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Politics is the set of activities that are associated with the governance of a country, state or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to groups of members.
It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state.The academic study focusing on just politics, which is therefore more targeted than general political science, is sometimes referred to as politology (not to be confused with politicology, a synonym for political science).
In modern nation-states, people often form political parties to represent their ideas. Members of a party often agree to take the same position on many issues and agree to support the same changes to law and the same leaders.
An election is usually a competition between different parties.Some examples of political parties worldwide are: the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, the Democratic Party (D) in the United States, the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Germany and the Indian National Congress in India which has the highest number of political parties in the world (2546 political parties) . Politics is a multifaceted word. It has a set of fairly specific meanings that are descriptive and nonjudgmental (such as "the art or science of government" and "political principles"), but does often colloquially carry a negative connotation. The word has been used negatively for many years: the British national anthem as published in 1745 calls on God to "Confound their politics", and the phrase "play politics", for example, has been in use since at least 1853, when abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared: "We do not play politics; anti-slavery is no half-jest with us."
A variety of methods are deployed in politics, which include promoting one's own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising force, including warfare against adversaries.Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level. During the past decade two tendencies (1.Concern for theoretical explication and methodological rigor, and 2. The emphasis on field studies of the “emerging,” “new,” and “non-Western” nations) made it possible to overlook comparative politics.
A political system is a framework which defines acceptable political methods within a society. The history of political thought can be traced back to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato's Republic , Aristotle's Politics, the works of Confuciusand Arthashastra and Chanakya neeti by Chanakya in 3rd Century BCE.
The word comes from the same Greek word from which the title of Aristotle's book Politics (from Ancient Greek : Πολιτικά, romanized: Politiká or Polis, meaning "affairs of the cities"). The book title was rendered in Early Modern English in the mid-15th century as "Polettiques"; it became "politics" in Modern English. The singular politic first attested in English 1430 and comes from Middle French politique, in turn from Latin politicus, which is the Latinization of the Greek πολιτικός (politikos), meaning amongst others "of, for, or relating to citizens", "civil", "civic", "belonging to the state", in turn from πολίτης (polites), "citizen" and that from πόλις ( polis ), "city".
Formal politics refers to the operation of a constitutional system of government and publicly defined institutions and procedures.Political parties, public policy or discussions about war and foreign affairs would fall under the category of Formal Politics. Many people view formal politics as something outside of themselves, but that can still affect their daily lives.
Semi-formal politics is politics in government associations, such as neighborhood associations, or student governments where student government political party politics is often practiced. Student Union & Activities promotes student success by offering a variety of programs, activities, services, and facilities that, when taken together, represent a well-considered plan for the development of a school environment.
Informal politics is understood as forming alliances, exercising power and protecting and advancing particular ideas or goals. Generally, this includes anything affecting one's daily life, such as the way an office or household is managed, or how one person or group exercises influence over another.Informal Politics is typically understood as everyday politics, hence the idea that "politics is everywhere".
The history of politics is reflected in the origin, development, and economics of the institutions of government.
The origin of the state is to be found in the development of the art of warfare . Historically speaking, all political communities of the modern type owe their existence to successful warfare.
Kings, emperors and other types of monarchs in many countries including China and Japan, were considered divine. Of the institutions that ruled states, that of kingship stood at the forefront until the American Revolution put an end to the "divine right of kings".[ citation needed ] Nevertheless, the monarchy is among the longest-lasting political institutions, dating as early as 2100 BC in Sumeria to the 21st century AD British Monarchy. Kingship becomes an institution through the institution of hereditary monarchy.
The monarch often, even in absolute monarchies, ruled their kingdom with the aid of an elite group of advisors, a council without which they could not maintain power. As these advisors and others outside the monarchy negotiated for power, constitutional monarchies emerged, which may be considered the germ of constitutional government.
The greatest of the monarch's subordinates, the earls and dukes in England and Scotland, the dukes and counts in Continental Europe, always sat as a right on the council.[ citation needed ] . India during the reign of the Gupta empire followed a decentralized system in which great autonomy was given to the governors of the provinces. Ancient China on the other hand followed a feudal system. A conqueror wages war upon the vanquished for vengeance or for plunder but an established kingdom exacts tribute.[ citation needed ] One of the functions of the council is to keep the coffers of the monarch full. Another is the satisfaction of military service and the establishment of lordships by the king to satisfy the task of collecting taxes and soldiers.
