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ISSN: 2332-0761
Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs
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Legitimacy and Theory of Political Consciousness: Evaluating Political Act of Aggression

Mehdi Shokri*

Department of Politics and Philosophy, Free University of Berlin, Germany

*Corresponding Author:
Mehdi Shokri, PhD
Department of Politics and Philosophy
Free University of Berlin, Germany
Tel: +49 30 8381
E-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]

Received Date: January 08, 2016; Accepted Date: January 25, 2016; Published Date: February 05, 2016

Citation: Shokri M (2016) Legitimacy and Theory of Political Consciousness: Evaluating Political Act of Aggression. J Pol Sci Pub Aff 4:191. doi:10.4172/2332-0761.1000191

Copyright: © 2016 Shokri M. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Political act of aggression has been growing especially in Middle-Eastern countries. Psychology has always been presented the dominant explanation for acts of aggression, yet, seeing the analysis of different regimes, it has not addressed political aggression. This paper is an attempt to explain coercion and political act of aggression. It is designed as an interdisciplinary study of politics, psychology and philosophy, uses rational-normative principles to conduct a behavioral-political analysis of acts of aggression based on the disciplinarily grounds in philosophical reasoning and is of explanatory nature. It is accompanied by the new terminologies: an Anxiety-Aggression-Hypothesis and a Theory of Political Consciousness. Moreover, these two new concepts will be assessed with rational-normative principles and moral significance to demonstrate the validity of three dimensions of legitimized political powers and political acts. Later, political anxiety will be introduced as one of the factors that can be affected by the level of political consciousness and level of rational-normative principles in a power relation or in an act,that consequently shows one of the origins of state’s coercion, the illegitimate act of aggression.


Aggression; Legitimacy; Anxiety; Human rights; Political consciousness; Rational-normative principles


Political theories and ideologies are arguably the foundations of political power relations [1], the process of exercise of power between an authority and subject. Because different political theories apply contrary principles, the legitimacy of political actions, as judged by their norms and effectiveness [2], is an on-going and contentious discussion. The use of different principles leads to different practical exercises such as, acquisition, procedures and the practice of political power. For instance, western political theories take for granted that political legitimacy is based on the principles of human rights, the concept of ‘power to’ viz. the mutual appreciation of rights, and the rights of citizens and governments which is the concept of ‘power of ’, viz. the moral significance of claiming to a right. Such principles in nonwestern power relations are not fully appreciate, thus the sovereignty relying merely on one concept of power: the concept of ‘power over’ which implies domination. The western principles for a legitimate power relation is not only vital for current political relations, including the ability to secure and to develop peace, but also to recognize and address the illegitimate state and their instruments. Given this premise, we can normatively and empirically assess ‘political acts of aggression’, or state’s coercion which are arguably an instrument of every political power. Indeed, such contribution referring mostly to the modern authoritarian/totalitarian states in the Middle East and North Africa which have been used coercion or political aggression in their power relations.1 Moreover, it is important to distinguish legitimate and illegitimate political acts of aggression. The difference will be examined through examples of acts of aggression in politics, carried out especially from top-down approach.

Aggression: The Physiological Approach and its Critiques

The task of explaining acts of aggression is a complicated one, due to the variety of subjects in which it is relevant. This subject-variety allows different branches of science, each with a different perspective, try to define the essence and the source of aggression. Historically, the psychologist and sociologist have taken up this task, based on the extensive sociological experimental studies [3]. The resulting psychological definitions of aggression mostly focus around personal behavior and emotions [4]. The renowned psychologist, John Dollard, established a famous definition of aggression, in which he recognized it as any ‘sequence of behavior, the goal-response to which is the injury of the person toward whom it is directed’. Leonard Berkowitz used this definition is in his classic work, Aggression: A Social Psychological Analysis [5,6]. From this perspective, which concentrates on the link between individual behavior and aggressive attitudes, some hypotheses are particularly notable, including Dollard’s ‘Frustration-Aggression- Hypothesis’ [7]. Dollard, along with Neal Miller, emphasized that “the occurrence of aggression always presupposes the existence of frustration and, contrariwise, that the existence of frustration always leads to some form of aggression” [7]. They determined that the generator of acts of aggression or aggressive behavior is in the link between a sense of frustration in the personal-social context and aggressive attitudes. The relationship between frustration and aggressive behavior, according to these scholars, is strong. If mere frustration, is not as strong as it can deprive individuals [8], then it can either cause of solitary of them or make them to do an act of (psychological) aggression [9,10].

