Compendium of Political Behavior
Prof. Dr. Fikret Bečirović, Senior scientific associate in the Institute for Research of Crimes Against Humanity and International Law of the Sarajevo University COMPENDIUM OF POLITICAL BEHAVIOR BY DŽEBRAIL BAJRAMOVIĆ, Review of the book: Political behavior, by the author Džebrail Bajramović The book POLITICAL BEHAVIOR, by the author Džebrail Bajramović, certainly represents nice refreshment in the scientific opus of politics, being the most relevant form of social consciousness, and scientific discourse, which the author applied in this book on the BiH sociopolitical circumstances.
At the age of 19, Džebrail Bajramović, born in Goražde, stood in the line with those who defended their place of birth, brutally destroyed by the aggressor units, filled with utter morbid passion, throughout the merciless and the filthiest war ever pursued against a sovereign, multicultural, and multi-confessional Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sacrificing his youth for the freedom of his native town and his people in Goražde hell, Bajramović sacrificed precious parts of his body too, which is yet another most precious pledge. Thus, he can rightfully lament everything that enters the opus surrounding this country, unlike so many others who did not understand the defense of the country as the highest moral and legal responsibility, who stand out in criticism of everything surrounding them.
The book POLITICAL BEHAVIOR, by the author Džebrail Bajramović, issued by Platform CMC d.o.o Sarajevo, published in early 2014, opted for two sociological phenomena in its discourse: behavior and politics, and analyzed them individually and in their correlations. The author tried in his analytical discourse to reanimate these two oldest social pre-phenomena, studied by the scholars ever since the beginning of civilization; from the anthropological era in Greek philosophy; from Sophists, Plato, Aristotle to Max Weber, Talcott Parsons and contemporary sociologists, political scientists, psychologists, and other scholars, who tried to shed light on this vitally important social matters.
Social behavior (activity, action, conduct, approach, attitude towards others and different, rational speech, social interaction, etc.) is a conscious human activity and attitude towards natural and social environment, whereas the political behavior, being a part of general behavior, is the behavior, which is, in its foundation, based on political motives, interests and objectives, inseparable from the real, everyday life. So, while the general, social behavior has been an integral part of human society ever since the first forms of human societies, political behavior starts from the first forms of state organizations, and accordingly rudimentary forms of politics as skills of management and establishment of those state forms. Accordingly, the politics may be regarded, from its start until the present day, a science about the state. The notion political behavior per se was used in 1937 by the Swedish political scientist Herbert Tingsten in his work, which has the relevance of the pioneer exercise for the development of sociology and statistics (Bajramović: 2014:30).
Focusing on the above specified themes, aware of the fact that he “jumped into” the used, misused, and always current matters, Bajramović commenced his discourse with a provocative question: “Is political behavior, for science or a small country in transition, sufficiently relevant issue to deserve a prioritized attention in a situation in which there are ample economic problems, problems in science, education, culture, and many other issues related to survival in poverty?
Along with this question, throughout his discourse, the author also discussed so many other problems, which cover this country like dark clouds, full of latent troubles and evil destiny. Along with this crucial question, he also raised so many other questions, such as: what is human behavior, what is nonpolitical behavior, what is behavior, etc. At the very beginning, the questions started coupling like snowflakes from woolen gloves, yet these questions do not melt like snowflakes, but rather they persist to rudely provoke until they are answered.
The author in this way, at the very beginning, organized his “worksite” which he will elaborate in his book, so that he will, step by step, try to “appease thirst” with the questions that cry for the answers, and show that the political, just like any other decent behavior is extremely important, that it is of crucial, let alone vital interest, given that the appropriate and decent political behavior is an elementary factor of good politics, particularly in connection with
professional politicians and other individuals who are in whatever way involved in political structures, in reference to which the author gives his practical advice that are in line with the positions of great thinkers that political behavior creates a good or bad politics, which ultimately influences the development or setback of the entire society. We should therefore remember the Aristotle way of understanding the politics: “Ultimate goal of all sciences and arts is wellbeing, and the biggest wellbeing is the goal of the highest science, science of state (politics). The Wellbeing, which the state wants is justice, and that is general benefit” (Aristotle: 1970:93). Fairness, in his opinion, is a virtue from which all other virtues continue. In his view, fairness and military capacity are two chief pillars without which the state cannot survive; without fairness, the state would implode, and without military capacity it is endangered from outside.
