Politics Defined by reactions is meaningful. By having politics defined by reactions, we gain a much better understanding that we do from the text books definitions. Reactions are a key indicator about politics. However using the text books provide some indication of the meaning of politics andthey are probably a good place to start. We then need to have the subject understood in a meaningful way that allows our knowledge to be used in a practical sense. To do that, we will need to tease out the effects as part of the meaning. In this way, politics defined in a practical way will assume more importance than the text definitions.
Definitions of politics
are provided in a range of text books.
To understand the practical realities of politics, a quote from Mel Thompson's book "Teach Yourself Political Philosophy" may be helpful."Political philosophy should be about ends - about what you seek to achieve through politics. Once the ends are agreed on, politics and economics are the disciplines that see to their delivery. But, of course, political and economic systems tend to generate their own ends, so these too are scrutinized within political philosophy."
To understand politics at a practical level one needs to consider the ends of the individuals within any political system. Individual's measures of success may be overseas beach holidays.
Political measures of success may include allocations of funding whichare also called
earmarks in politics.
Power, Status and Influence
In a practical sense, politics is about power, status and influence.These three need some further consideration.
Politics as "being about POWER" is probably quite apt. Power is a very emotional thing. It is also often based on comparative power. You feel great when you have it and you feel really bad when you don't. Power is often the reasonable belief that you will go unpunished for doing things that you find enjoyable. These may include gaining wealth or treating others in a way that would generally not be acceptable. In many, power is little other than a brutal weapon. Power in this sense is the most base of the three elements.
Status is the recognition of others. It is often closely aligned with power but can also be inversely proportional - especially among those who are well educated and financially comfortable. Status is often self-indulgent and the companion of pride and arrogance. Status is also personally appealing to many - but seeking status is not admired. Status is a common perception of politics.
Influence is the most subtle of the three ways of having politics defined. Influence may be achieved through power - in the short term. Genuine long term influence is unlikely to be achieved in that manner. Striving for influence may be totally self-motivated. However, striving for influence may be totally selfless. At least, in this respect,politics may have one honorable motive. Political definitions referring to influence are not as common as the practical reality.
The challenge for outsiders is to recognize that there CAN be a honorable motive. If we can achieve that, the second challenge is to determine when that is the real motivation - and when it is merely claimed by the participant. Context is critical for how politics is defined and should be included in the
definition of politics.
In particular, the definition should encompass a range of situations. Whatpolitics means should reflect on what it is, for each individual, in terms of their own agenda, and the agenda they purport to pursue. To understand about politics, you need to understand politics in a range of situations.
The United Kingdom
The United States of America
and ALL the other countries around the world !!
In summary, politics is both similar things and different things invarious countries.
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