Posted by: newperspectives85 | November 19, 2011

Tools of Politics

What tools does politics involve?  Compromise, cooperation, bargaining, discussion, debate, even bribery and deceit
–Example of bribery and deceit:  Watergate
–Success at politics requires bargaining and compromise
—-simple issues plus trust in participants equals success
—-Examples:  bargaining regarding prolonged exchange of proposals and counterproposals between teenagers and parents—may be all that’s needed to reach a collective decision
–Successful bargaining generally ends in compromise or a settlement in which each side concedes some preferences to secure others
Preferences—regarded as ‘givens’—individuals and groups know what they want—must be reconciled if they are to agree to some common cause of action
—may reflect individual’s economic situation, religious values, ethnic identity, or some other valued interest
—-example:  we commonly associate preferences with some perception of self-interest
—-we commonly associate preferences with some perception of self-interest, but they need not be so restrictive.
—-Millions of Americans oppose capital punishment, but surely very few of those who do expect to benefit from such a ban  (Think about the most heinous crimes requiring capital punishment and if they weren’t carried out)
Reconciling preferences
–a fundamental problem of governance
–example:  Constitution
—-James Madison, who played a role in drafting the document explains that the new government must be devised to represent and reconcile society’s many, diverse preferences “sown in the nature of man”:
“A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points…have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.  So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts”  excerpt from Federalist No. 10.
Meaning:  Madison took into account the human nature of all—there are many preferences and the government must be made to represent and reconcile those diverse preferences.
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