However, there are some points of criticism that must be mentioned. On the one hand, the psychological approach, especially in the context of family, where dedication, devotion, and sacrifice (rather than the mere concept of law) is the foundation of relationships, by no means does frustration logically demand aggression. Furthermore, in the social context, this argument implies a linear path of action in every case, in which frustration is always followed by a certain psychological aggression. This is a point of weakness in the theory, because it supposes a high level of certainty about the role and effect of the law in both sides of a power relation. In other words, it shapes expectations and predictions about the aggressor. Yet social, national, or international frustration does not always result in aggressive attitudes [11]. Considering the case of religious discrimination against women [12-15], which currently exists in the context of theocratic power structures and most tribal behavior, provides us with an unexpected example of how highly frustrated citizens, in this case, women, who are also believers, do not revolt [16,17]. This added dimension to the theory of Credenda [18], which explains how authorities justify the oppressive power relation with help of the role of belief in the power structures to effect the awareness of folks. The theory of Credenda explains the maximum capacity of the will of an authority that can be appeared to be justified, yet it is illegitimate act of aggression (ILAA). Bridging from individual concept of aggression to the social one, some have argued that an act of revolt and violence against the government is the only mean to initiate political change and progress [19,20]. Yet, ‘change’ can be defined as an on-going revolt throughout time, instead of always implying the abstract, radical meaning associated with the aforementioned theory. It is based on this view, that conventional reason regards frustration as an effective element needed for change and that naturally causes aggression, which is always toward others [21]. In other words, they believe that frustration is the engine of (social) movements. The strongest critic on the frustration as an origin of political aggression is the communal ground of aggressive act. “The road to totalitarian domination lead through many intermediate stages for which we can find numerous analogies and precedents. The extraordinary bloody terror during the initial stage of totalitarian rule serves indeed the exclusive purpose of defeating the opponent and rendering all further opposite impossible”1. such justification does not stop at this level. Major terror of the authoritative and totalitarian regimes will be “launched after initial state has been overcome”2. The major and main terror is to shape the negative political consciousness of the folks to act in concrete, to act in accordance to the will of authoritarian/totalitarian states. The real terror is in the sphere of the miranda and credenda of power.

In this way, there is a fine diverge line between the psychological ground of aggression and political ground of aggression. What is not considered in the psychological definition of aggression is the origin and incentives of aggression from the rational point of view that can mostly found in the political realm. Initially, from the psychological point of view, frustration is inclined to one acts in revolt against herself. The nature of frustration is to feel upset and to be annoyed about something or someone, if not utterly hopeless, regarding the expectation and the relationship of expectation which is compared to one’s abilities and power to affect it. This expectation is more personal rather than social. Such sort of frustration may or may not lead to aggression. Yet, the empirical evidence of massive political aggression, especially the acrid ones such as Reichstag Fire Decree in 1933[22] for the imprisonment of anyone considered to be opponents of the Nazis, Nazi’s seizure of power and burst the illegitimate wars, or recently the oppression of the autocracies for imprisonment of journalist and political opponents2 are among a long list that are excluded from the definition of psychological aggression and the origins that it refers to, the Frustration-Aggression- Hypothesis. Therefore, a different approach must be taken to explain the origins, rather than frustration, that lead to the political acts of aggression, legitimate and illegitimate ones. To understand aggression from a political point of view, this theory invites us to take one step further, boycott the psychological approach, to find a new way to define it. Here, it is appropriate to give the readers a short but vital concept of this article: from now on, this article is center around the idea that any notion in politics, here acts of aggression, can be evaluated. The core essence of this evaluation is to understand that any political phenomenon is the result of a one kind of combination between the two concepts of ‘rights’ and ‘power’. Moreover, the legitimacy or illegitimacy of it is highly connected to what it has been proposed as ‘political consciousness theory’, which its main trait is centered around rationalnormative principles [2,23-25].