Hence, the author Bajramović also strives, with his book, for the biggest Wellbeing – General wellbeing, politics that strives for happiness and wellbeing for all citizens, and therefore this book may be understood as a small Compendium related to understanding of behavior, politics, and state. While compiling most recent opinions related to this phenomenon, the author is absolutely clear that those who want to achieve the highest authority should have at least three characteristics: 1) authority, 2) consistency, and 3) successfulness, which corresponds with three characteristics, highlighted by Aristotle: 1) love towards the existing constitutional order, 2) extraordinary capacity and expertise to perform tasks required by the enforcement of authority, and 3) virtues, fairness, and moral lifestyle (Aristotle: 197:178).
Of course, the interest for politics should intrigue every citizen, but “the most important for the state is if the power is in hands of professional and hardworking individuals who will not allow themselves to be mistaken”, Aristotle pointed out (Aristotle: 1970:207). Accordingly, the author highlighted that in contemporary democratic, civil state, the political rights entrusted with citizens are guaranteed in laws. These rights are: right to information, right to free expression of opinions related to politics and political subjects, right of political organizing, passive and active right to candidacy and to be elected to political and managerial positions, right to influence political processes and general functioning of state, right to protection of physical integrity and health, including all other rights guaranteed in International human rights law, international
conventions and other legal acts endorsed in line with legislative systems, as well as Constitutions and other legal regulations of every individual state, extremely appreciated by the author. Considering the political rights and power of sovereignty that stem from people, a citizen may express his or her satisfaction or dissatisfactions by voting during the elections, participating in public gatherings, referendum, strike, boycott, demonstrations or protests, which we can see nowadays in the Arab world, Ukraine, and in parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that left deep scars following the February 2014 protests.
In continuation, the author, while referring to the provisions of the International legal acts, including the works of numerous scientific authorities in the field of philosophy, sociology, law, political sciences, and other scientific disciplines, compiled all that knowledge, in a rather comprehensive manner, using his minutia’s style, and intertwined it throughout his discourse, giving it a new soul while providing proposals for so many practical solutions, which could certainly help local politicians, particularly professional ones, engaged in politics without having sufficient theoretical knowledge, general, political and communication culture, including required moral purity and decisiveness. To the contrary, the political idealism, applicable in these regions, is reflected in negligence, language of conflict and hatred, boiling nationalism, localism, and primitivism, including other forms that are so far from any politics leading to any kind of common wellbeing. Thus, in his book “To end a war”, Richard Holbrooke concluded that “Bosnia is a state in which every boy grows up with a dream that he would have his own checkpoint”. (Holbrooke: 1998:191).
Placing behavior within the context of social relations and social consciousness, being key social phenomena, the author, throughout his text, elaborated the thesis on various forms of behavior, with a special emphasis on political behavior, with which he encompasses so many actions and activities that directly or indirectly influence general wellbeing, substituted in the state as substantial will of merged individuals, where by the will of “Hobbs’ social contract” the individual “I” transforms to common “WE”, general wellbeing of the community, which significantly affects all these important questions, raised by the author, related to the life of a community (economic matters, problems of science, education, culture, problems of how to survive in poverty).
To that end, political, just like any other form of behavior has to be socially desirable, that is, in line with social norms and good practices, which are in favor of wellbeing of society. Thus, any behavior is the result of socialization, including concrete social relations and social consciousness, because as Aristotle said “man is by his nature a constituent being”, since, the philosopher continues “man outside community is man without his belonging, without law, without home. Such individual naturally wishes for war, given that he is lonely and left to his own” (Aristotle: 1970:5,6). So, referring to recent scientific authorities, the author pointed out to the symbiosis between politics and polis (state), even with their identification. However, with the historic development of social forces and social relations, particularly in civil society, the politics got separated as a specific sphere compared to others, including in representation of a state, and it got the meaning of element of absolute spirit, element of highest quality, which is particularly noted in the Hegel’s philosophy of state and law. In addition to emphasizing the positive sides of the Aristotle and Hegel style, the author also pointed out at the politics in its negative, Marx’s style, in form of sphere of alienation, which technically describes the contemporary politicians, who alienated from nation, becoming thus a separate class.
Accordingly, it stems that human being may be moral or amoral only within the framework of a social community. There is no morality or amorality outside the society, nor any norms of behavior. So, behavior as a reflection of individual or collective consciousness, socialization, moral and cultural actions, social heritage and tradition, habits, interests, psychological state and so many other factors represents totality of human being structure.
