Weber: Political Writings

Lenin and Weber on The State and Democracy

Lenin and Weber both hold distinctly different views on the state, and explore the pitfalls and praises of democracy through their respective paradigms. In Weber’s Politics as a Vocation he takes a militant view of the state, claiming that if the notion of violence and militantism did not exist, the concept and existence of the state would also be absent. In contrast Lenin adopts a traditionally Marxist view of the state, claiming that the mere notion of the state is transitory, evolving, and hallucinatory in State and Revolution.

Weber heavily emphasizes the relationship between violence and the state as the binding solution to the stability and sustainability of government. The emphasis of Weber’s state is also centered on three models of authority, which are represented by the leaders of the state: the eternal yesterday (effectively divine right), the charismatic (with messiah-like qualities), and legality (a rational process like democracy). These three authority models all have power and a right to authority in a different sense; the strongest of these being charismatic due to the devotion towards the individual and the leader’s crusade. Weber argues that without a strong leader, preferably with a charismatic character,...

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