Political Consciousness Theory and the Concept of Legitimacy

To know about the political aggression, thus, we have to know first that which system or person can utilize it. Political power is all around us, visible and invisible, manifest in the everyday social relations, in people’ ideologies and their actions [26]. Power is the key concept of understanding politics, political lives, organizations and political phenomenon and their main traits such as legitimacy [27]. The core essence of a society stands on and for this concept. Moreover, disciplines in sociology, psychology, philosophy, economics and politics in one way or another are related to this concept. Different definitions of political power are crucial and determining factor for each political order, since it puts an agenda through which the power would be formed and exercised. The identification of power may be based on a single aspect. following such method, some scholars have presented political power as identified with its exercise [28], domination [29], subject dispositions [30,31], freedom [32] or empowerment [33]. Despite a long history of discussions, arguments, wars and compromises on the different notions of political power, theoretically and pragmatically, never these challenges cause a shift from the single concept to the concept of polygon of political power. Emphasis on the single concept of political power led to the lack of unanimity in saying that which definition is adequate, justified and legitimate. Scholars, based on such differentiated approaches, have been arguing that the power constitutes an ‘essentially contested’ concept [34]. So, the question follows with a very important consequence: does the concept of political power, just like democracy and legitimacy, carry the evaluative referent or calculative referent? Perhaps such question refers to the technique to analyze on the single scale scientific approach, and perhaps scholars belong to each side declare that the concept of political power falls within their field. They are partially right, but not absolutely. If political power, as well as democracy, human rights and legitimacy, are merely evaluative concepts and only fall into the normative evaluation of political sphere, or on the other side, if these concepts are merely calculative and fall into the empirical calculation of political sphere, how do we practice critique when there is no connection? And how we know what is political aggression, whether it is justified or should be prevented? following the evolutionary process of historical consciousness [35]3 thus, there must be an incentive to welcome the interrelationship between these intensive and extensive, particular and universal, factors to analyze such concepts. It may appear that the innovation to theorize the problem and critique of ‘singular essence of power’ was a move in the right direction [36,37]. Yet, such problematized critique focuses on the theorists rather than the concept,saying that essentially contested concepts are carrying the intention of the scholars, not that they in themselves essentially definable. They can be defined as the user of the concepts wishes to. For example, when an Islamists use the concept of legitimacy or human rights, her view of such concepts entailing a clear religious definition of power structure. A socialist has a different view of democracy which emphasizes on every aspect of social life, while a liberal’s definition of democracy is circumscribed in a scoop which emphasizes a strict distinction of public and private sphere [38]. However, such relativity is actually a consequence of sulk between the normative evaluation of the concepts and empirical evaluation of the concepts, which both otherwise are rooted in the historical consciousness, causes that scholars implying that there could be no agreement on single concept that defines political power, hence agree to not agree [38].

Pragmatic sphere makes the concept of political power a bit clearer, yet still it is far from the taken-for-granted-things. Different societies have been experiencing different forms of political powers as the authorities and sovereigns. Nevertheless, different concepts of political power are the products of the capacity of the people in each region and their unique experience of life and civilization through a long historicalpolitical process [39], which are in turn has been influenced by and on the power relations. An important thing to notice here, is that the main reason for existence of different forms of political powers and different power relations is interdependency of the concepts of political ‘power’ and political ‘rights’. This approach can explain, from both normative and empirical evaluation, why the different forms of power relation can carry different definitions of what assumed as essentially contested concepts. In other words, political power in general, and other concepts such as legitimacy, are characterized by a systematic recognition and observance of rights. Surly, possession of rights, the concept of ‘power to’, makes claiming possible, yet the “moral significance” of rights depend on the possibility of claiming them [40,41]. This is the new concept which can be called the concept of ‘power of ’. It implies on the actor’s will and intuition for act as autonomously as possible with relying on the two other concepts.

