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Ch. 1 - The Nature of Power, Politics, and Government

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Nathaniel Koehler

on 21 January 2014

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Transcript of Ch. 1 - The Nature of Power, Politics, and Government

Chapter 1
Power vs. Authority
Purpose and Role
Of Government
Assumptions of Power
And Authority Throughout History
"The Possibility of imposing one's will upon the behavior of other persons"
Power that has been defined in some legal or official way
Need of Government in Troubled Times
Without the government, people would be condemned to live in "continual fear and danger of violent death."
-Thomas Hobbes
Providing Public Goods
Two key characteristics:
Political Activity Has A Purpose
Political Activity Involves Collective Action
Political activity is collective —
it involves working with others to achieve shared goals
Horse Trading
Winning by Giving to Get
Winning by Refusing to Play
Power Struggle
Winning by Being Smarter and Stronger than the Opposition
The Nature of Power, Politics, and Government
Sources of Power
other legal document
While power is the ability to control others,
authority is simply a source of power, part of
what gives a ruler the legitimacy to rule.
Political Behavior Is
A Natural Function
Of Society
The Government Provides:
of life and property
when trouble arises
1. More than one person can consume them
without reducing the amount availabe to others.
2. All people have the right to use a public
political activity is intentional, not random
All political activity is done for a reason
Institutions Shape Political Activity
"Never doubt tat a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
— Margaret Mead
For colletive action to work, people involved need to be prepared to seek and accept compromise
Organizations or sets of rules that shape the behavior of groups
Establish routines for dealing with recuring problems
Establish rules, both written and unwritten, that shape political activity
Demolition Derby
Civil Disobedience

Each side gives up something to get something else that they want
Example: Missouri Compromise
Rather than giving something to the opposition, a side simply walks away and refuses to return until the opposition agrees to give them something they want
Example: Labor Unions, such as the National Farm Workers Association
Usually when two sides are very different, clever politicians try to win by outfoxing or overpowering their opponents
Example: Machiavelli
Winning by Wiping Out the Opposition
The goal of the "demolition derby" strategy is the complete destruction of one's opponent
Example: Punic Wars
Winning by Shaming the Opposition
People of conscience, or moral crusaders, deleiberately disobey what they consider an unjust law
Examples: Gandhi, Civil Rights Movement
Full transcript