Politics

Given the animosities common to political discussions, many Americans have come to see politics as a dirty business they want to avoid - and not just at the dinner table.

From another perspective politics was understood by Aristotle as a discussion of the public good calling on the insights of a whole community. In a similar way, Parker Palmer calls for a deeper view of politics - beyond "seeing it as a chess game of moves and countermoves or a shell game for seizing power or a blame game of Whac-A-Mole." He continues, "Rightly understood, politics is no game at all.  It is the ancient and honorable human endeavor of creating a community in which the weak as well as the strong can flourish, love and power can collaborate, and justice and mercy can have their day."

The American founding fathers were torn between the Anti-Federalists, who believed that only small Republics could survive, and the Federalists, who supported the federal union of the 13 colonies.  Both sides were extremely skeptical of politics.  The U.S. constitution was designed to limit government power because of the dangers of politics (or “factions” in the language of James Madison’s Federalist X).  Many conservatives and libertarians honor the perspective of the founders who believed that the powers of government should be limited.

 

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Living Room Conversation Guide: Talking about Politics

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