C. L. Wayper Teach Yourself POLITICAL THOUGHT (Political Thought–What it is and Why it Matters) Political Thought is thought about the State, its structure, its nature, and its purpose. Its concern is with nothing less than “the moral phenomena of human behaviour in society.” It seeks not so much an explanation of the existence of the State as a justification of its continuance. What is the State and why should I obey it? What are the proper limits of its authority and when may I refuse to obey it? How is the authority of the State with which I cannot dispense to be made compatible with the liberty without which I am less than a man? These are the questions which political thought is for ever striving to answer. To these questions it can never give definite, once-and-for-all answers that will convince everyone. For it is so difficult to separate the purpose of political life from the purpose of life itself that the answers we give to these questions, or political theory, in the last analysis depends upon our conceptions of right and wrong. And because it is thus a branch of ethical theory it can never convince all, for there has always been and presumably always will be fundamental disagreement over first principles.

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