The unfortunate effect of the separation of ‘power’ and ‘rights’ would be political disasters throughout the times when a quasi Rechtsstaat or in contrast a Machtstaat produces a concept of totalitarianism, using the extensive authority merely based on aggression [18,42]. On the contrary, the only remedy for such asymmetric power relations is the presence of the reciprocal constitutive concept of power and rights. The combination of political power and rights is a major ground for a cognitive, pragmatic and progressive legitimate power [43]. It is not a concept which based only on the historical claim of legitimate power that comes to mean for certain folks, but which the concept of universality is comprehensible [43]. Dolf Sternberger claims “legitimacy is the foundation of such governmental power as is exercised both with a consciousness on the government’s part that it has a right to govern and with some recognition by the governed of that right” [35]. This combination embraces all concepts of political power in a form of ‘essentially not contested concepts’, a reciprocal constitutive of political power. It is, in other words, the effects of a developing capacity or ability in a power relation which is based on the rational and historical intended wills. Such phenomenon can be called as ‘consciousness of rights’ or ‘political consciousness’, which engage with both sides of the government and the governed [35]. In this work, author will use these two expressions as a mutual recognition, observation, justification and appreciation of rights that belong to the nature of democratic governments;in which the concept of mutual knowledge supports a healthy reciprocal constitutive character of political power and rights [44]4

Illegitimate and Legitimate Aggression: The Case of Oppression, ILAA

Coercion or aggression is the capacity of political power to dictate its maximum will. Thus, the use of such an instrument highly depends on the unique form of political structure and the origin of the act, its incentive, the core essence of its emergence. Let us start with the origin of an act of aggression. On the one hand, as we have gone through, are the most common ones, frustration, and on the other hand, is logical disappointment. Where as disappointment is embedded in rational ground, frustration is embedded in emotional ground. The logic behind the disappointment is for the sake of making a correction or change, frustration on the contrary, are psychological grounded rather than logically. Rational-normative principles and moral significance are against violation, yet the psychological ground ends in violation. Here, we have to ask what makes the disappointment and the sense of correction rational and demanded, where violence, as a psychological related trait, is acrid and irrational? [25]. This question opens a window to a wider one: how we can determine any rational act in the realm of politics as the first step for evaluating of its legitimacy? As we already put it, on the one hand, the reciprocal constitutive character of the right and power, and on the other hand, the theory of political consciousness, are the cornerstone of political power and its utilized instruments. Therefore, the logically demanded element that has been failed to address yet is the rational-normative principles. Rational-normative principles5, the principles that are free from the admiration and belief and embedded in moral significance, are the source of justification in a power relations, namely for acts of aggression [45]. First, it helps to assess what the two main concepts of ‘power’ and ‘right’ really are, the formation of the concept of ‘power over’ and ‘power to’. Second, it helps to understand which power relation or specific act in a power relation is grounded on the justifiable principle. Justification of this sort is an assessment to the input legitimacy of the acts of political aggression and assess their accountability and effectiveness [24]. Thus, whenever we refer to the psychological origin of an act of aggression [7,9,19], we are referring to the principles that are indeed do not have the same ground as the rational-normative principles have. For instance, frustration is rooted in the feeling, it is evaluative element in the psychology rather than politics. Psychological origins can be regarded as a cause that can help us to recognize illegitimacy of an act of aggression, since they are contradictory with norms and moral significance of rights, and divorced from the rational-normative principles. This evaluation can start from personal behavior and extend to the communal act of aggression. A nation requires two reasons to be subjected to an illegitimate act of aggression or make an illegitimate power relation: (i) a deficit in political consciousness and (ii) psychological grounds for making an illegitimate act or an illegitimate power relation.

