Political science

scientific study of politics
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Political science, occasionally called politology, is a social science which deals with systems of governance, and the analysis of political activities, political thoughts, associated constitutions and political behavior.

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  • Majorities are of two sorts: (1) Communal majority and (2) political majority. A political majority is changeable in its class composition. A political majority grows. A communal majority is born. The admission to a political majority is open. The door in a communal majority is closed. The politics of political majority are free to all to make and unmake. The politics of community majority are made by its own members born in it.
  • A young man is not an appropriate hearer of lectures on political science; for he is inexperienced in the actions that occur in life.
  • The market (the peaceful competition for the acquisition of goods) requires the prior existence of the social contract (the agreement to abide by contracts and the establishment of a judge to arbitrate and enforce contracts) without which men are in a state of war. The market presupposes the existence of law and the absence of war. War was the condition of man prior to the existence of civil society, and the return to it is always possible. The force and fraud required to end war have nothing to do with the market and are illegitimate within it. The rational behavior of men at peace, in which economics specializes, is not the same as the rational behavior of men at war, as was so tellingly pointed out by Machiavelli. Political science is more comprehensive than economics because it studies both peace and war and their relations. The market cannot be the sole concern of the polity, for the market depends on the polity, and the establishment and preservation of the polity continuously requires reasonings and deeds which are “uneconomic” or “inefficient.” Political action must have primacy over economic action, no matter what the effect on the market. … Economics deals only with the bourgeois. … The warlike man is not within its ken. Political science remains the only social science discipline which looks war in the face.
  • It is difficult to see why the most advantageous political system, for the present, would not be a democratic state with an artistocratic government, provided only the artistocracy be that of real merit, and not of artificial qualities. If this be not the real principle of the republican form of government then I must confess that I do not know what its principle is.
    • John Burgess (1933). The Foundations of Political Science. (reprinted 1994) As cited in Ido Oren, "The Subjectivity of the 'Democratic' Peace," International Security, Vol. 20, No. 2.
  • After the first International Days of Protest in October, 1965, Senator Mansfield criticized the "sense of utter irresponsibility" shown by the demonstrators. He had nothing to say then, nor has he since, about the "sense of utter irresponsibility" shown by Senator Mansfield and others who stand by quietly and vote appropriations as the cities and villages of North Vietnam are demolished, as millions of refugees in the South are driven from their homes by American bombardment. He has nothing to say about the moral standards or the respect for international law of those who have permitted this tragedy. I speak of Senator Mansfield precisely because he is not a breast-beating superpatriot who wants America to rule the world, but is rather an American intellectual in the best sense, a scholarly and reasonable man -- the kind of man who is the terror of our age. Perhaps this is merely a personal reaction, but when I look at what is happening to our country, what I find most terrifying is not Curtis LeMay, with his cheerful suggestion that we bomb everybody back into the stone age, but rather the calm disquisitions of the political scientists on just how much force will be necessary to achieve our ends, or just what form of government will be acceptable to us in Vietnam. What I find terrifying is the detachment and equanimity with which we view and discuss an unbearable tragedy. We all know that if Russia or China were guilty of what we have done in Vietnam, we would be exploding with moral indignation at these monstrous crimes.
  • Today political science is often said to be ‘descriptive’ or ‘empirical,’ concerned with facts; political philosophy is called ‘normative’ because it expresses values. But these terms merely repeat in more abstract form the difference between political science, which seeks agreement, and political philosophy, which seeks the best.
  • Political science, by which I mean nothing more abstruse or academic than consideration of a foreign country as a country in its own right, seems to have been almost completely supplanted by a preoccupation with international relations. What is thought irrelevant to that side of things (often wrongly) is considered beneath notice. This can be seen by the reflexiveness with which journalists now contact I.R. professors or nuclear specialists for comment...
  • The revelation that systems organize on their own sat poorly with the apostles of social sciences—especially political scientists who base their theories on imposing external controls to achieve selected political goals. They are accustomed to thinking about government-produced certainties, not ambiguous probabilities. In their linear calculations, humanity must be physically forced to follow the guiding light of political leaders or flavor-of-the-month ideologies. The economy and human actions must march in step with legislative or dictated law, no matter what the outcome. Yet natural systems do not operate this way.
    • L. K. Samuels, In Defense of Chaos: The Chaology of Politics, Economics and Human Action (2013) pp. 10-11.

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