[extropy-chat] Re: A view of what politics is

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sun Oct 16 13:14:37 UTC 2005

On 10/16/05, Brett Paatsch wrote:
> Jack Parkinson wrote:
> > Lone dissenters are NEVER 'political' - they are rugged individualists,
> > deviants, and/or eccentrics until such time as they represent a group. > > If they are really unlucky they are criminals to boot! But they are not
> > politicians until they can claim to represent a constituency...
> Lee Harvey Oswald?

Like most "big subject" words in English, 'politics' means different
things at different times and scales from the largest to the smallest.

1) can mean the art, science or study of government of states and
other political units, and leads on to 'government' and 'political
Sub-types of this meaning of 'politics' are
'geopolitics', 'realpolitik', 'practical politics' and even 'social science'.

2) can also mean the opinion (personal belief or judgment) you hold
with respect to political questions. This leads on to 'political

3) can also mean social relations involving authority or power,
'political relations', the use of strategic maneuvering within a group
to obtain power or control.

4) can also mean the profession devoted to governing and to political affairs.

So, Lee Harvey Oswald had type 2) 'politics' - i.e. his political
beliefs. His actions followed from these beliefs. His actions were
also a type 3), political social relations, where he demonstrated his
power to affect the group.

But, the discussion rapidly becomes meaningless with 'big subject'
words unless you restrict the meaning to what you want to discuss.

So, if you want to discuss 'politics' as 'power maneuvering within
groups', or 'negotiations between groups', then say so at the outset.


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