The Rules

Email Print

Just as there are the Ten Commandments concerning how one lives an ethical and Godly life in accordance with the scriptures, there are also thirteen observations concerning the reality of political power taken from James Burnham’s brilliant little book, The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom. Knowledge of these dictums will dispel any political naiveté and illusions concerning how the real world of power operates.

1) It is possible to study politics scientifically. This requires neutrality in regard to any specific goal or value until the analysis is complete.

2) The primary study of political science should be the struggle for social power among men.

3) Words cannot be taken at face-value. They must be compared to the corresponding social facts.

4) Logical or rational action plays a significantly smaller role in political action toward change than non-logical action does. Non logical action is a result of environment, impulse, and instinct whereas logical action is a deliberate and conscious movement.

5) Social process and a proper understanding of it must be found in a study of the interaction of the elite and non-elite in society.

6) Historical and political science is primarily the study of the elite, its structure and composition.

7) The primary goal of all elites is the maintenance of power.

8) The rule of the elite is based upon deceit and force.

9) Social structure is founded on a political formula that is correlated with a religion, ideology, or myth.

10) The elites’ rule will coincide more or less with the non-elite at different times.

11) The elite is always in tension between a) aristocratic tendencies which seek to compose the elite continually from within their own ranks and descendants, and b) democratic tendencies where new members enter, or force their own entry, into the elite from below.

12) Democratic tendencies always prevail in the long run and the ruling class’s structure then changes.

13) The composition of the elite at certain points in time changes very rapidly, as in social revolution.

And we may add a final observation:

14) Elites seek to discourage scientific analysis by painting its proponents as “conspiracy theorists,” “traitors,” “seditionists,” “isolationists,” “racists,” “revisionists,” “pacifists,” “appeasers,” and “anti-intellectuals.”

4:53 pm on January 22, 2012