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Bob Wilson (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bob Wilson
Bob Wilson (92nd Congress portrait).jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1981
Preceded byLionel Van Deerlin (41st)
Succeeded byEdward R. Roybal (30th)
William M. Ketchum (36th)
Andrew J. Hinshaw (40th)
Bill Lowery (41st)
Constituency30th district (1953–63)
36th district (1963–73)
40th district (1973–75)
41st district (1975–81)
Personal details
Robert Carlton Wilson

(1916-04-05)April 5, 1916
Calexico, California, U.S.
DiedAugust 12, 1999(1999-08-12) (aged 83)
Chula Vista, California, U.S.
Resting placeFort Rosecrans National Cemetery
San Diego, California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Alma materSan Diego State University

Robert Carlton "Bob" Wilson (April 5, 1916 – August 12, 1999) was an American politician. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives. He was a member of the Republican Party.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Politics: Crash Course Sociology #30
  • ✪ Robert Anton Wilson - Donald Trump Is F**ing Crazy
  • ✪ The Fate of the October Revolution Under Stalin - Professor Bob Service


You're a good citizen, right? You voted in the last election, or you're looking forward to voting in the future. You pay your taxes. You're happy to exercise the full range of your civic responsibilities. The point is, you might already know all about how your government works. If you don't, and you're American, well, there's a Crash Course for that. But even if you're an informed citizen who knows every line of your constitution by heart, that doesn't mean you know why your government works. For that, we need a different kind of political knowledge. Civics can tell you how your system works, but sociology can help you understand why. [Theme Music] So, what do we mean when we talk about politics? A civics class can define politics in terms of the particular systems of government, but sociologists have a broader definition: Politics is the major social institution by which society organizes decision-making and distributes power and resources. By this definition, politics obviously includes things like the government itself, but it also includes things outside of it, like political party organizations and lobbying groups, and even social movements. Voting is a political action, but so is going to a demonstration or calling your representative. Or boycotting a company whose CEO has ideas that you find disagreeable. Because, these are all ways of trying to influence societal decision-making and the distribution of power. That being said, the government does have special importance here, because it's the major formal organization that organizes and regulates politics, so it’s responsible for making decisions for the whole of society. And it can carry out these decisions, because it has a lot of power, which our old friend Max Weber defined as the ability to achieve desired ends over the objections of others. Now, Weber considered a government's power to be coercive power, or power that’s backed by the threat of force. You might not think of your government as a threat, but Weber actually defined a state as the organization that has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. Of course – and thankfully – not every action that a government takes requires an overt use of force. Under normal circumstances, people respect the political systems at work in their government, and they tend to view state power as an expression of authority, where state leaders have the right to use legitimate power. And so, while violence for Weber is always the ultimate last resort of the state, most of the time, it isn't necessary. Weber also recognized that the power of a political system comes in a variety of forms. Traditional authority is power that’s legitimized by respect for long-standing cultural patterns and beliefs. It’s based on the same idea as the traditional mindset we talked about in episodes 9 & 17, namely that the world has a basic order to it, and that order must be respected. Another style of power is known as rational-legal authority, or power legitimized by legally enacted rules and regulations. This is the power behind the US Constitution, whose written rules determine the entire American political and legal system. When the Constitution is changed or reinterpreted, the rules change, as with when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in 2015, for example. Finally, we have a kind of wildcard power: charismatic authority, which is power legitimized by the extraordinary personal qualities of a leader. Jesus of Nazareth leading a new religious movement, or Martin Luther King Jr. leading thousands of people in the civil rights movement are examples of personalities that mobilized precisely this kind of authority. But authority that rests entirely on the qualities of one person can be unstable. So sometimes that power becomes transferred to something outside – separate from – that one charismatic person. This is called the routinization of charisma, and it’s where charismatic authority is transformed into some combination of traditional and/or rational-legal authority. The founding of the Church after Jesus' death is a good example of this. Now, just as there are different kinds of authority, so too are there different forms of government. For instance, democracy – a political system that gives power to the people as a whole – tends to be backed by rational-legal authority. This isn't terribly surprising, since, in Weber’s model, democracy as a form of government and a rational-legal approach to authority both emerged with rationalization and the rise of bureaucracy. And we can see a certain affinity between democracy and rational-legal authority in the fact that leadership in democracies is linked to office-holding. So, the power is attached to a legally defined office, not to a particular person. By contrast, monarchy is a political system in which power is legitimized by traditional authority and held by a single family. This is maybe most obvious in the feudal European idea of the Divine Right of Kings, in which the monarchs were held to be ordained by God from time immemorial. And just as democracies are much more common in modern bureaucratic states, monarchies are more common in traditional agrarian societies. But a certain type of authority doesn’t always reside in a specific form of government. Monarchy, for example, is just one type of