Getting back to the initial origins of coercion or the act of aggression, the rule of law, would be the most interesting subject and a vital instrument for any authority. To assess the essence and the origin of law we can rely on the firm evaluation which is presented by the rational-normative principles and moral significance. Such evaluation is admirable for an emotionless approach to see whether coercion is moral and legitimate [46] or illegitimate. In this sense, we can see that frustration, which supposedly is derived from inability, is neither the origin for the coercion that an authority implies nor the cause communal aggression nor cause illegitimate power relation. Political aggression, on the contrary, may stem from illegitimate but logically demanded immunity, preservation, and expansion of ‘power over’, or legitimate logically demanded correction and securing the political consciousness. Here, once again it has been clear that to answer this paper’s inquiry about political aggression, it is required to discuss the origins of coercion or political aggression based on rational ground, rather than focusing on the psychological explanation, the theory of Frustration-Aggression-Hypothesis. Here, we have to ask what is the origin of the political aggression, if aggression or coercion, for instance violation of human right, is not legitimate?

Pragmatically, it has always been before our eyes that “the belief in a state’s legitimacy is crucial – a state that was legitimate but not believed to be so would be no more effective than an illegitimate one thought to be legitimate (it might even be less effective)” [47], hence, we shall ask what can we offer more than such one-dimensional approach?

Legitimacy can be divided into three dimensions of input, output and throughput. Input legitimacy may explain the question of What is the origin of legitimacy?, and based on its origin, Is it good or bad?. It is, in other words, referring to the questions regarding its sources. In this sense, only with a rational-normative argumentation one can refer to the concept of empowerment, respectively the concept of ‘power to’, which is in the center of evaluation. Following such path, the other questions may be in concern, such as Who make the claim to legitimacy? what are the sources of legitimacy?. The output legitimacy referring to the outcome of a power relation, the outcome of the concepts of ‘power’ and ‘rights’. And throughput legitimacy referring to the question regarding the implementation, the question of power relation, the question of the instruments of power, every-day life experience of states and its subjects, and the question about exercise of power. Hitherto, the scopes and dimensions of justification and legitimacy are divided and ordered, it may be a good try if we want to redefine them. Legitimacy of an authority or an act, as it is implied hereafter in this work, is the complex moral and rational rights, a combination of ‘power to’, ‘power over’, and ‘power of ’, which is manifested in the three grounds of input, output and throughput observation of interactions based on a high regarded ‘political consciousness’. Legitimacy allows the authority the ‘right’ “to be the exclusive imposer of binding duties” [48] and rights, to be the exclusive imposer of coercion, e.g. sanction and punishment or better to say act of aggression, to observe the duties and to recognize and safeguard the rights of its subjects, and to constantly maintain its justification through which the authority and subject would comply through their duties, recognize the rational and mutually constitutive concept of power, and to maintain the political stabilities. Thus, justification is about alternatives or power and belief of the subject, while legitimacy, although it composes all concepts of justification, it is about individual and political ‘rights’ [48], mutual recognition and observation of it, and the scope of its entitlement and empowerment [49,50]. In this sense, belief in state’s or power’s legitimacy and belief in its justification almost coexistence. The instrument that political power utilizes to whirl its authority is more related to the justification of its constituent form, its sovereignty, than of its legitimacy. As legitimacy and justification are divided to three sphere of input, throughput,and output legitimacy; the throughput dimension is the highest point where the justification and legitimacy work together. The throughput legitimacy, moreover, is the major scoop where coercion or act of aggression will be evaluated. Moral justification and moral legitimacy, for instance, are the different approach to the input dimension, where as legal justification and legal legitimacy is the different approach to the throughput dimension.

