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

Giu1i0 Pri5c0 pgptag at gmail.com
Sun Oct 16 17:05:39 UTC 2005

First let us define violence.
Let me define it as "using a weapon to solve a conflict".
And we still have to define "weapon".
Of course a gun is a weapon - the first image of my definition of
violence that comes to my mind is someone forcing me to deliver my
wallet at gunpoint.
But also superior physical strength or fighting skills are weapons. In
the example above nothing changes if the bad guy has no gun but is a
black belt twice bigger than I.
And also superior financial strength is a weapon, as the mafia guy
explains to Andy Garcia in Codfather 3. Everyone who has played
serious poker knows the golden rule that you don't play against people
with much more money than you.
In the apples example one of the farmers can be much richer than the
other and threaten to force him out of business (for example by
underselling until the other is broke) unless he sells the apple at a
given price.
Assuming they are peers, your apple example is good politics.
With the definitions above, I cannot think of something that is not
Good Politics but still solves conflicts without using violence. Of
course, there is good politics and better politics.
I don't agree that that all politics is bad, and all "good politics",
is in fact trade, or forbearance. How do you accommodate civil rights
or criminal law policies (just to make two examples) in the
definition? I think fair trade is a necessary element of good
politics, but I do not think all politics can be reduced to trade.

On 10/16/05, Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 10/16/05, Giu1i0 Pri5c0 <pgptag at gmail.com> wrote:
> > So perhaps we can merge the two definitions as:
> > 1) Bad Politics is the organized application of violence to achieve
> dominance
> > 2) Good Politics is solving conflicts without using violence
>  ### That's progress but questions remain. To avoid overinclusiveness, you
> need to specify what is not Good Politics but still solves conflicts without
> using violence.
>  ------------------------------------------------
> > 3) We are halfway between Bad Politics and Good Politics, the degree
> > depending on specific local practices.
> > 4) We should move away from 1 and towards 2.
> > Regarding the apples thing, I cannot answer without more info on the
> > trading mechanism. Having to trade apple at gunpoint, and being paid
> > with the right to stay alive until next time, is what I would call Bad
> > Politics.
>  ### Let's assume that it involves two farmers, peers in all respects. One
> has an apple, and intends to feed it to his hogs. The other desires the
> apple with all his soul, dreaming of the juicy, crisp, flavory crunch.
> Obviously, there is a conflict between their desires as to the preferred
> fate of the apple.
>  Being honest people, and utterly respectful of each other, they would never
> threaten violence (unless threatened). After some friendly negotiations,
> where violence is not even a dark unsaid shadow, they exchange the apple for
> some corn. Both farmers, and the hogs, are better off.
>  Is this politics?
>  Rafal
>  PS. As you may realize, what I am driving at is to say that all politics is
> bad, and all "good politics", is in fact trade, or forbearance.

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