There are many forms of political organization, including states, non-government organizations (NGOs) and international organizations such as the United Nations. States are perhaps the predominant institutional form of political governance, where a state is understood as an institution and a government is understood as the regime in power.
According to Aristotle, states are classified into monarchies, aristocracies, timocracies, democracies, oligarchies, and tyrannies. Due to changes across the history of politics, this classification has been abandoned.
All states are varieties of a single organizational form, the sovereign state. All the great powers of the modern world rule on the principle of sovereignty. Sovereign power may be vested on an individual as in an autocratic government or it may be vested on a group as in a constitutional government. Constitutions are written documents that specify and limit the powers of the different branches of government. Although a constitution is a written document, there is also an unwritten constitution. The unwritten constitution is continually being written by the legislative and judiciary branch of government; this is just one of those cases in which the nature of the circumstances determines the form of government that is most appropriate.England did set the fashion of written constitutions during the Civil War but after the Restoration abandoned them to be taken up later by the American Colonies after their emancipation and then France after the Revolution and the rest of Europe including the European colonies.
There are many forms of government. One form is a strong central government as in France and China. Another form is local government, such as the ancient divisions in England that are comparatively weaker but less bureaucratic. These two forms helped to shape the practice of federal government, first in Switzerland, then in the United States in 1776, in Canada in 1867 and in Germany in 1871 and in 1901, Australia. Federal states introduced the new principle of agreement or contract. Compared to a federation, a confederation has a more dispersed system of judicial power.In the American Civil War, the argument by the Confederate States that a State could secede from the Union was deemed unconstitutional by the supreme court.
According to professor A. V. Dicey in An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, the essential features of a federal constitution are: a) A written supreme constitution in order to prevent disputes between the jurisdictions of the Federal and State authorities; b) A distribution of power between the Federal and State governments and c) A Supreme Court vested with the power to interpret the Constitution and enforce the law of the land remaining independent of both the executive and legislative branches.
Global politics include different practices of political globalization in relation to questions of social power: from global patterns of governance to issues of globalizing conflict. The 20th century witnessed the outcome of two world wars and not only the rise and fall of the Third Reich but also the rise and relative fall of communism. The development of the atomic bomb gave the United States a more rapid end to its conflict in Japan in World War II. Later, the hydrogen bomb became the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.
Global politics also concerns the rise of global and international organizations. The United Nations has served as a forum for peace in a world threatened by nuclear war, "The invention of nuclear and space weapons has made war unacceptable as an instrument for achieving political ends." [ citation needed ]Although an all-out final nuclear holocaust is radically undesirable for man, "nuclear blackmail" comes into question not only on the issue of world peace but also on the issue of national sovereignty. On a Sunday in 1962, the world stood still at the brink of nuclear war during the October Cuban Missile Crisis from the implementation of U.S. vs Soviet Union nuclear blackmail policy.
After the Soviet Union collapsed in December of 1991 the world moved from being bi-polar to being uni-polar with United States firmly ahead. However this lead has been continuously shrinking in the 21st Century with the rapid economic growth of China threatening the current American hegemony. Other world powers such as India and a resurgent Russia are also threatening America's position as the leader of the world.
According to political science professor Paul James, global politics is affected by values: norms of human rights, ideas of human development, and beliefs such as cosmopolitanism about how we should relate to each:
Cosmopolitanism can be defined as a global politics that, firstly, projects a sociality of common political engagement among all human beings across the globe, and, secondly, suggests that this sociality should be either ethically or organizationally privileged over other forms of sociality.
William Pitt the Elder, speaking before the British House of Lords, 9 January 1770, observed: "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it."This was echoed more famously by John Dalberg-Acton over a century later: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties and/or power.The corruption in third World dictatorships is usually more blatant. For example, government cronies may be given exclusive right to make arbitrage profit by exploiting a fixed rate mechanism in government currency. In democracies corruption is often more indirect. Trade union leaders may be given priority in housing queues, giving them indirectly a worth of millions.
Forms of corruption vary, but include corruption, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. While corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise it may be legal but considered immoral.Worldwide, bribery alone is estimated to involve over 1 trillion US dollars annually. A state of unrestrained political corruption is known as a kleptocracy, literally meaning "rule by thieves".
