Theocratic States

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Information about Theocratic States

Published on November 17, 2008

Author: PaulVMcDowell



Describe the attributes of states and the special characteristix of theocratic states

Theocratic States Several Nations Under the Gods

Political Organization: Basic Principles  Power vs Authority  Power: compliance by coercion or force  Authority: compliance by persuasion  Legitimacy: Beliefs rationalizing rule  Examples: Divine Right, Peoples Consent  Sanctions: reinforcements of behavior  Positive: rewards, recognition  Negative: punishment

Power versus Authority  Extreme examples  Power: concentration camps: Auschwitz (above); Guantanamo (below)  Authority: !Kung, Inuit, Yanomamo  Neither is absolute  Dictatorships need to persuade: Nuremberg rallies, Mayday parades  Power is evenly distributed in nonstate cultures

Legitimacy as Justification for Political Order  Justification necessary even in authoritarian states  Monarchies: the divine right to rule  Soviet Union: Socialist transition to communist economy  Nazi Germany: Racial purification; delivery of full-employment (Nuremberg rallies, above)  Democratic forms: consent by the governed (below, State of the Union)

Legitimacy: Samsara in India  Justification for a given political order  India: Caste system is reinforced by  Samsara: A cosmic illusion marked by  Birth-and-death cycles

Legitimacy: Karma in India  Karma: influenced by one’s act in all previous lives  Reward: rebirth in higher state  Punishment: rebirth in lower state  Affects all beings, from stone to humans to gods

States: Force as Prime Mover  Defining Characteristics  A centralized political system  With power to coerce  The operating factor:  Monopoly over the use of  Legitimate physical force  Supports the apparatus of the state  Bureaucracy --Army and police  Law and legal codes

States: Derivative Features  Administrative structure  Public services --Tax collection  Resource allocation --Foreign affairs  Delegation of force  Police, all levels --Armed force  Law  Civil (dispute resolution)  Regulatory (trade, economy)  Criminal (crime and punishment)

Law: Cross-Cultural Comparison  Codified law: Formally defines wrong and specifies remedies  Customary law: Informal sanctions or dispute resolution  Restitution or Restorative law: emphasizes dispute resolution, damage restitution  Retributive law: emphasizes punishment for crimes committed

Case Studies: Restitution  Nuer: Leopard-skin chief  Function: mediate disputes; leopard wrap identifies role  Cannot force or enforce an agreement  Authority is spiritual  Zapotec in Talea, Mexico  Function: hear cases and negotiate  Recommend settlement  Enforce agreement by community

Case Studies: Retribution  Criminal Law  Murder, Robbery, Others  Civil Law  Consumer Law and Small Courts  Final Say: Judge or Arbitrator  Limitation: Sheer Numbers of Cases

Defining Theocratic States  States whose legitimacy is derived from supernatural sources: God or gods  Mexica (Aztecs): Legitimacy was derived from a fear that the sun would die out  Human sacrifice necessary to prevent the loss of the sun  Tibet: the belief in samsara—birth, death, and rebirth  Karma: the driving force based on one’s deeds— good or evil—in past lives.

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