authoritarianism, which is any system that denies people participation in their own governance and leaves ruling to the elites. And while monarchy relies on traditional authority, another variety of authoritarianism, totalitarianism, does not. Totalitarianism is a centralized political system that extensively regulates people’s lives. And it has some of the same affinities for legal-rational authority that democracy does. Both are modern systems, for one thing, but it's also much easier to closely control a people through a system of bureaucratic rules. For example, a totalitarian government might enact a law that, say, every household has to display a picture of the ruler. It’s a small bureaucratic rule with major political implications. And democracy isn’t always associated with legal-rational authority, either. Take the United States! The President has power because of the rules set out in the Constitution – which is a form of legal-rational authority – but the President attains that power by winning an election, which can often rely on charismatic authority. We can even see traditional authority of a kind at work in the reverence with which the Constitution and the "Founding Fathers" are invoked in political discourse. Now, the US as an example can move us from what has so far been a pretty theoretical discussion of authority and politics, to seeing how sociology can help us understand what they look like in practice. To understand power, authority, and politics, we need to understand the political attitudes of a population. And to do this, we need to talk about the political spectrum, the broad array of beliefs and ideas that make up the politics of a society. In the US, this ranges from liberal on the left of the spectrum to conservative on the right. And again, this isn’t just a theoretical difference of ideas; these beliefs shape the distribution of power and resources in the US in some very fundamental ways. On economic issues, for instance, left-leaning or liberal perspectives often favor government intervention in the economy to help guarantee an equality of outcomes. Equal pay for women, equitable distribution of wealth among races, and regulations that promote workplace and product safety are all examples of economic issues that the left is frequently concerned with. By contrast, conservative or right-leaning perspectives may tend to take a more laissez-faire or “hands off” approach, in which government regulation is seen as hampering the natural flow of economic activity. So, that’s how the political spectrum can look when it comes to economic matters. On social issues, one way of understanding the gap between left and right is in terms of the different kinds of authority that each faction tends to support, or endorse. Here, the right tends to build its arguments on traditional authority, while the left tends to look to legal-rational frameworks. We can see this in the issue of marriage equality, for example: The right has often described its opposition as a defense of “traditional marriage,” while the left has argued that marriage equality was an extension of legal, civil rights. Now, no matter where your political leanings fall on the spectrum, in the end they’d be pretty meaningless without some way to give them form in the struggle for things like power and wealth. That’s where political parties come in, as well as interest groups, like political action committees, which organize around particular issues rather than around a whole party platform. And beyond the formal, institutional politics, there are also social movements that try to mobilize masses of people to further particular political goals. Black Lives Matter and the Tea Party are both good examples of this. But lobbying, special interest groups, and social movements all raise difficult questions about how truly democratic the American system is. Why would you need to demonstrate in the streets if you’re supposed to be able to express your political beliefs by voting? The answer lies in sociological theories of power – that is, the different understandings of how power is distributed in a society. One common view is known as the pluralist model, which sees power as being very widely distributed. In this view, politics is a matter of negotiation, but everyone has at least some voice in the process. This model was closely linked with structural functionalist theory and dominated much of American sociology in the 1950s and early 60s. In this line of thinking, demonstrations are seen as irrational outbursts, pointless gestures in a political system that already distributes political power fairly. However, in the power-elite model, political protests make perfect sense. This view sees political power as being concentrated in the hands of small groups, especially among the very rich. If this is the case, protests may be the only way for many people to advance their interests and have their voices heard. Finally, there’s the Marxist political economy model, which holds that both of the other two models really miss the point: Here, power isn't evenly distributed, but it's also not held by a strictly political elite. Instead, the cause of the imbalance of power is seen as being systemic, and the powerful few are seen as the products of a particular economic system. So meaningful political change, in this understanding, is only possible through a change in the underlying economic system. So to understand politics – in the United States or anywhere else – we need to look at all the aspects we’ve talked about – the types of authority, the kinds of government, political beliefs, models of power, and how they all relate to each other. Today we learned about the sociological approach to politics. We defined politics and power. We discussed the different types of authority and how they relate to different political systems. And we looked at American politics in some detail, talking about demographics and political organizations. Finally, we discussed different sociological theories of power. Crash Course Sociology is filmed in the Dr. Cheryl C. Kinney Studio in Missoula, MT, and it’s made with the help of all of these nice people. Our animation team is Thought Cafe and Crash Course is made with Adobe Creative Cloud. If you'd like to keep Crash Course free for everyone, forever, you can support the series at Patreon, a crowdfunding platform that allows you to support the content you love. Thank you to all of our patrons for making Crash Course possible with their continued support.



