Political science teaches understanding of politics and government:
The primary function of the study of the political science is to provide the understanding of politics and government, which are two of the more important forces in human life and society. Political science does not and cannot teach a man how to govern his country; it can yet provide him with the understanding of politics and government. It deals with them in their varied aspects and processes. It will inform and enlighten the common man and woman of various aspects and processes of politics and government. More importantly the knowledge will help a Politian in the proper performance in his or her role as a practitioner of politics. Consequently, the study of political science will enable to Politian to understand and improve the working of the government. Professor Robson writes” The purpose of political science is to throw light on political action and political ideas in order that the government by the man may be improved. Only if those entrusted with responsibility for accept the aims of deliberately attempting solve the political problems which confront mankind in each country and all nations collectively can we justify a large expenditure of time intellectual effort and money on political science.
Political science is the study of social choice:
Human life and society are always confronted with choosing between two alternatives and facing the consequences of the choice. If the choice is good success and achievement are the results if bad failure and suffering are the consequence. In politics however it is always between two groups or parties which may lead to dispute and or conflict over the alternatives. Political science is the study of how and why the choices are and why one line of action or choice is to be adopted. “Social choice is the essence of politics and political science is the study of how and why these choices are made. Finally it is the study of the choices themselves and their consequences whether they lead to golden ages or holocaust.”
Political science is a policy science a futurist science:
D. Lasswell says that political science is the policy science. Policy means a line of action chosen in the awareness of future and of its consequences. It is the choice between the two alternatives courses of action made on the basis of social good. Lasswell writes “Policy awareness implies the mobilization of the knowledge whether of trend or of condition that illuminates the shape of things to come.”
In the traditional societies is static, bound with custom and routine of life. Therefore in such societies there is no change and no development and political science does not really exist in such societies for there are no alternatives yet they suffer from consequences of their traditional ways of life. In the developed and advanced societies or countries where change is the law of life social development is consciously planned. In such a society political science becomes s future-oriented intellectual activity. It studies changes and development. It even aims at anticipating changes and developments, political and other in ones own and as well as in foreign countries. It thus becomes a policy. It is particularly so in the modern age of science and high technology which are transforming every aspect and every thing in human life, society, culture and politics. Political science has to be a problem-solving science, anticipating events and their immediate and future consequences. “The crucial point is”, writes Harold Lasswell, “that man is taking all evolution as a species the planned introduction of novels form of life or the evolutionary future of cosmos. The circuiting of events through the internal process of man and other higher forms of life is the policy making through which evolution can be affected. Given a potentiality of this kind political science comes to play a crucial role in the clarification of goals and strategies within the decision process not only for men not only for such developed forms of life as are created or discovered but for the universe as the whole. Government is the art of anticipation particularly in the modern age when every, government State and nation stands in a gladiator-like posture against almost every other government, state and nation of the world.
Modern Times and Political science:
The importance of political science in the modern times than if ever was in the past ages. Modern age is comforted with many and varied problems and perils of which we shall consider here only three namely the nuclear threat cultural crises and the space adventures.
The present age is the nuclear age the age of nuclear bombs with all their disastrous consequences for the very existence of life on the earth the only place in the whole universe where the man has come into being where he live for ages to come provided not totally exterminated in a nuclear holocaust as depicted in the well known film “The Day After”. The nuclear bomb however will not destroy humanity by subordinates to use it as did the American airmen on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan at the Heads of state or governments decided to resort to unleashing the nuclear war. But if one kind of politics leads to nuclear war, another kind of political science to analyze the two kinds of politics and enable the people to understand the ways and means of saving the whole humanity from this perilous situation.
Nuclear threat is only the part of the dangerous situation confronting mankind today. The present ages in the history of the world has been rightly characterized as the ages of Continuous Cultural Crisis in which old values and standard of life and conduct are being challenged and noticeable in all aspects of modern life, but most world into several Communist East into the number of lesser alliance and blocs in the underdeveloped third World. Wars or war-like strugglers are being waged by various countries, States, blocs such as between Arabs and Israel, between the Palestine and their Israel oppressors the war between Nicaragua and its enemies Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and its war with afghan freedom fighters or mujahedeen, the endless indo-pak disputes between the Whites and Blacks in South Africa and all sorts of disputes in various parts and region of the African Continent as well as in central and southern America , the China-Russia and China-India tangle and so on so forth. Only intelligent men women equipped with the knowledge of political science and not only of political science can understand rightly and assess properly the nature and consequences of these conflicts between rival political systems and ideologies.