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to attain and maintain political power within government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions. Parties often espouse an expressed ideology or vision bolstered by a written platform with specific goals, forming a coalition among disparate interests.
Political science, the study of politics, examines the acquisition and application of power.Political scientist Harold Lasswell defined politics as "who gets what, when, and how". Related areas of study include political philosophy, which seeks a rationale for politics and an ethic of public behaviour, as well as examining the preconditions for the formation of political communities; political economy, which attempts to develop understandings of the relationships between politics and the economy and the governance of the two; and public administration, which examines the practices of governance. The philosopher Charles Blattberg, who has defined politics as "responding to conflict with dialogue", offers an account which distinguishes political philosophies from political ideologies.
The first academic chair devoted to politics in the United States was the chair of history and political science at Columbia University, first occupied by Prussian émigré Francis Lieber in 1857.
Several different political spectra have been proposed.
Political analysts and politicians divide politics into left wing and right wing politics, often also using the idea of center politics as a middle path of policy between the right and left. This classification is comparatively recent (it was not used by Aristotle or Hobbes, for instance), and dates from the French Revolution era, when those members of the National Assembly who supported the republic, the common people and a secular society sat on the left and supporters of the monarchy, aristocratic privilege and the Church sat on the right.
The meanings behind the labels have become more complicated over the years. A particularly influential event was the publication of the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848. The Manifesto suggested a course of action for a proletarian revolution to overthrow the bourgeois society and abolish private property, in the belief that this would lead to a classless and stateless society. [ page needed ]
The meaning of left-wing and right-wing varies considerably between different countries and at different times, but generally speaking, it can be said that the right wing often values tradition and inequality while the left wing often values progress and egalitarianism, with the center seeking a balance between the two such as with social democracy, libertarianism or regulated capitalism.
According to Norberto Bobbio, one of the major exponents of this distinction, the Left believes in attempting to eradicate social inequality – believing it to be unethical or unnaturalwhile the Right regards most social inequality as the result of ineradicable natural inequalities, and sees attempts to enforce social equality as utopian or authoritarian. Some ideologies, notably Christian Democracy, claim to combine left and right wing politics; according to Geoffrey K. Roberts and Patricia Hogwood, "In terms of ideology, Christian Democracy has incorporated many of the views held by liberals, conservatives and socialists within a wider framework of moral and Christian principles." Movements which claim or formerly claimed to be above the left-right divide include Fascist Terza Posizione economic politics in Italy and Peronism in Argentina.
Authoritarianism and libertarianism refer to the amount of individual freedom each person possesses in that society relative to the state. One author describes authoritarian political systems as those where "individual rights and goals are subjugated to group goals, expectations and conformities",while libertarians generally oppose the state and hold the individual as sovereign. In their purest form, libertarians are anarchists , who argue for the total abolition of the state, of political parties and of other political entities, while the purest authoritarians are, by definition, totalitarians who support state control over all aspects of society.
For instance, classical liberalism (also known as laissez-faire liberalism,) is a doctrine stressing individual freedom and limited government. This includes the importance of human rationality, individual property rights, free markets, natural rights, the protection of civil liberties, constitutional limitation of government, and individual freedom from restraint as exemplified in the writings of John Locke, Adam Smith, David Hume, David Ricardo, Voltaire, Montesquieu and others. According to the libertarian Institute for Humane Studies, "the libertarian, or 'classical liberal,' perspective is that individual well-being, prosperity, and social harmony are fostered by 'as much liberty as possible' and 'as little government as necessary.'" For anarchist political philosopher L. Susan Brown "Liberalism and anarchism are two political philosophies that are fundamentally concerned with individual freedom yet differ from one another in very distinct ways. Anarchism shares with liberalism a radical commitment to individual freedom while rejecting liberalism's competitive property relations."
The critics of political spectrum criticize the uni dimensional and bi-dimensional nature of it. They also point towards it's inability to incorporate other cultures. This rigidity leads to bizarre results. An example of this would be the fact that both fascist Adolf Hitler and libertarian Milton Friedman are on the “far right,” yet Hitler advocated nationalism, socialism, militarism, authoritarianism, and anti-Semitism, while Milton Friedman advocated internationalism, capitalism, pacifism, civil liberties, and was himself a Jew. Another critic of political spectrum is it's tendency to promote tribalism by needlessly sorting people into different groups.
