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Politics

What is Politics? It’s not in the Dictionary


U.S. Congress

Let me begin with a strict definition of politics and the etymology of the word as taken from http://wikipedia.org

Definition:

“Politics (from Greek πολιτικός, “of, for, or relating to citizens”) is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the corporate, academic, and religious segments of society. It consists of “social relations involving authority or power”[1] and refers to the regulation of public affairs within a political unit,[2] and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.[3] “

  1. ^ “Definition of politics”. dict.die.net.
  2. ^ “Politics (definition)”. everything2.co.
  3. ^ “Definition of politics”. thefreedictionary.com.

Etymology of the Word “Politics”

From Wikipedia.org:

“The word politics comes from the Greek word Πολιτικά (politika), modeled on Aristotle’s “affairs of the city”, the name of his book on governing and governments, which was rendered in English mid-15 century as Latinized “Polettiques”.[1] Thus it became “politics” in Middle English c. 1520s (see the Concise Oxford Dictionary). The singular politic first attested in English 1430 and comes from Middle French politique, in turn from Latin politicus,[2] which is the latinisation of the Greek πολιτικός (politikos), meaning amongst others “of, for, or relating to citizens”, “civil”, “civic”, “belonging to the state”,[3] in turn from πολίτης (polites), “citizen”[4] and that from πόλις (polis), “city”.[5]”

  1. ^ “Politics”. Online Etymology Dictionary.
  2. ^ Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short. “A Latin Dictionary”. Perseus Digital Library.
  3. ^ Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott. πολιτικός “A Greek-English Lexicon”. Perseus Digital Library.
  4. ^ Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott. πολίτης “A Greek-English Lexicon”. Perseus Digital Library.
  5. ^ Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott. πόλις “A Greek-English Lexicon”. Perseus Digital Library.

*the numbering for the above references have been changed to accommodate post formatting. The above 1-5 as listed on Wikipedia.org originally appeared as 4-8. 

Ok, now that I have bored you all to death with a terrifying flashback to your high school political science class (and pleased your high school English teacher with proper referencing), it is time to take this classical definition and give it a social definition. This is a definition based on the experience of the normal person not involved in politics. This is a definition that was remade by the normal person simply because we have yet to see that true definition be practiced.

Let’s go over the points from the above definition:

  1. “of, for, or relating to citizens” – If you are saying it is made up of regular citizens….then no I disagree. If you are saying that those in government are citizens…then ok I agree. If you are saying that politics is for the citizens, then I completely disagree. Lobby groups and big business have locked up governments since the dawn of the power broker and the only way it relates to the citizen is that the regular citizen is so far left out in the cold that they could care less anymore. They are just used to being beat down.
  2. “is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions” – Translated…” a process by which a few people in government make decisions that affect billions of people without always following the best interest of them.
  3. “The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the corporate, academic, and religious segments of society.” – Yes, I agree. However, I would not say generally. I would say loosely.
  4. “It consists of “social relations involving authority or power”[1] and refers to the regulation of public affairs within a political unit,[2] and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.[3] ” – This is exactly where the definition completely falls apart. This is where interpretation plays a huge role in this definition. The regulation of public affairs within a public unit and the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy are widely up to partisan opinion not compromise. We all have differences of opinion, but to make all of this work we need to compromise. Otherwise, we are left with partisan politics, lobby groups controlling governments, a widening of the classes, the people being left out in the cold.

Politics of today has strayed far from its original definition no matter how loosely you would like to apply it. There are many things wrong with the way our governments are set up. There are many ills within our systems. It is these thorns in the process that need to be removed systematically.

Over the next few weeks, I will put out one post a week that goes over specific process within the government that needs change and my proposal as to how to accomplish it. Look for the first post next week in my Politics: Time for a Real Change Series.

~Erik Sudberg


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About thetumultuoustimes

I am just a citizen of the world expressing opinions about a world that is in dire need of change.

Discussion

One thought on “What is Politics? It’s not in the Dictionary

  1. I love this, and it’s so true. Nice.Way to establish how much this definition has changed so much. It really needs to change back…like soon.

    Posted by queenofblank | November 30, 2011, 7:51 pm

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