Since 1957 when the first Soviet Sputnik spun around the globe the world is confronted with a new development, which has opened a new chapter in the history of world politics it is the beginning of the Space Age. Harold D. Lasswell ha significantly called this development as astro-politics ---- the politics of the space adventures of the developed countries, like USA or USSA, and not so developed countries like India are object of expansionist and imperialist designs, e.g. the SDI or the Star Wars. The present day race for example to the planet mars may become the race of gods of war to fight not only on the earth the ancient cockpit of mankind but also in the outer space. “The present period of world transformation”, writes Harold Lasswell “could with equal justice be called the age of science or that astro-politics. No one imagines that political science alone among the arts and sciences will remain unaffected by the changes through which the world is moving. The distinctive concern of political science is with the political process itself and it is impossible to believe that government and law will be outside the accelerating tempo of history.” He adds further, “Political scientists must themselves carry the primary burden of describing and explaining the flow of political institutions throughout the globe.” He writes further, “Political scientists are more explicitly conscious of the world as a whole and especially of the factors that limit cooperation than economic theorists have been. They are more accustomed to considering the issues that arise in the clarifying of globe or the invention of policy than are for example sociologists or psychologists.”
Importance of Political Science for Its Student:
We now come to specific questions. Why should a student study political science? What good will it does to him or to her in later life? Will it help him or her to get a better job then he or she would get otherwise? Such must have been the questions asked by many, if not all students, who opted to take political science instead of some other subject for their academic courses.
Political science offers many advantages to its students. We begin with the general advantages first. The study of political science will enable state and also the reason why the political power can be exercised for human good for maintaining peace, harmony and progress. They will realize that government is not meant to be an agency of oppression or exploitation, but as a means for improvement and betterment of the social political economic and physical conditions of everyone in the State and in the whole mankind. They will realize that the state exists for man and not man for the state. This was true only in the past ages but more so in the present age, but for potentialities for doing well is immense today due to the tremendous power of the modern science and technology. Charles Dickens, the English novelist wrote in his novel: the tale of two cities about the revolutionary France Revolution of 1789: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going to Heaven, we were all going direct to other way.” Now what was true of France at the end of the eighteenth century is truer of the present age at the end of the twentieth century and will be far more of twenty-first century the third millennium about to dawn over the whole human world. If there is any branch of human knowledge which will make the new world of man the best of times the age of wisdom of hope and light usher in “The Day After,” it is the science of politics the architectonic science as Plato put modern government and politics is as necessary for the students as for the adults if they are to make the world safe for themselves and for future generations.
Moreover it teaches the students to value higher interests and nobler ends more than the lesser ones. For instance a student of Political Science must uphold the interests of mankind more than those of nation or any other lesser organization. Moreover he will often notices that evil doctrines and purposes masquerade as good and noble in the grab of nationalism, love of freedom or such other item, which an average man is unable to detect. The study of political science prepares its student to be on guard against such descriptions. “It is of the nature of states as of men,” says R.H. Tawny an English liberal writer, “to yield to the temptations to oppress, rob murder. It is not the mere commission of these crimes which is the symptoms of the approach of spiritual death; it is the assertion that when committed for the advantages of the British Empire, the Nordic Race, the Catholic Church, or the International Proletariat they are not crimes but virtue” an intelligent, honest humanistic understanding of the modern world and its politics is the great advantage and supreme utility of the study of political science. Ultimate goal of all science and knowledge is world State in which all mankind will be equal, free, and happy, regardless of the difference of race, nationality, color, religion, clan, caste.
Now we return to the specific advantages of the study of political science for its students. Firstly it provides them the knowledge and understanding of democracy as the best form of state. It will do so by providing them the knowledge of the political systems and forces which will enable them to develop democratic attitudes and beliefs both individually and collectively. Secondly, its knowledge enables its student to be a good citizen not merely in the sense of good voter, but also as a Good man who knows his rights and fulfill his duties. Thirdly he will know how his government operates what interests and forces are behind its policies and what results such policies are likely to produce. Ignorance of politics can be disastrous for the individual as also for the society and state of which he or she is a member. Civics is taught to in our schools to pupils to enable them to know how the government is run. Political science is a continuation of this knowledge on greater and more scientific scales. Thus what civics began, political science will complete it will make the students become intelligent and well-informed adults and citizen. For instance the study of political science will complete it will enable its student to understand such terms as fascism, socialism, communism, liberalism, democracy, tyranny, imperialisms, old and new, freedom, equality and the like. They will thus be able to know how far the actions of such parties and groups correspond to their claims or public Statements, this science will thus broaden the vision of its students.