There are also many alternatives to political spectrum and political compass. The popular among these being the ideological triangle i.e a way of organizing political ideology using the values of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The location of a political ideology on the triangle is a function of its preference for the three values. As one moves closer to the bottom corner, the preference for liberty increases. As one moves closer to the upper left-hand corner, the preference for equality increases. And as one moves closer to the upper right-hand corner, the preference for fraternity increases and political horseshoe i.e the horseshoe theory asserts that the far-left and the far-right, rather than being at opposite and opposing ends of a linear political continuum, closely resemble one another, analogous to the way that the opposite ends of a horseshoe are close together.
The origin of the State, or Political Society, is to be found in the development of the art of military warfare.
...the rationale of traditional patterns of world politics.
...using 'nuclear blackmail' as a threat to intimidate other countries.
Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
...a chair at Columbia in 1857 as professor of history and political science, the very first of its kind in America.
The politics of Canada function within a framework of parliamentary democracy and a federal system of parliamentary government with strong democratic traditions. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, in which the monarch is head of state. In practice, the executive powers are directed by the Cabinet, a committee of ministers of the Crown responsible to the elected House of Commons of Canada and chosen and headed by the Prime Minister of Canada.
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, organic society, hierarchy, authority, and property rights. Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as religion, parliamentary government, and property rights, with the aim of emphasizing social stability and continuity. The more traditional elements—reactionaries—oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were".
The Communist Party of China (CPC) is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China (PRC). The CPC is the sole governing party within mainland China, permitting only eight other, subordinated parties to co-exist, those making up the United Front. It was founded in 1921, chiefly by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The party grew quickly, and by 1949 it had driven the Kuomintang (KMT)'s nationalist government from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, leading to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It also controls the world's largest armed forces, the People's Liberation Army.
A dictatorship is an authoritarian form of government, characterized by a single leader or group of leaders and little or no toleration for political pluralism or independent programs or media. According to other definitions, democracies are regimes in which "those who govern are selected through contested elections"; therefore dictatorships are "not democracies". With the advent of the 19th and 20th centuries, dictatorships and constitutional democracies emerged as the world's two major forms of government, gradually eliminating monarchies, one of the traditional widespread forms of government of the time. Typically, in a dictatorial regime, the leader of the country is identified with the title of dictator, although their formal title may more closely resemble something similar to "leader". A common aspect that characterized dictatorship is taking advantage of their strong personality, usually by suppressing freedom of thought and speech of the masses, in order to maintain complete political and social supremacy and stability. Dictatorships and totalitarian societies generally employ political propaganda to decrease the influence of proponents of alternative governing systems.
A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, often a state.
Socialism is a political, social and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers' self-management of enterprise, including the political theories and movements associated with such systems. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.
Right-wing politics holds the view that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically supporting this position on the basis of natural law, economics, or tradition. Hierarchy and inequality may be viewed as natural results of traditional social differences or the competition in market economies. The term right-wing can generally refer to "the conservative or reactionary section of a political party or system".
The left–right political spectrum is a system of classifying political positions, ideologies and parties, from equality on the left to social hierarchy on the right. Left-wing politics and right-wing politics are often presented as opposed, although a particular individual or group may take a left-wing stance on one matter and a right-wing stance on another; and some stances may overlap and be considered either left- or right-wing depending on the ideology. In France, where the terms originated, the Left has been called "the party of movement" and the Right "the party of order". The intermediate stance is called centrism and a person with such a position is a moderate or centrist.
The Government of Canada, officially Her Majesty's Government, is the corporation responsible for the federal administration of Canada. In Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council. In both senses, the current construct was established at Confederation through the Constitution Act, 1867—as a federal constitutional monarchy, wherein the Canadian Crown acts as the core, or "the most basic building block", of its Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. The Crown is thus the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Canadian government. Further elements of governance are outlined in the rest of the Canadian Constitution, which includes written statutes, court rulings, and unwritten conventions developed over centuries.
Big tent or catch-all party is used in reference to a political party's policy of permitting or encouraging a broad spectrum of views among its members. This is in contrast to other parties that defend a determined ideology and seek voters who adhere to that ideology and convince people towards it.
