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Political Power

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Political PowerÐ'...

Many political philosophers would argue that political science is nothing more than the study of political decision-making and how it affects the daily lives of the populous. Politically, having the ability to influence others is a very strong power that beckons responsibility. In order to obtain this, one must be able to convince others that what is being requested or instructed is being done in the best interest of the person and populous, in the name of the common good. Political power creates a foundation in our lives, through persuasion, manipulation, and our own morality, by which we are instructed about what we "ought to do."

Political power exercises the art of persuasion. In the play Gorgias, written by Plato, this art is described in its complexity as rhetoric. Rhetoric, according to Gorgias, is "the art of persuasive public speech." Gorgias also describes rhetoric as being the "good and evil in political activity." Gorgias believed that rhetoric was best used, responsibly, in a political environment. This is because political environments are foregrounds for separate entities to battle for which opinion is right. Hence, making politics war. Another example of this power is the household. Parents play an influential and persuasive political role in their household. Politics were designed for the benefits of the people, just as parental rule was in place for the good of the children. They control where their child goes and what their child does. They also have the power to control their child's mind, by conditioning him/her in a manor by which they will grow up and become a certain type of citizen. Since they have complete and total control over their home; they are rulers of their own regime. This system works like a compact dictatorship when their children are young, and a limited monarchy when their children become older teens; as their commands become helpful advice. Since rhetoric is the art of persuasion, it also exists as common opinion, based merely on what each party believes to be just and unjust. John Rawls stated in his article, "Fundamental Ideas", "A well-ordered societyÐ''s a society in which everyone accepts and knows that everyone else accepts, the very same principles of justice." This meant that the people of a community must collectively be made aware of political activity, otherwise known as the media; which also could be influenced and manipulated. Political leaders could not be powerful unless they got what they want, and they could only get that by persuading and manipulating their followers to believe what the political leader believes to be true.

As described previously, political power lavishes in persuasion. It does not only exist on the surface of the family regime, it exists deep within, what we call, our social norms. Aristotle wrote, in Politics Book 1, that there is a proper relationship between the body and soul in relation to different types of rule. The soul rules the body as a master rules a slave and the intellect rules the appetites as a king rules a city, Aristotle explained. It is better for animals that man rule them, and the relationship of male to female is the same as the relationship of sansei to pad`wan. Education of women and children with a view to the regime is necessary because, "the children grow up to be citizensÐ'..." Aristotle wrote, "Ð'...and half the free persons in a state are women." Aristotle wrote, "Ð'...the male is by nature superior, and the female inferior; and the one rules, and the other is ruled; this principle, of necessity, extends to all mankind." The husband's rule over the woman in a marriage is like political rule, or "rule over free and equal persons, in which both the ruler and the ruled are free and equal." Thus, the virtues of men and women are different, and the virtues of slaves are also different. A virtue is a settled disposition of the mind. We should attempt to tilt to the side of excess and sometimes to that of deficiency in order to achieve the mean easier and stay on the right course.

Aristotle believed that we all govern ourselves naturally to seek what is best in life. Aristotle's discussion of slavery is important for an understanding of Aristotle's idea of freedom and its relation to political power. A slave is "a possession of the animate sort," meaning that he is a tool of action, and belongs completely to the master. Aristotle does not support slavery by today's standards; he only supports cases where the slaves are actually slaves by nature. A natural slave is one who does not have the full use of reason. According to Aristotle, he perceives reason, but does not have it. Legal slavery, however, is unjust because not all the conquered humans are slaves by nature. If someone who is not a natural slave is unrightfully enslaved, the situation is uneven for both the master and the slave. With this, is it our nature to rule one another? "To rule over men is better than to rule over wild beasts;" Aristotle wrote, "for the work is better which is executed by better workmen, and where one man rules and another is ruled, they may be said to have a work."

Manipulation is a strong branch of political power. This branch aims to convince people to become followers under an unproven and underdeveloped theory of politics, and the leader's idea of the common good. If politics aims at focusing in on the common good, which person's definition of "common good" are we all to follow? The political community, namely senators and various board members, often manipulate our ideas of what



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