Secondly the study of political terms their use, misuse and abuse will benefit the students of politics in sharpening their wits and help them to see between the lines or below the lines or below the surface of things. “For the great majority of mankind”, wrote Niccolo Machiavelli, “are satisfied with appearance as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are”. With such knowledge of the reality of political events and processes we shall understand better a number of problems which have a more immediate impact on our lives. We can learn how to lessen some forms of suffering such as those that result from poverty and unemployment. We can learn the cause of war and to further the efforts of mankind for peace and progress. Justice, liberty, happiness and well-being are values which will be prompted more by intelligent students of politics than otherwise.
It is a science which taxes human mind to the utmost. It is one of the most important sciences for human welfare and happiness. Knowledge is power and knowledge of political science if powerful. Its theories, the inhabitants of the whole globe than the inventions and discoveries of Chemistry and Physics. The ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity are more powerful than bombs and bullets. Furthermore the study of politics like that of other social sciences would enable Man to utilize these inventions and discoveries for his weal rather than woe.
In the end we may mention that the study of political science has also a personal utility for its students. Besides providing opportunities for teaching it in the universities and colleges in Pakistan, political science is also prescribed as a paper in all the competitive examinations for joining federal and Provincial Public Services as well as of armed forces of Pakistan. Moreover, various sub-fields of political science such as public administration, or international relations are also included as independent papers for candidates appearing in these public and military services examinations as well as for teaching in colleges and universities.
Success of democracy:
Political science as a discipline has guided much important in a democratic. According to the democratic norms, no person or any group therefore, can claim political power on hereditary basis; this is the will of the people that stands paramount in a free society. For that purpose, a participant system is evolved in which political role of citizens is not restricted merely to the casting of votes for return the candidates to the legislative assemblies; they are, on the other hand , provided opportunities to participate ,directly or indirectly, in the decision making process. Obviously, it is not possible for a common man to have a correct appraisal of the political science equips the decision –makers with necessary information for arriving at correct decisions.
It is with the help of political science that the people have knowledge regarding governmental affairs. He can exercise the right to vote in a benefiting manner only if he has full perception of functions of a government. Casting of vote is in the nature of judgment given by voters to decide the fate of political parties who present their programs during election campaign. It is therefore, imperative for a politically conscious and vigilant. Domestic politics in modern world is to a large extent, affected by worldwide trends, making the political issue all the more complicated beyond the grasp of a layman. The study of the political science enables common citizen to develop an understanding of the political processes and the contemporary political realities.
Protection of rights:
Fundamental rights of the citizens have gained much importance in the modern-age. In order to enforce them effectively, it is a general practice to incorporate a last of fundamental rights in the constitution. Lack of political consciousness among the citizens, indirectly creates hurdles in the effective enforcement of the rights of citizens, on the one hand, and fosters autocratic trends in the ruling elite, on the other. Awareness about their rights and duties on the part of the citizens stands a solid guarantee for the protection of fundamental liberties. Political science engenders this sense in the minds of citizens.
Promotion of knowledge:
Political science is a social science which is closely related to allied disciplines. The present day political problems have their roots deeply planted in other socio –economic and cultural issues. Political science analyses all these political issues in a wider context, utilizing the research techniques and data furnished by other disciplines. Thus a profound study of this discipline broadens the intellectual understanding of its students and enriches their knowledge.
Introduction of values:
The successful working of a democratic system is conditioned by the presence of democratic political culture. Divergent point of views regarding the goals and policies of the political system, are allowed to exist in a free society. Choice to alternate solution to political problems is left open at the discretion of popular will. But such an atmosphere requires higher sense of responsibility and tolerance on the part of citizens, groups and political parties. The study of political science indoctrinates liberal education hence it effectively performs the function of political socialization in a society.
The performance of governmental function is not an easy job in modern world societies. It requires a lot of political sagacity, skill, general information and a knowledge and training in statecraft. Political science educates the voters, makes them sensible to perceive their responsibilities and holds the political office-bearers, accountable to the people. In this context, the techniques and practices adopted by different political systems are let known to the students of politics in a consistent and comprehensive manner.
Adjustment of loyalties:
Multi-groups and associations flourish in modern societies to satisfy divergent wants of their members. Citizens are generally members of such various associations and that of political parties. The presence of divergent interests and conflicting loyalties requires a higher sense of tolerance and the presence of other civic virtues in a society. Political science aims at the creation and fostering of supportive political values in a society.
Improvement in political behavior:
The knowledge of political values imparted through the study of this subject, acquaints the citizens with the peaceful means and techniques necessary to present their demands effectively and get these translated of political science, the citizens are educated enough to demarcate clearly the boundaries between legal means and extra constitutional men’s in pursuance of their goals and thus can avoid violence and other undesirable means. Citizens, who have acquired such liberal education, can have a clear estimation of the far-reaching disastrous consequences of violence. A clear perception of the right and wrong in the realm of politics can definitely contribute, to some extent, in the improvement of political behavior.