The first political scientist-empiricist - Political psychology

The first political empiricist

Political psychology is a fairly new academic discipline, which in principle is a product of American science. Although books and treatises on politics and political philosophy have appeared for already two millennia, in colleges and universities this discipline began to be studied in America only in the second half of the nineteenth century, and in Europe after 1945.

Initially, political science was studied as a branch of philosophy, so its main method was deduction. The main goal of political science and psychology was to create an ideal political system in which people could live in peace and harmony with each other. Such were all the classical treatises on political life from Plato to Hegel.

The only outstanding exception was the work of the "Sovereign" Machiavelli, who became the first political empiricist in the modern sense of the word. He was the second chancellor in the government of the Florentine Republic, ambassador at the courts of various European rulers and wrote several books. One of the first in the period of transition to a new era of European history, Machiavelli developed a solid universal of "human nature". His interpretation of man is sufficiently sober and gloomy. He wrote about people: "... in general, we can say that they are ungrateful and fickle, inclined to hypocrisy and deception, that they are frightened off by danger, attracts profit." "The name of Niccolò Machiavelli has for six centuries already caused many people to feel dislike and condemnation. In the philistine consciousness, it is perceived almost as a symbol of hypocrisy and the most infamous treachery. The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church see Machiavelli as almost anti-christ. Monarchs of all countries, including United States tsars, vilified him for republicanism. Republicans were accused of chanting absolutism. The cruel rulers labeled the conspirator and troublemaker, and the liberals condemned the opportunism and willingness to serve anyone, so as to be closer to the helm of political power. "

Justifying the role of the state, Machiavelli argued that the ruler can not provide power and order if he honestly conducts a political game. In order to retain power, the sovereign is obliged to suppress human egoism in the name of the common good and order. Such suppression requires politicians not only to use brute force, but also resourcefulness of mind, cunning and even treachery in the struggle for power and its consolidation.

Machiavelli's book "The Emperor" brought the author a huge fame. This work is a treatise that includes an analysis of political situations described by both ancient and modern Machiavelli authors. N. Machiavelli expounds his own teachings, which allow, as he thinks, the policy to succeed. Sometimes these instructions are deeply cynical. Widely known words of the author Sovereign that the wise ruler of the state is obliged "if possible not to move away from good, but if necessary not to shun evil". The main idea of ​​Machiavelli - the end justifies the means. The ruler must combine in his personality and in his actions the quality of a lion that can deal with any of the enemies, and a fox capable of carrying out the most sophisticated sage.

Such political treachery has long been called Machiavellianism. However, how fair is this view? The fact is that Machiavelli was trying to comprehend a new quality of politics. He viewed it from a realistic point of view. The truth of the expert turned out to be bitter, but is it really the author's fault? Machiavelli evaded moralizing, which was a fashion in medieval religious consciousness. He did not justify the violent and immoral actions of a politician, the more universally, for all time. Machiavelli saw the essence of the state in the "common good". At the same time he spoke not only about wealthy citizens. He took into account the interests of the masses and the people. Moreover, the thinker came to the conclusion that the "people" often turns out to be wiser and more reliable than the head of state.

The pathos of Machiavelli's book is to teach to be skillful politician, who should be flexible, constantly correlate with changes in life. Yes, the sovereign should resort to cruelty, but the latter is also different. Only the sovereign who uses this cruelty in the interests of the state is right, and then once, when it meets the state interests. Violence, according to Machiavelli, is intended to correct, not destroy.

Based on his experience, Machiavelli made certain conclusions, predicted the results of the actions of the rulers (princes) who were trying to establish or maintain a stable political regime. The recipes offered by Machiavelli were so unusual that his behavior was often considered immoral. In fact, he only outlined with utmost clarity the principles of state administration that were always used when the question of retaining or seizing power was raised.

Some thinkers, including Karl Marx, condemned Machiavelli for having his "theoretical examination of politics liberated from morality". However, these charges are devoid of sound reasons. Plato also noted that all rulers have to "resort to lies and deceit - for the benefit of those who are in their power ... such things are useful as a remedy."

The goal of Machiavelli was to educate a strong and independent political person who is obliged to understand the danger in which he immerses his soul. Before Machiavelli, religious morality seemed to precede action, obviously distinguishing a bad deed from a good deed and encouraging a person to act like that, and not otherwise. N. Machiavelli proposed to free the person from such restrictions and give him complete freedom.

The concept of "political Machiavellianism" there are still among politicians, because it is about using any, including immoral means (lies, slander, cruelty, deception), to achieve political goals. In the same Sovereign Machiavelli justified the legality of deviation from moral laws for achieving great political goals, discarding the Christian morality so that it does not interfere with politics. In the arsenal of possible, from the point of view of Machiavelli, the means may include "well-applied cruelties", the ability of the politician "to be a great pretender and hypocrite", to defeat enemies "by force and deceit", the ability of the ruler to inspire the subjects "love and fear" to force the people to believe by force in something that does not meet his convictions. " N. Machiavelli wrote: "The homeland must be protected by glorious and shameful means, just to protect it well."

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