The genuine difference between diverse acts of aggression is not only its intensity of it but depends on their legitimacy and illegitimacy. Specifically, the difference between violation of human right and a corrective law depends on two point: In general, whether the state and in particular whether a power relation or a law is justified and legitimate respectively. Thus, in the particular cases, the question is to what extent the law or any sort of act of aggression and coercion is contained the rational-normative principles and moral significance, to what extent it is relying on the concept of ‘power over’ and power to’, or on the contrary, whether to what extend contained the concept of ‘usurpation’ [43]. Moreover, to what extend such power relation or law are established the political consciousness. Furthermore, conventional reason may be assumed that an act of violation, namely violation of the political rights of governed, is the one and the only coercive instrument for an authority [51,52]. However, state’s coercion cannot be reduced to the illegitimate one, namely an act of violation. A power relation or a law does not naturally carry the element of legitimacy just because it is imposed by an authority. authorities are inevitably use coercion to practice their sovereignty, namely law. Such practice has been always taken place in the path of interaction in which it contains two side of the governor and those whom governed. Such path shows the connection of concept of ‘power over’, ‘power to’, and ‘power of ’ in the power relation. Hereto, ‘rational-normative principles’ and moral significance are what must be considered when assessing whether an act is balanced between these concept, hence legitimate or an act does not carry such balance, oppress the process of politicization by aborting the political consciousness, hence illegitimate. For instance, the illegitimacy of a violation, as one form among a long list of illegitimate acts of aggression which may self-justified by the authority and relying merely on the concept of ‘power over’, yet cannot justified by the subject, fail to appreciate the concept of ‘power to’ and ‘power of ’- which entails the concept of moral significance and relying on the entitlement to claim to a right- as the other vital sides of a power relation. Such illegitimate act, looking in depth, is a thrive for the existence of the authority, hanging up on the self-justified act itself. Moreover, violation of human right is among the illegitimate act of aggression and repetition of ILAA, which is taken place in the path of history, inevitably causes a structural oppression. On the other hand, coercion can be legitimate only if it is based on rational-normative grounds and moral significance. It is implemented not only by the mere notion of power of law, logically respected under the principle of political consciousness, but a positive sense of morality in it. Hence, we can clearly see, that the rational-normative principles and moral significance are the ground for legitimacy of an act or any political power.

Political Anxiety and Acts of Aggression

Political powers utilize coercion to establish or to preserve one or all of the concept of powers [38]. In a power relation, for those who are exercising power and for those who are subjected to it, there is a level of anxiety. The reason is not the reciprocal relation between the concepts of ‘power over’, ‘power to’, and ‘power of ’, but the potential tension between the concept of ‘power over’, i.e. domination, and the two other concept. The concepts of power in any power relation vitally depends on one another to be justified. Lack of one of the concepts disturbing the balance that requires for legitimacy, is accompanied by the overwhelming concept of domination over other or vice versa. This brings the anxiety for those who are in one or both side of a power relation. For instance, if in a power relation, the concept of ‘power to’ is ignored or oppressed, for any possible reason, the level of anxiety for those who are in possession of ‘power over’, is high. This would be because of the reason that the concept of ‘power over’, the domination of an authority, is already self-justified without the concept of ‘power to’ and anxiety is for the preservation of their continuity in domination. The existing concept of ‘power to’, which is solely justified, would be hardly challenged if it counters with the questions based on other concepts of power. Thus, an authority which merely relying on the concept of ‘power over’ for its preservation try to suppresses the elements that helps the process of politicization and flourishing the concept of ‘power to’ and ‘power of ’, try to suppress any notion of empowerment and right that can be found in governed, namely aborting the political consciousness. On the other hand, if in a power relation the concept of ‘power over’ is ignored, for any possible reason, the level of anxiety in both sides of power relation is high. This would be because of the reason that the concept of ‘power to’ does not recognize the concept of ‘power over’. Disaffection is one reason among a long list of others for the social movements and revolution. Moreover, it results in a high level of anxiety for both side of a power relation in which an authority would obtain its existence and its domination merely with relying on its self-justified ‘power over’. In contrast, the politicized folks already recognized their political rights, relying on the concept of ‘power to’, do not give their consent to the authority. This would be an introduction for better understanding of political anxiety. Thus, this level of anxiety fluctuates depending on the different power relations. In particular acts, whereas legitimate act of aggression, as an instrument of law, results in a minimum sense of anxiety, illegitimate act of aggression usually results in the maximum level of anxiety for both sides of a power relations, especially for the authority. Such approach to the political anxiety can illustrate that how often the bleeding hearts have an ironic fear of their own blood. Furthermore, political anxiety would cheerfully address the origins of illegitimate act of aggression, including violation of human rights and oppression, which belongs to the complex study of behavioral politics [53].