To that end, the author’s discourse is multidisciplinary, yet complementary with the ancient philosophers Plato, Aristotle, Ibn Khaldun, Hasan Kafi Pruscak and many others. The best example, which may be found in the book by Džebrail Bajramović is a similarity, taken out of context, with a supreme Aristotle thought, that could be treated as if imperatively suggesting that “In the best interest of the state is a citizen who wishes to be subjected and to rule in line with the moral life” (Aristotle: 1970:98). The author, while focusing the structure of society on: 1) social stratification, 2) hierarchical organization, and 3) concentration of the biggest power in hands of the state apparatus (Bajramović: 2014:9), particularly points out that “in these frameworks, all people, all residents in a state territory, all institutions, and organizations, should
(must) behave in line with the system of applicable norms”, and continues “that in true sense of the holy duty of subjects are subordination, faithfulness, and loyalty in enforcement of the ruler’s will”.
Of course, the author also speaks about the class division of society – to the ruling part and subject. Regardless of this fact, there cannot be humane (civil) society without a hard work. Alternative is no rule of law and anomia, including destructive occurrences and the society destroyers.
Even the author Bajramović knows well, focused on human beings with their labor, division of roles in social division of labor, as clearly stated in the wording, that the behavior, correspondence, morality, professionalism, and cultural habitus are so important for any role human beings may have in society, which means that every individual has to be aware of his or her role in society, including the rights and responsibilities arising from those roles, as well as civilized behavior and moral scruples related to those roles and social status of every individual, including in the everyday interaction and communication.
To that end, Bajramović did not miss a hadith in which followers of Prophet Mohammed asked him: “Who are the best people?” to which he quickly replied: “The best ones among you are those who behave the best”. Whether political, nonpolitical, or behavior in general, it should bi civilized, rational, and responsible, that is, harmonized with the idea of general wellbeing and general moral principles. “Do not do to others what you do not want others to do to you”. Moreover, we should be reminded of the Plato’s position “that the ideal state is the state in which everyone does what he is trained for”, and to the best of his or her knowledge.
In this context Bajramović raised a justified question as to whether our politicians and political function holders are competent for what they do and if they behave in line with positive social norms, or the rules of desirable behavior, and what their point of view is, or moral habitus or what is their attitude towards the others.
But, when the author refers to an old definition of politics as “skills of achieving the possible”, then he rightfully discusses the problematic questions related to behavior, which stem from the opus of political activities that most frequently exclude the deontological moral
imperatives, while applying the utilitarian moral compromises, often accompanied by the Machiavelli slogan that “the end justifies the means”. This position is obvious in the author’s narrative related to the forms and manners of coming into power by use of most perfidious cheating of voters, including the conduct and enjoying the “benefits of power”, autocratic and often despotic attitude towards the population, the constituents, who elevated them to the throne of legislative and executive authority, without having any prior information on their capabilities or character. To that end, the author wonders: “Would someone really believe that majority of voters – constituents really know the characteristics of candidates and their true abilities to govern the state or its part?” (Bajramović: 2014:51).
In continuation, the author raises the question of the constituent consciousness of the voters, rule of law, which can hardly survive without a transition of the consciousness, that is, without moral and cultural development, attitude towards work, individuals or the whole social community, responsibility, respect for the legal norms, which were usually disrespected while the will of an individual was above everything. Thus the author rightfully commented that “one of the crucial values of democracy – equality is lost in the process of enforcement of law, serving as an instrument of politics”.
For that reason, the author in terms of selection of candidates raises the questions of their morality and professional competence, asking “Did the candidate have relevant qualifications and working experience? Did the candidate have any alleged or genuine affairs during his life, particularly during his political functions? (Bajramović: 2014:52), which suggest the author’s attempt to introduce to politics the Kant’s categorical imperatives. Yet, in addition to the policy of no compromise with the voters, the author mentioned various tricks, conspiracies, lies, forgeries, and scrupulous inter-party fighting, particularly of the parties in power and those in opposition, emphasizing the advantages of the parties in power which set the mode of elections, course of elections, electoral material, logistics, infrastructure, and many other advantages, although opposition also has its advantages reflected in severe and fierce criticism on numerous deficiencies, flaws, and criminal activity of the current authority.
But, in addition to inter-party fight, the intra-party and intra-coalition party is not so different (Bajramović 2014:57). Placing focus on permanent conflicts in all the segments of
society, highlighted by the author, we can only compare this part of the author’s narrative with the Hobbs sociological imagination of “war against all” (bellum omnia contra omnes). Thus, the correct author’s question “why normal, educated, well informed people agree to listen to and allow to be led by politicians who are below the average level of intelligence” (Bajramović: 2014:87).
