[extropy-chat] A view of what politics is.
russell.wallace at gmail.com
Tue Oct 11 21:20:28 UTC 2005
On 10/11/05, Giu1i0 Pri5c0 <pgptag at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think Brett gives a good definition of what politics *should be*.
> If a resource that everyone needs is scarce we can either shoot each
> other or trying to find a mutually acceptable agreement. This is
> called politics.
> Unfortunately in the real world things that have nothing to do with
> resource allocation becomes a part of the political debate. Take gay
> marriage for example - two adults of the same sex who want to get
> married do not take anything out of my pocket, or in general do not
> take any resource away from me, so I do not think such things should
> be part of politics.
But they take a resource away from the government, and the resource they
take away is the one that must always necessarily be scarce: _power_. Any
decision about how you live your life, if it is taken by you, therefore
cannot be taken by the government; so from their viewpoint, any increase of
freedom takes away the one resource they value above all others. (Not that
every last individual in the government is obsessed with power above all
else, but government as an institution necessarily tends to behave as though
it thought that way.)
This matters because, while our competitive instincts evolved in a time when
material resources were scarce, that time has passed; power, that which all
social species use as a token for material resources, is now the main thing
fought over for its own sake. The distinction makes a difference: remember
the Falklands war, when observers were arguing about whether the islands'
material resources were worth fighting over, failing to realize that both
governments had already agreed to give those up? Sovereignty was the one
non-negotiable issue they had to go to war over. When entering a conflict,
it's important to know what you're fighting for.
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