Max Weber 's Politics As A Vocation

Decent Essays

“He who seeks the salvation of the soul, of his own and of others, should not seek it along the avenue of politics, for the quite different tasks of politics can only be solved by violence”, stated Max Weber in his lecture “Politics as a Vocation” (Weber 4). In order to participate in politics, an individual will inevitably encounter times when they must break with traditional morality. An ethic of ultimate ends is not realistic or plausible for the field of politics, particularly when it is followed steadfastly. An ethic of responsibility is more compatible with politics, as it allows the response to a situation to be determined by the circumstances rather than inflexible rules, while still maintaining accountability for one’s own actions. This flexibility is most necessitated by the politicians use of violence. There is a fallacy that an “ethic of ultimate ends” and an “ethic of responsibility” are incompatible and cannot be reconciled. A politician can follow an ethic of responsibility, while still following certain ethical principles of ultimate ends, on which they will hold their ground. Weber states, “... an ethic of ultimate ends and an ethic of responsibility are not absolute contrasts but rather supplements, which only in unison constitute a genuine man- a man who can have the ‘calling for politics’”(Weber 4). True morality in politics is found in the compromise between the competing ethical codes, and the ability to discern when this compromise is necessary is

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