Of course, this matter is for broader elaboration, which the author initiated while offering desirable models in enforcement of authority in a democratic system. One of the potential answers lies in the fact that the politics is not, unfortunately, understood as a science of state governed by the wisest, most educated individuals (Plato calls them philosophers), but rather as a field in which these individuals can exercise the raw force (both verbal and physical), the field of lies, blackmails, pressures, and other morbid gestures and relations, which an educated, moral and honest person cannot tolerate and sustain.
Clear example for this assumption goes even to the time of Plato, who could not swallow all that and he threw himself into the mere theory, while writing two valuable works: State and Laws. The same applies to Hasan Kafi Pruscak, who with his work “Foundations of wisdom related to the constitution of the world” tried to point out to all the weaknesses that captured the empire, including the proposal to Sultan Mehmed III for the recovery and stabilization of the empire. In the same way, Džebrail Bajramović, in his political compendium (manual), presented a brief scientific discourse related to political behavior and recommended it as a desirable and practical model of behavior and enforcement of authority in a democratic system, which could be applied in BiH sociopolitical circumstances.
The author pointed out at the phenomenon of socialization as a key determinant for the behavior in general. As earlier highlighted that a human being is a social (constituent) being, the author is emphasizing that the process of socialization is a social phenomenon of cultivation that can only be applied within society, starting from the family, being the basic cell of society, then school, religious institutions, peer society, including norms (regulations) and institutions, which all of them in their specific ways influence the level of norms applicable to socially desirable behavior, as well as socialization and cultivation of every individual in terms of self-development.
In this context, the author says that “the socialization begins during the early childhood in form of learning how to behave properly, that is adaptability to the valid system of behavior or functional social relations, which we call decent”.
To that end, the author pointed out that “Every behavior has its cause” that can be conscious, unconscious, deliberate, instinctive, reasonable, unreasonable, emotional, unemotional, and as for causes that author sees them as: a) behavior caused by effects of natural laws, b) behavior caused by instincts, and b) causes that the author considers characteristic only for humans and human society, which he calls rational – emotional (Bajramović: 2014:15), which are, in his opinion, the most complex causing numerous ambivalences in social relations. They also affect nature, which the author names “Increased social and human power and reduced nature dependency”. By mentioning complexity of human nature, and subsequent various forms of behavior, the author particularly pointed out the socially undesirable and deviant behavior such as violent or other forms of antisocial behavior that appear in all segments of society, with which ample social sciences and institutions are preoccupied.
The author placed interests in the focus of the general social circle of various forms and varieties of behavior, and even mentioned our colloquial vulgar-materialistic question “What do I get?” that totally reveals a form of our greedy ego, based on which the author arrives at a conclusion that “if a resultant of individual and group interests cannot be found, then there is no politics” that clearly implies that the politics is intertwined with the biggest, most perfidious, even the most vulgar personal interests.
By highlighting the needs, as natural and existential phenomena, the author pointed out that people usually exaggerate, and he thus placed them in the discourse of moral utilitarianism, in which everything is subjected to the interests, greed, and gain. This is rooted in all pores of the society, even those most important segments of social extensions: judiciary, political parties, authority, media, religion, including bioethics – a moral issue of cloning animals and galloping erosion of public morality.
In this “intellectual elaboration”, the author raised also some old/new questions related to demography or everlasting political questions dated from the earliest times – from Sparta, Third Reich, all the way to China and black Africa, the questions with Malthusian prefix in terms of
ratio between the total number of population and the quantity of food required for this fantastic number, which exceeded 7 billion. The author also raises issues, which have been for long in focus of politics, whose solutions or omissions in finding solutions may have unimaginable consequences.
In this context, he pointed out that the “feminist demands on ‘gender equality’, violence, same-sex marriages, their rights to adopt minor children (Bajramović: 2014:62) and other should first be considered from the position of future of a family, birth rate, health, and future of mankind in general. The record that more than 7,000 same-sex marriages were concluded in France in 2013 following the adoption of law that allows same-sex marriages would definitely have to be of concern, because if all those couples would exercise their right to adopt children, we would have 7,000 new homosexuals, so that this phenomenon would expand by geometric progression that would clearly be an indication of downfall of mankind.
Finally, it can be correctly summarized that the author worked very hard, that he consulted and studied recent literature, established a good correlation between important notions and facts, and using a simple and understandable style he shed some new light on this topic, and based on all this, I consider that the author’s work will have multifold value and benefit, primarily for politicians and those who wish to engage in politics, also for students of social disciplines, including for general public, who should be interested in political matters and political behavior, given that they are unbreakable part of totality of real, everyday life.