constitution is in many other respects besides its amending clause a most unsatisfactory instrument for a courageous and thoroughgoing democracy. In the not very remote future it will have to be modified in certain essential matters – both by amendment and by interpretation. In the present connection, however, the discussion of the detailed character of these amendments need not detain us. As soon as public opinion is aroused to the plain fact that the amending clause is the most formidable legal obstacle to the democratizing of the American political system, that article of the Constitution will become the centre of attack.

Source: Progressive Democracy v.3 (NY: Macmillan), 1914

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Leon Festinger, “Behavioral Support for Opinion Change,” 

Category : Politics, Sociology

Although attitudes are commonly conceived to be tendencies to specific types of action, the relationship between attitude change and subsequent behavior has been investigated in only a few research studies. The importance of this neglected scientific problem and the meagerness of the data as yet available, which run somewhat contrary to prevalent expectations, call for concerted research efforts in the future.
Leon Festinger is Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. This article was his presidential address for the Division of Personality and Social Psychology at the meetings of the American Psychological Association in September 1963.

Source: The Public Opinion Quarterly  28.3 (1974): 404-417

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Victoria Hattam, “History, Agency and Political Change”

Category : History, Politics

Many political scientists have turned to historical research as means of clarifying the constraints shaping contemporary political action. Polsky’s self-identified pessimism in this forum captures this view of political history elegantly when he identifies notions of “path dependence” and “policy legacies” as key contributions of historical research. The focus for many historically oriented political scientists has been on identifying the ways in which political institutions and policies have provided a distinctive set of incentives and constraints that have, in turn, structured subsequent political choice.

Source: Polity 32.3 (2000): 333-338

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Horace Kallen, “Democracy Versus the Melting Pot”

Category : Politics

It was, I think, an eminent lawyer who, backed by a ripe experience of inequalities before the law, pronounced our Declaration of Independence to be a collection of “glittering generalities.” Yet it cannot be that the implied slur was deserved. There is hardly room to doubt that the equally eminent gentleman over whose signatures this orotund synthesis of the social and political philosophy of the eighteenth century appears conceived that they were subscribing to anything but the dull and sober truth when they underwrote the doctrine that God had created all men equal and had endowed them with certain inalienable rights, among these being life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Source: The Nation (25 Feb 1915)

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James Miller, “The Prophet of the Powerless”

Category : Politics

“Where does one begin thinking about manifestos?” wondered Tom Hayden in the spring of 1962. The existing political groups scarcely offered food for thought. “The socialistic parties are in a shambles,” he write, “the working class etc. is just not the missionary force we can count on,” the “civil rights leadership,” though “more militant than most,” was still oriented around a single issue. “I have the impression,” wrote Hayden, “that we have been our own leadership to a far greater degree than most ‘student radicals’ of the past… We are, like it or not, young intellectuals in an anti-intellectual society.”

Source: Democracy is in the Streets (NY:Simon and Schuster, 1994): 78-91

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Reinhold Niebuhr “Our Secularized Civilization,”

Category : Politics

Unqualified optimism on the present state or future prospect of religion in modern civilization can emanate only from a very superficial analysis of modern life. In America such optimism is justified by the undeniable prestige of the church in the popular mind and the vitality of the institutions of religion. In Europe optimism is not even supported by these facts. Yet America is in many respects more pagan than Europe, which means that the vitality of the institutions of religion is not in itself a proof of authentic religious life. The fact is that we are living in a completely secularized civilization which has lost the art of bringing its dominant motives under any kind of moral control.

Source: Christian Century (22 April 1926)

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Elizabeth Sanders, “On the Costs, Utilities and Simple Joys of Voting”

Category : Politics, Women

A widely accepted “picture” equation of the voting calculus, originated by Downs’ is R = PB – C where R is reward; B is the perceived differential in benefits offered the voter by the two parties; P is the probability that his vote will bring about the favored party’s victory; and C represents the costs incurred in the voting decision. The correspondence of the Downsian equation to the putative
decisional calculus of the prospective voter has been tested with a variety of methods. The data used are typically drawn from national election surveys. No two studies have operationalized the terms of the equation in the same way. Nevertheless, the calculus,
with various modifications, has been shown to have predictive utility. relative importance of the formula’s various terms. It is the contention of this paper that voting costs have been treated unrealistically and their importance relative to the other factors unduly discounted.

Source: The Journal of Politics 42.3 (Aug 1980): 854-863

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Hans Staudinger, “6 Cardinal Virtues of a Nazi: A New Type of Man”

In briefly outlining the educational program of Hitler, it is not our intention to take issue with that program as such. The reader is merely to get an idea what kind of values and virtues Hitler deemed the most desirable in a young German. This scale of virtues amounts to a revaluation of those values that are valid in a humanitarian world.

Source: Hans Staudinger, “The Inner Nazi”, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1981. 116-124

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Howard B. White, “Bacon’s Imperialism”

Category : Politics

To understand the political philosophy of Francis Bacon, or what he tried  to do in political philosophy, one must make the clear-cut distinction he saw, I believe, between a provisional and a definitive political teaching. The latter, which he put chiefly in the New Atlantis and the De Sapientia Veterum, could be but imperfectly explored, because man could only build a final political
teaching out of an as yet unconstructed natural philosophy. The former, on the other hand, could be known and conveyed with some precision. It was to serve the purpose of furnishing a temporary station for mankind, one that would be liveable and even comfortable as a dwelling place, and one that would at the same time, permit philosophy or science its own discovery of something better. Of the provisional political order, as Bacon saw it, there were three pillars: crown, church, and empire. The imperial pillar is certainly the most important to him of the three, and its construction required a greater boldness than the construction of either of the others.

Source: The American Political Science Review, Vol. 52, No. 2 (Jun., 1958), pp. 470-489

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