The Ratio of Political Anxiety

Political anxiety is always accompanied by fear of dangers to the preservation of one or more concept of power and rights. We see this through the endeavors of authoritarian/totalitarian governments, such as in North Korea, Syria, Tunisia and many more authorities that have been showing anxiety, and consequently conducting illegitimate act of aggression. One might ask, how is political power trapped within a condition of political anxiety? Why does it include a sense of fear of preservation? Not repeating what has been gone throw, the origin of political anxiety is inevitable of what we understand as the nature of political power. Political anxiety is present, but amount of it depends on the ratio between the concepts of power. A high level of political anxiety is due to its own illegitimacy, since the core indigence of de facto political power is political consciousness. In other words, there would be no political power, in the real sense, unless there was more or less political consciousness within a power structure. Political consciousness is one of the most important elements for the justification and legitimacy of power. In authoritarian/totalitarian power structures, there have been always different form of rivalries between the authority and the citizens, between the different concepts of power. The main reason for this, is that a high level of political consciousness, the knowledge of the reciprocal constitutive concepts of power and rights to shape a legitimate power relation, reveals the wanton brutality, hypocrisy and deceit and threatened the very nature of such regimes. Political consciousness has “driven many fine sprites into life-long rebellion” [21] and brutal attempt of authorities to preserve their domination, as consequence, and they result in the highest level of anxiety throughout a power relation. Based on the argument so far, theoretically, if we assume that the folks already recognized their rights, the concept of ‘power to’ and ‘power of ’, then we can say that the ratio between the level of political anxiety and the level of political consciousness in authoritarian/totalitarian regimes would be equal, whereas the ratio between the level of political anxiety and the level of political consciousness in democratic regimes is the opposite. That is to say, a high level of political consciousness in authoritarian/ totalitarian regimes instigates a high level of anxiety, whereas the high level of political consciousness in democratic regimes causes a low level of political anxiety for the authority [1,53-55]6.


What kinds of power produces anxiety as a logical function of their nature? As argued, theoretically, there has always been political consciousness in power structures. From a top-down approach, and where a political power is conscious of its illegitimacy, one-dimension concept of ‘power over’ has been the primordial of political power [56- 60]. Simultaneously, it produces a high level of anxiety for the sake of its preservation in itself, since its existence lacks a critical element for its preservation: legitimacy. Moreover, it produces a high level of anxiety among its subject since it uses violation and oppression, the illegitimate acts of aggression [61-70]. A complete report of Human Watch in 2015 indicates that almost all of the theocratic and communist regimes also have totalitarian power structures. In this sense the level of violation of human right is high. This means that the main instrument for these authorities is the illegitimate act of aggression. This can be attributed to the fact that the concept of ‘power over’ and ignorance of the connections between the concepts of power and rights in their power structures provides a ground for illegitimate acts of aggression, to violate the human rights and oppress their folks. This pragmatic study is among a long list of others that supports the theoretical presumption, here, that high levels of political consciousness, which promote the concept of ‘power to’ and moral significance that backs up the claim to these rights, the concept of ‘power of ’, on the one hand, is embedded in the rational normative principles, and on the other hand, threatened the existence of authoritarian/totalitarian regimes [71-80] (Figure 1).®7


Figure 1: Ratio of Legitimacy and the State’s Behavior

To conclude this part of the contribution, the origin of violation of human rights and oppression, i.e., the illegitimate act of aggression, is political anxiety, since illegitimacy causes depreciation or deprivation of political power. More specifically, in most cases, the illegitimacy of a political power produces a high level of political anxiety that consequently is one of the fundamental reasons for the use of oppression by governing actors directed at the governed, because without acts of oppression, illegitimate political powers do not have any other instruments for their political preservation. “Frustration-Aggression- Hypothesis” is not yet addressed such political phenomenon. Hence, it is better to call this new political-oriented aspect, an “Anxiety- Aggression-Hypothesis” [81-90].