Conservatism in the United States is a political and social philosophy characterized by respect for American traditions, republicanism, support for Christian values, moral universalism, pro-business and anti-labor union, anti-communism, individualism, advocacy of American exceptionalism, and a defense of Western culture from the perceived threats posed by socialism, authoritarianism, and moral relativism.
Left-libertarianism, also known as egalitarian libertarianism, left-wing libertarianism or social libertarianism, is a political philosophy and type of libertarianism that stresses both individual freedom and social equality. As a term, "left-libertarianism" refers to several related yet distinct approaches to political and social theory. In its classical usage, it refers to anti-authoritarian varieties of left-wing politics such as anarchism, especially social anarchism, whose adherents simply called "libertarian". In the United States, it refers to the left-wing of the libertarian movement and the political positions associated with academic philosophers Hillel Steiner, Philippe Van Parijs and Peter Vallentyne that combine self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to natural resources. This is done to distinguish libertarian views on the nature of property and capital, usually along left–right or socialist–capitalist lines.
Libertarianism, or libertarism, is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgement. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing economic and political systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions. Different categorizations have been used to distinguish various forms of libertarianism. This is done to distinguish libertarian views on the nature of property and capital, usually along left–right or socialist–capitalist lines.
Libertarianism in the United States is a political philosophy and movement promoting individual liberty. According to common meanings of conservatism and liberalism in the United States, libertarianism has been described as conservative on economic issues and liberal on personal freedom, often associated with a foreign policy of non-interventionism. There are broadly two principal traditions within libertarianism, namely the libertarianism developed by anarcho-capitalist author Murray Rothbard, who based it off out of 19th-century libertarianism and American individualist anarchists such as Benjamin Tucker and Lysander Spooner while rejecting their labor theory of value in favor of Austrian School economics and the subjective theory of value; and the libertarianism that developed as a revival of classical liberalism in the United States after liberalism became associated with the New Deal, including politicians such as David Nolan and Ron Paul.
Right-libertarianism, also known as libertarian capitalism or right-wing libertarianism, is a political philosophy and type of libertarianism that strongly supports capitalist property rights and defends market distribution of natural resources and private property. Like most forms of libertarianism, it tends to support civil liberties, but also natural law, negative rights and a major reversal of the modern welfare state. Right-libertarianism is contrasted with left-libertarianism, a type of libertarianism that combines self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to natural resources. In contrast to socialist libertarianism, it tends to support free-market capitalism. Like libertarians of all varieties, right-libertarians refer to themselves simply as "libertarians". This is done to distinguish libertarian views on the nature of property and capital, usually along left–right or socialist–capitalist lines.
Liberal democracy is a liberal political ideology and a form of government in which representative democracy operates under the principles of classical liberalism. Also referred to as Western democracy, it is characterised by elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, a market economy with private property and the equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties and political freedoms for all people. To define the system in practice, liberal democracies often draw upon a constitution, either codified,, or uncodified, to delineate the powers of government and enshrine the social contract. After a period of sustained expansion throughout the 20th century, liberal democracy became the predominant political system in the world.
Libertarian conservatism, also known as conservative libertarianism or conservatarianism, is a political philosophy that combines conservatism with libertarianism, or simply representing the conservative wing of libertarianism. Libertarian conservatism advocates the greatest possible economic liberty and the least possible government regulation of social life, mirroring laissez-faire classical liberalism, but it harnesses this to a belief in a more social conservative philosophy emphasizing authority and duty.
Democratic socialism is a political philosophy supporting political democracy within a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on workers' self-management and democratic control of economic institutions within a market socialist economy or some form of a decentralised planned socialist economy. Democratic socialists argue that capitalism is inherently incompatible with the values of freedom, equality and solidarity and that these ideals can only be achieved through the realisation of a socialist society. Although most democratic socialists seek a gradual transition to socialism, democratic socialism can support either revolutionary or reformist politics as means to establish socialism. As a term, it was popularised by social democrats who were opposed to the authoritarian socialist development in Russia and elsewhere during the 20th century.
Conservatism in Russia is a broad system of political beliefs in Russia that is characterised by support for Christian values, Russian imperialism, statism, anti-communism, economic intervention, advocacy for the historical Russian sphere of influence and a rejection of Western culture, economic liberalism and modernism.