QOTD 11/29/12: Weber: Politics as a Vocation

“To take a stand, to be passionate–ira et studium–is the politician’s element, and above all the element of
the political leader. His conduct is subject to quite a different, indeed, exactly the opposite, principle of
responsibility from that of the civil servant. The honor of the civil servant is vested in his ability to execute
conscientiously the order of the superior authorities, exactly as if the order agreed with his own conviction.
This holds even if the order appears wrong to him and if, despite the civil servant’s remonstrances, the
authority insists on the order. Without this moral discipline and self-denial, in the highest sense, the whole
apparatus would fall to pieces. The honor of the political leader, of the leading statesman, however, lies
precisely in an exclusive personal responsibility for what he does, a responsibility he cannot and must not
reject or transfer.”

— Max Weber, “Politics as a Vocation” (p. 10)

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