Wilson was born on April 5, 1916 in Calexico, California. He attended San Diego State College (now San Diego State University) and Otis Art Institute (now Otis College of Art and Design). He served in World War II stateside in the Army commissary, 1940 – 1945. After the war, he was in the Marine Corps Reserve, rising to the rank of colonel, and was a partner in two advertising agencies.

Wilson first became involved in politics campaigning for Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. He was recruited to run in the newly created 30th District, based in San Diego, California. When Wilson phoned his wife, Jean Bryant Wilson, with the news he was selected by the Republicans to run, she laughed saying "You a Congressman?" He was elected amid Eisenhower's gigantic landslide that year.

Wilson was reelected 13 times, rarely facing serious opposition as San Diego was a Republican stronghold. His campaigns featured anti-communism themes, stressing the importance of a strong military. He also opposed high taxes, championing rugged individualism instead. While in Congress he became a major spokesman for the defense industry and played a large role in the development of a military presence in San Diego. From 1959 until his retirement he was a member of the House Armed Services Committee. From 1968 to his retirement he served as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee. He was well-known and popular in San Diego, and would blanket his district with pot holders and other gifts with his name on it during election time. Several households still have the 40-page Bob Wilson Barbecue Cook Book he sent out. While in office, he patented a "Smack-Its", a table-top tetherball game.

In 1980, Wilson decided not to run for a 15th term. He served as co-chairman of American Freedom Coalition with Congressman Richard Ichord. He was a member of the California Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Wilson died on August 12, 1999 in Chula Vista, California, at the age of 83. He is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.

Bob Wilson Drive at the San Diego Naval Medical Center in Balboa Park is named for Wilson. He once said "the hospital is the most important thing in my entire career in Congress as far as I'm concerned."

On May 8, 2008, Naval Medical Center San Diego was rededicated as Bob Wilson Naval Hospital. Bob Wilson Naval Hospital serves a population of 250,000 active-duty personnel along with those retired from military service. The facility treats 4,000 patients, performs 50 surgical procedures and delivers 10 babies daily with a staff of 6,200, according to Adm. Christine Hunter, the hospital's commander.


  • "[President Harry Truman's] morally bankrupt administration was riddled from within by graft and grand larceny. The Trumanites had had their day.... It was time to turn the rascals out, to make a clean sweep and reinstate Christian principles of morality on a national level." – quoted from Confessions of a Kinetic Congressman

See also

  • Nugan Hand Bank
  • Confessions of a Kinetic Congressman by Bob Wilson (1996).
  • "Congressman Bob Wilson's Contribution to the Navy and San Diego, 1952–1962", San Diego State University Thesis, 1990 by Alec C. Schiller.
  • Bob Wilson Collection, Booth Historical Photograph Archives, San Diego Historical Society


External links

  • United States Congress. "Bob Wilson (id: W000610)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 30th congressional district

January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1963
Succeeded by
Edward R. Roybal
(moved to 36th district)
Preceded by
District created
(moved from 30th district)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 36th congressional district

January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1973
Succeeded by
William M. Ketchum
(moved to 40th district)
Preceded by
District created
(moved from 36th district)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 40th congressional district

January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1975
Succeeded by
Andrew J. Hinshaw
(moved to 41st district)
Preceded by
Lionel Van Deerlin
(moved from 40th district)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 41st congressional district

January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1981
Succeeded by
Bill Lowery
This page was last edited on 16 April 2019, at 19:09
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