We probably hear this word far too often around us, and usually not in a very cheerful way. Over the course of history, politics became almost synonymous with words such as corruption, deception and hypocrisy. However, what many people often forget is that these words only describe what is essentially a negative side effects of politics; although it is true that many political events that occur today can be appropriately described by such vocabularies, politics itself is not a bad thing at all.
‘Politics’ is a very difficult word to define, and there are various definitions out there. However, for the sake of having some meaning in life, in this article politics will be defined as “activities that relate to influencing the actions and policies of a government or getting and keeping power in a government.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Well, the obvious response here would be: what is government? Although there will be a whole another article later to address this question, let’s just say for now that it refers to “the group of people who control and make decisions for a country, state, etc.” (Merriam-Webster)
Why is politics so important?
The definition seems to suggest that politics is all about making decisions. And to a large extent, it’s correct. Politics is about who has the power to make the decisions, how to make decisions and finally, what decisions to make. There have been numerous different opinions on all three questions, and history was written according to the answers the government gave to those three questions. But politics is not just about shaping the ‘world history.’ It’s about shaping individual lives- the decisions being made always have some form of influence on its citizen. Political changes bring about changes in principle values and the image of the ‘ideal world’ towards which a country must strive to become. In simple words, politics shape the most basic guidelines and values in almost every aspect of our lives. Is your life important? Then politics must be important.
“In simple words, politics shape the most basic guidelines and values in almost every aspect of our lives.”
What is the difference between political science and politics?
Some people do get confused when talking about politics and political science. Long story made short, political science is all about political theories while politics is more about what is actually happening in real life. A good politician would not necessarily be a political scientist. Political science is in the end, strictly based on theories, but politics in real life don’t always go according to those theories. You could say that politics is in a way a bit more to do with practicality of governing, especially with obtaining power in government, rather than with analysing how the government actually works. Ironic, I know, but we all know that the world is simply packed with ironies.
Next time, we’ll have a closer look at political science, and reveal some myths about the subject as well as explore what questions can be answered with it.
Photo Credit: photo by Samuel Zeller. Published in Unsplash in December 10, 2014. 4028×2779. Available at: https://unsplash.com/photos/_es6l-aPDA0