Concluding Remarks

This contribution can be divided into three main parts. The first part, argues that the psychological approach which predominantly uses the Frustration-Aggression-Hypothesis explains aggression, yet does not address the political acts of aggression. To begin with, the contribution commenced with theorizing some fundamental concepts, such as political consciousness [91-100]. This, basically, relies on the presumption that the concept of political power and political rights have been the vital elements of any political phenomenon, including coercion. The second point that has shown the importance of political consciousness is its nature. It is the main trait that a legitimate power relation or an act can be defined with. The third point is the nature of legitimacy, which as it has been argued, is the rational-normative principles. These two helped to argue that an act of aggression is legitimate or illegitimate. To mention some instance, violation of human rights and oppression is argued as the illegitimate acts of aggression.

The genealogy of acts of political aggression leads the argument to a newly-proposed category in aggression theory in politics: Anxiety- Aggression-Hypothesis. On the contrary to the Frustration-Aggression- Hypothesis, Anxiety-Aggression-Hypothesis focuses more on the relationship between political power and political-consciousness. The argument focus on the explanatory approach, arguing that the level of anxiety depends on two factor: one is the nature of power relation, and the other, is the level of political consciousness which is directly connected to the first factor. The core essence of this contribution which connects all the argued section together relies on the reciprocal relationship between political power, political consciousness, and political anxiety that affect any power relation. Focusing on the coercion, legitimacy of coercion or any specific act of aggression in a power relation is relying on the political consciousness and rational normative principles. Furthermore, political consciousness effects differently in different power relation. Political consciousness is admired in democratic regimes since the nature of power is the reciprocal concepts of power, appreciate the three concept of ‘power over’, ‘power to’, and ‘power of ’. This consequent assesses the three dimensions of the regime. On the contrary, the nature of authority which is relying on the one concept of power: ‘power over’, ignores the political consciousness [101-113]. This means that the concept of political consciousness which produces, promotes, and backs up the two other concepts of power, is reputed and tried to be ignored. The high level of political consciousness in such regime produce a high level of anxiety. Considering this theory in a different aspect, the level of political anxiety can be one of the main reason for illegitimate political aggression. Putting this theory into practice, one can see the connection between the level of violation of human right or oppression and the legitimacy of regimes.

1Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, (New York: A Harvest Book 1979), p.440; Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, (New York: Schocken Books, 1948), p.567.

2Arendt, The Origin of Totalitarianism, (New York: Schocken Books, 1948), p.567.

3See also speech in the City Hall of Reims on 30. March.1960 in Neuen Zürcher Zeitung, 31.March. 1960, Nr.90, p.2. https://www.

4The political consciousness theory explains the capacity of legitimation of power structure based on rational normative principle. in this sense, Berger and Lockmann argue that “Legitimation ‘explains’ the institutional order by ascribing cognitive validity to its objectivated meaning.” and “Knowledge proceed values in the legitimation of institutions.” See Berger and Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality; a Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. (England: Penguin Group, 1966), p.111.

5United Nation, “Human Rights”, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, Documents/60UDHR/bookleten.pdf

6See also Kim Parker, “Where the Public Stands on Government Assistance, Taxes and the Presidential Candidates,” Pew Research Center, Sep.2012, www.pewsocialtrends. org/2012/09/20/where-the-public-stands-on-government-assistancetaxes- and-the-presidential-candidates/ (accessed Augest 2015)

7Human Rights Watch, (2015). (United Nation) Report, 2015. world-report/2015


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