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

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sun Oct 16 18:20:41 UTC 2005

On 10/16/05, Giu1i0 Pri5c0 <pgptag at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.
> G.

### So refusing to sell a single apple is using "violence"?

Having a black belt while buying apples is being "violent"?

Being rich while selling apples is being "violent"?

Of course, if you redefine all words, from "violence", to "apple" and
"orange", you can make your definition of "politics" apply to whatever you

I am not saying that all politics is trade - I am saying it is antithetical
to trade. Trade is voluntary exchange, not compelled by the threat of
violence. Politics is the use of organized violence to achieve dominance.

Perhaps I should add "politics is the use of organized violence to achieve,
or deny dominance". This would accommodate the organized resistance to
politics in the form of insistence on maintaining personal freedom, as a
form of politics, although I would rather call it anti-politics.

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