Some Principles of Politics
Libertarian Papers, VOL. 9, NO. 2 (2017)
44 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 5, 2017
Unlike economists, it is unusual for political scientists to examine first principles of our discipline. Perhaps there is a conviction or fear that these do not exist or at least that they are elusive, so that the attempt is bound to fail; or that they do exist but there is no reliable means to discover or verify them, so that the effort will be mired in endless controversy from the outset, with no clear conclusion. I submit that this aversion to digging into the roots of politics shortchanges the discipline and leaves students with no firm foundation upon which to erect their understanding of government with the findings of more specialized research. My purpose in this article is to make a small contribution toward remedying this situation by calling to mind a few fundamentals about government that all students of politics should know. To that end, I draw on the work of classical, modern, and contemporary scholarship and on my own analysis of nearly 700 elections in 50 democracies, of more than a dozen dictatorships of different ideological cast, and two historical cases with which I am most familiar — the United States and Cuba.
Keywords: principles of politics, laws of politics, centralization, rulers, ruled, democracies, dictatorsip
JEL Classification: Z
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation