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The practices of guiding, influencing or controlling government

Politics (from Greek: πολιτικά, translit. Politiká, meaning "affairs of the cities") is the process of making decisions that apply to members of a group. It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state.

Notable Topics

  • Conservatism - Political philosophy that emphasizes respect for traditional institutions
  • Political Parties - Groups of individuals that organize to gain control of governments at a national or other level, usually by election of candidates for government offices
  • Political philosopy - Branch of philosophy that studies the nature of social organization and the proper functions of government
  • Politicians - People who hold or are running for a political office
  • Spoils System - The practice by a winning party of awarding government jobs to its members
  • Voting - Selecting those who will govern by casting ballots


The Abstract Concept of Human Liberty, by Robert LeFevre, The Freeman, Dec 1982
Discusses how people may be interested in other people, in events or in material things but only a few are interested in ideas, and how each group of people tends to view liberty from those perspectives
What is the status of those interested in events within a freedom context? These are the lovers of excitement and their natural arena is politics. Their concept of abstractions is often limited to Machiavellian maneuvering and back door diplomacy. Those concerned with events are most likely to decry the merit of any principle. "Promise them anything, but win," seems to be the universal clamor. And, having won, what then? Why, then they must keep on winning. [They] are interested in power. And once power is obtained, it must be forever kept and always enlarged and extended.
Airbrushing Barbarity, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 5 Jul 2013
Demonstrates how politicians and pundits twist the meaning of terms to support their desired ends while concealing their true purposes
Politics is inherently value-laden ... Yet discussions of political methods are usually not expressed in value-laden language ... Think of common political terms and how they obfuscate: Social Security, national security, border security, zoning, licensing, intellectual property, deficit spending, quantitative easing, civil forfeiture, civil commitment, taxation, subsidy, free elections, public schooling, farm policy, foreign policy, free coverage, drug war, and many more. All entail forcing individuals to do or not do something against their wishes. These euphemisms are intended to diminish our awareness of that truth.
Albert Jay Nock, Forgotten Man of the Right, by Jeffrey Tucker, 22 Aug 2002
Lengthy biographical essay, with a selection of quotes from Nock's Memoirs of a Superfluous Man (1943)
[I]t is hardly surprising that [Nock] had nothing but contempt for politics ...:
"My first impression of politics was unfavorable; and my disfavor was heightened by subsequently noticing that the people around me always spoke of politics and politicians in a tone of contempt ... If all I had casually seen ... was of the essence of politics, if it was part and parcel of carrying on the country's government, then obviously a decent person could find no place in politics, not even the place of a ordinary voter, for the forces of ignorance, brutality and indecency would outnumber him ten to one."
Another Meaning To September 11th, by Butler Shaffer, 19 Sep 2001
Reflects on the attacks of 11 Sep 2001, arguing against top-down poltical systems and in favor of "decentralized, spontaneous systems" such as the marketplace and emphasizing the need for individual responsiblity
We have organized ourselves into rigidly-defined categories based upon race, ethnicity, nationality, ideology, religion, economic interests, geography, and countless other identities ... Politics mobilizes such identities, promising each of these groups the coercive backing of the state to advance their interests. Political systems operate upon a vertical, top-down model of decision-making ... Those in authority are presumed to have a superior wisdom ... In recent years, however, there has been a growing awareness of the fallacy of such a premise ...
Bad Partisanship Drives Out Good, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 30 Nov 2007
Differentiates between superficial and profound partisanship (loyalty to a party vs. to a set of principles) and discusses the goals of the group Unity08 that during the 2008 U.S. presidential elections was seeking candidates that could "reunite America"
People routinely bemoan excessive political partisanship in America ... A lot can be chalked up to the Myth of the Golden Age ... I've read enough history to doubt that politics was really less partisan than it is today. Chris Matthews of MSNBC may believe that veritable demigods walked the halls of power in the 1950s and '60s, but I have some memory of that time and I am skeptical. (On a commercial promoting his program, Hardball, Matthews actually says that the problem with politics today is that the candidates really want to win. Did they not care about that a few decades ago?)
Barack Obama: Corporatist, by Sheldon Richman, 17 Apr 2012
Reviews Obama's corporate-friendly actions, particularly regarding donors and lobbyists and towards banks like Bank of America, while saying that government needs to be "responsive to the needs of people, not the needs of special interests"
The visit of a big political contributor and an industry lobbyist to the White House may not normally raise eyebrows, but this is the Obama White House. The Times notes, "Although Mr. Obama has made a point of not accepting contributions from registered lobbyists, ... special interests have had little trouble making themselves heard. ...[T]he regular appearance of big donors inside the White House underscores how political contributions continue to lubricate many of the interactions between officials and their guests, if for no other reason than that donors view the money as useful for getting a foot in the door."
Related Topics: Banking, Corporatism, Barack Obama
Begrudging Another Battle of Ballot-Boxing, by Kenneth R. Gregg, 23 Nov 2006
Explains how those seeking power through politics are led to compromise, even if they are members of a group espousing principles over expediency, and urges others not to ballot-box but instead vote in the marketplace and the social realm
I came to the realization that corruption was inherent in the political process ... In politics, your vote publicly acknowledges that the question at issue can be rightfully decided by majority vote, and you tacitly agree to the consequences, whatever they may be. If you participate in voting for prohibition of marijuana, or for an immoral war, you have acknowledged the justice of the decision-process as well as the outcome. It may have been one vote short of unanimity or one less than a majority, it's your acceptance of the process which provides it with legitimacy.
Black-Market Activism: Samuel Edward Konkin III and Agorism, by David S. D'Amato, 25 Apr 2015
Overview of Konkin's life and his two main contributions: agorism and the counter-economy
Agorists believe that by becoming politically engaged, running candidates and attempting to reform governmental structures and lawmaking, libertarians fall into the trap of politics — the delusion that if we only elect the right person or pass the right law, we can attain freedom. For agorists, the processes and institutions of politics are inherently and unchangeably corrupt and coercive. Konkin thus maintained that it was impossible to accomplish 'libertarian ends through statist means, especially political parties.'
The Bridge of Asses, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 2 Oct 2003
Argues that minimum wage legislation is "the pons asinorum of the relationship between economics and politics", explaining that labor prices (wages) are no different from other prices in the marketplace
The debate over minimum wage laws goes to the very core of how we view the relationship between economics and politics. Politicians who enact these laws imagine themselves as central planners magically bringing compassion and high living standards into being with the stroke of a pen. People who support the laws have a flawed view of the market process that sees exploitation behind all exchange relationships. Unions that back them are selfishly using the political process to enrich themselves at others' expense.
Buchanan, James M. (1919-2013), by Peter T. Leeson, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
The Calculus of Consent ... opened up the theory of public choice, still in its infancy, and refocused the profession's attention on a realistic versus a romantic conception of politics. Against the prevailing tendency in political economy, Buchanan and Tullock argued that private costs and benefits guide individuals' decision making in politics just as they do in markets. Simply moving from the private sphere to the public does not transform interests from those that are self-concerned to those that are devoted to the public good. Depicting politicians as benevolent despots is therefore foolhardy.
Related Topics: James M. Buchanan, Government
The Case For a Libertarian Political Party, by David Nolan, The Individualist, Aug 1971
A few months before founding the Libertarian Party, Nolan presents his rationale for establishing a new political party, after discussing four other libertarian activist strategies and admitting that "political approaches are inherently coercive"
The fact nonetheless remains that all [approaches] (except the "infiltrative" strategy) also largely ignore a central fact that one of the major determinants (if not THE major determinant) of the course of events in this country is the political process. Now, one may argue that politics is an "immoral" game, that political approaches are inherently coercive, that one cannot achieve pure ends by impure means, and so forth. But the fact nonetheless remains that we live in a society whose shape is largely determined by political processes, our chances of achieving our goals are not great.
The Death of Politics, by Karl Hess, Playboy, Mar 1969
Discusses libertarianism, contrasting it with both conservatism and modern liberalism, including specific policy differences
This is not a time of radical, revolutionary politics. Not yet. Unrest, riot, dissent and chaos notwithstanding, today's politics is reactionary. Both left and right are reactionary and authoritarian ... The most vital question today ... may be ... : Will men continue to submit to rule by politics, which has always meant the power of some men over other men, or are we ready to go it alone socially, in communities of voluntarism, in a world more economic and cultural than political, just as so many now are prepared to go it alone metaphysically in a world more of reason than religion?
The Death of Politics?, by Ed Crane, Cato Policy Report, Nov 1994
Explores trends in politics in the U.S. and other countries, particularly those that show voters are unwilling to support the political status quo
Voters in nations around the globe are turning out long-established parties in favor of political forces offering more open societies with less burdensome governments. ... In the United States intense disenchantment with government manifested itself in the 20 million votes that Ross Perot garnered in 1992. ... The term limitation movement is a powerful result of the pent-up voter energy that the FECA has created. It is, in effect, circumventing the traditional paths to political change, and the change it promises to bring about is going to be much more than cosmetic.
Related Topic: Karl Hess
Entrepreneurship and Social Progress, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Mises Daily, 20 Dec 2006
Discusses the two usage senses of entrepreneurship, the attributes of an entrepreneur in the "more narrow and heroic sense" and contrasts politicians with entrepreneurs
Who are [kids] told is responsible for making the world a better place to live? Almost always, politicians are heralded, people whose work mostly consists in erecting barriers to human progress, and otherwise shuffling around private wealth by force ... The politician may claim to have ideals, but they mostly serve as a mask for the desire to exercise power. If you doubt it, look no further than programs such as Social Security and the Iraq War. They continue long after they have obviously failed, because they serve the interests of the politically powerful.
The Essence of Government, by Doug Casey, 26 Oct 2001
Examines the questions "What is the essence of government?" and "Are governments necessary?", comparing mobs, organized groups and governments
A person's attitude about government offers an excellent insight into their character. Political beliefs reflect how a person thinks men should relate to one another; they offer a practical insight into how he views humanity at large and himself in particular ... There’s no cosmic imperative for different people to rise up against one another–unless they're organized into political groups ... politics does not deal with people as individuals. It scoops them up into parties and nations. And some group inevitably winds up using the power of the state ... to impose its values and wishes on others ...
Related Topics: Government, Law, Middle East
Felix Morley: The Journalist Philosopher, by Oscar B. Johannsen, Fragments, 1985
Biographical essay based on Morley's autobiography For the Record, contrasting the Brontë sisters with the Morley brothers (Christopher, Felix and Frank) but focusing on Felix
The complexities of modern life are simply too great to admit the blundering controls of mere man acting as a politician. In the political field, the most he might be able to do as far as politics is concerned would be at the lowest possible level—something on the order of the New England townships. Even here, with the exception of ad hoc measures which might be necessary from time to time, the extent of political action would be limited to the leasing of land in the community and the distribution of economic rent thus obtained among the area's inhabitants.
Related Topics: Felix Morley, The State, Technology
Hope for the Politically Homeless, by Marshall Fritz, The Fresno Bee, 4 Sep 1988
Introduces David Nolan's Chart which Fritz turned into a Diamond Chart, and Fritz's (original) World's Smallest Political Quiz to help people place themselves within the Chart
Howard Fineman ... condemns "brand-name confusion" and says the "liberal-conservative labels are meaningless." Jon Carriel, amateur political scientist, asks the question, "If Stalin is on the left, and Mussolini on the right, whom do you feel closer to?" The overwhelming response, he reports, is "neither one." Kevin Phillips ... calls the liberal-conservative dichotomy obsolete because it fails to describe the nuances and divisions of U.S. politics ... [H]e calls for an overhaul of our political nomenclature, and recommends a book by two professors ... William Maddox and Stuart Lilie, "Beyond Liberal and Conservative" ...
Related Topics: Libertarianism, David Nolan
How We Privatized Social Security in Chile, by José Piñera, The Freeman, Jul 1997
Explains how the Chilean private pension system works and how the previous government-controlled system was transformed into the current one (the author was the Secretary of Labor and Social Security under Pinochet and designed the new system)
The Chilean Constitution protects pension savings accounts from government expropriation, because we know that whenever politicians see a huge amount of money accumulated, they become greedy. Taking politics out of the pension system means that pressure groups can't lobby legislators to siphon a worker's money for somebody else ... [T]he government-run Chilean system paid out often meager benefits which weren't related to individual effort and contributions ... Moreover, politics had resulted in special privileges concerning when people could collect from their government-run pension.
Imperial Hopefuls, by Sheldon Richman, 22 Feb 2007
Reflects on the intial stages of the 2008 United States presidential campaign, likening it to show biz and suggesting the candidates are running for the job of emperor
Politics, and presidential politics most especially, is little more than theater. The candidate who can create the right mood and evoke the right feelings in voters has a shot at winning. But a man's or woman's prowess in creating an atmosphere on the campaign trail (who really creates it, the candidate or the consultants?) says nothing about that person's capacity to think seriously, to understand history and moral philosophy, or to run a large organization. A talented campaigner can appear to have these capacities, but successful campaigning is about creating appearances.
Related Topics: Imperialism, Television Shows, War
Imperium in Imperio, by Frank Chodorov, analysis, Jun 1950
Examines the theory of government espoused by James Madison, how property rights have regressed since then, and arguing that a States' Rights movement (meaning decentralization and local autonomy) should be focused on protecting property rights
The business of the politician is not to improve upon the intelligence and conscience of his times, but rather to take what he finds and write and enforce the rules of the game accordingly ... Even where the politician presumably abolishes all special privilege, as in totalitarian regimes, he simply makes of himself the sole beneficiary of all special privilege. The moralist's passion for a society free of special privilege will be satisfied, if it ever is, by some mutation in the nature or intelligence of man; it will never come by way of politics.
The Importance of Tools, by Karl Hess, Freedom Daily, Apr 1993
Contrasts scientific and technological discoveries or inventions with political events throughout the history of humankind
In about 1000 A.D., Venice consolidated its empire in the Adriatic. Ho hum — just more empire building made lofty with some new political rhetoric. ... In the 1660s, there were at least 50 major treaties and wars. Politics was sweeping the earth. ... The United States government announced the Monroe Doctrine in 1823. ... The government gave us the seeds for foreign intervention. ... In 1903, Lenin and Trotsky formed the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party. ... Through their endless quest for more power over the lives of more people, politicians historically have obstructed the progress of humanity.
Related Topic: Technology
James M. Buchanan and the Rebirth of Political Economy, by Peter J. Boettke, Economics and its Discontents, 1998
Examines Buchanan's contributions in bursting the "romantic vision of political science," advancing subjectivism as a challenge to modern economics formalism and re-integrating moral philosophy into economics
Many of the major insights of modern political economy flow from these three elementary propositions, including the vote motive; the logic of dispersed costs and concentrated benefits; the shortsightedness bias in policy; and the constitutional perspective in policy evaluation. Politics must be endogenous in any reasonable model of economic policy making, and realistic political processes is not something to be romanticized. But the intellectual spirit of the age (the 1950s and early 1960s) was one of overly zealous optimism about the beneficial nature of politics.
Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty, by Murray N. Rothbard, Left and Right, 1965
Inaugural issue essay, reviewing the history of left- and right-wing politics, the short- and long-run optimistic and pessimistic views of various factions and what it may portend for the future of libertarianism
Soon there developed in Western Europe two great political ideologies, centered around this new revolutionary phenomenon: one was Liberalism, the party of hope, of radicalism, of liberty, of the Industrial Revolution, of progress, of humanity; the other was Conservatism, the party of reaction, the party that longed to restore the hierarchy, statism, theocracy, serfdom, and class exploitation of the Old Order. ... Political ideologies were polarized, with Liberalism on the extreme 'Left', and Conservatism on the extreme 'Right', of the ideological spectrum.
Loving Ambiguity, by Charley Reese, 19 Feb 2007
I have two phrases that I bet you can't define off the top of your head. They are 'national security' and 'national interests.' Politicians love these phrases precisely because they are both ambiguous and iconic almost in a religious sense. Who, after all, would wish to do anything to harm national security or fail to do what was necessary for our national interests?
Machiavelli and U.S. Politics, Part 1: Pattern and Perception, by Lawrence M. Ludlow, 15 Aug 2005
This holds true for advice about when and how to deceive people, how to take advantage of religious beliefs, how to betray a trust, how to play off one group against another, how to determine when one should spend money liberally and when the purse strings should be pulled tight, when to instill fear, and when to be merciful.
Machiavelli and U.S. Politics, Part 2: Ethics and Creating the Facts, by Lawrence M. Ludlow, 17 Aug 2005
The lie was the 'constructed' reality ... that war against Iraq was justified by the threat of a smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. The hypocrisy was that the United States, not Iraq, posed a significant threat to world peace — possessing more WMDs than the rest of the world combined.
Machiavelli and U.S. Politics, Part 3: Lies and Appearances, by Lawrence M. Ludlow, 19 Aug 2005
Continues examination of Machiavelli's teachings and comparison to recent U.S. presidential promises and actions
... Machiavelli's appraisal of the 'true believers' and sycophants who surround every power-hungry politician ... must include the following groups: citizens who believe governments can keep them safe from terrorists by stirring up hatred with interventionist foreign policies; ... and, of course, soldiers who believe they are 'fighting for freedom' as they destroy cities, dismiss innocent victims as 'collateral damage,' and bankrupt their own country for a disgraceful bunch of politicians playing a bloody game of global hegemony with other people's lives and treasure.
Machiavelli and U.S. Politics, Part 5: War Crimes and Atrocities, by Lawrence M. Ludlow, 24 Aug 2005
In both wars of aggression just cited ... Neither politicians nor soldiers were acting on the conviction that liberty and free enterprise ultimately triumph over communism and tyranny. Instead, they acted on the shameful presumption that freedom requires the mass murder of people who pose absolutely no threat ...
Related Topics: Vietnam, World War II
"Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss", by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 11 Jan 2008
Examines politics, including slogans such as "hope", "change" (Barack Obama) and "straight talk" (John McCain) in the 2008 United States presidential campaigns, and explains why politicians cannot be expected to lead the way to liberty
Politics is a poor forum for serious discussion of political philosophy and economics ... Politics is more like show-biz—specifically, melodrama and soap opera—than anything else. And people behave differently in the political realm than they do in the marketplace ... Let's face it, politics is a superficial activity in which (most) candidates try to create a mood by pushing buttons expected to stimulate positive responses in significant constituencies. If one button doesn't have the intended effect, you push another and keep pushing until you have assembled a winning coalition. That's all you need to know about electoral politics.
Memoirs of a Simple Honorable Man, by Charles H. Hamilton, The Freeman, Nov 1992
Biographical and bibliographical essay on John Chamberlain, discussing some of the book reviews Chamberlain made earlier, republished in The Turnabout Years: America's Cultural Life, 1900-1950 (1991)
John's own writing about the 1920s has given a different interpretation of that often maligned period ... "Americans, in the twenties, believed that man could be a creative agent by his own free decision. ... He did not have to wait upon permission from a government ..." ... [H]e recalls the essentially anti-political feeling of the time that was so refreshing: "politics is the least satisfying, the least rewarding, of human preoccupations. The more we intensify our political activities, the less time we have to spend on personal development, or the arts, or creativity in general."
Related Topics: John Chamberlain, The Freeman
Morals and the Welfare State, by F. A. Harper, 1951
Examines five moral principles by which the idea of the Welfare State (described in more detail in an appendix) can be judged; extension of talk given 13 June 1951; later published as "Morals and Liberty" (see The Freeman, Sep 1971)
What else dominates the newspaper space ...? It is mostly about the problems of political power; about those who have power or are grasping for power, diluted with a little about those who are fighting against power. Lord Acton said: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." This dictum seems to be true, as history has proved and is proving over and over again. So we can then translate it into a description of much of the news of the day: News is heavily loaded with items about persons who, as Lord Acton said, are either corrupt or are in the process of becoming more corrupt.
Page Scandal: Political Corruption Precedes Sexual Corruption, by Sheldon Richman, 25 Oct 2006
Comments on the U.S. Congress page program, recommending its immediate abolition, and the scandal involving Mark Foley
If [young people] are going to have a role model, shouldn't it be someone who at least makes an honest living? ... As the Post commented, "Most of all, his [Foley's] interest in the boys coincided with the ambitions of many of the teenagers, who craved contact with members in hopes of fostering political careers of their own." Political careers of their own! See what I mean? Their susceptibility to sexual corruption by pathetic, lonely, middle-aged male politicians is made possible by their political corruption. Who is teaching them that power is romantic?
Related Topics: Government, Individual Liberty
A Passion for Life, by Butler Shaffer, 1 Nov 2003
Discusses how political systems break the human spirit, how to live well one must live with passion, reflecting on the events of the Enlightment and the Industrial Revolution as inspiration and why personal liberty, not just economic freedom, is necessary
Political systems do far more than diminish the material quality of our lives or deprive us of our liberties. To the degree of their power over us, they help to deplete the passion for living that gives meaning to our experiences here on earth. One sees a reflection of this inner emptiness ... in the looks of detachment in the eyes of concentration camp prisoners ... One would think that being freed from months or years of dehumanized captivity would have brought looks of joy into their faces. Instead, we saw expressions of the deeper costs of tyranny ...: the breaking of the human spirit.
Related Topics: Children, Life, George Orwell
Piercing through Myths, Lies, and Stupidity, by George Leef, Freedom Daily, Aug 2006
Review of Stossel's Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity (2006)
[The] core of [Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity] is about the false beliefs people hold regarding politics. Everywhere he looks—government schooling, regulations, environmental scare-mongering, subsidies, and so forth—Stossel sees that ordinary people have been fed a diet of baloney to cover up the fact that some people use politics to take life, liberty, and property from other people ... Politicians love to parade around as great benefactors of the people, but Stossel wants his readers to understand that most politicians are just "busybodies who want to force their preferences on us."
The Political Hoax Exposed, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 10 Sep 2006
Compares the positions of the Democrat and Republican candidates for governor of Alabama regarding increasing the minimum wage, to demonstrate their lack of understanding of economics
Politicians ... affect a know-it-all posture and carry a bag of solutions to every problem, natural, human, and divine. They work to perfect the ability to fob off their solutions as sound reasoning even when they are snake oil or sheer poison. Still, one can only marvel at how successful they are at bamboozling the population. Every once in a while, however, their cover is exposed and the truth comes out. ... These birds cannot bring prosperity to the state. They cannot help workers with their dangerous legislation. ... The only great regret to feel is that we have to be ruled by either of them.
Related Topics: Alabama, Minimum Wage Laws
Swift Boat Censorship, by Anthony Gregory, 8 Sep 2004
Examines the Bush-Kerry controversy over Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads and Bush's advocacy of campaign finance reform to censor political ads
With all of these advantages that incumbent politicians and the two major parties wield over concerned citizens outside the political process, campaign-finance reform is no more and no less than censorship of ideas and messages from those without influence in the system. The corruption in politics is caused by much more than campaign donations, and the same politicians who are easily corrupted by outside money cannot be expected to pass any laws that would disrupt the racket they have going. Put simply, campaign-finance restrictions do not threaten the power of the ruling class; they limit the voice of the people.
Taxation Is Robbery, by Frank Chodorov, Out of Step, 1962
Chapter XXII, previously published in 1947 as a Human Events pamphlet; starting with the historical origins of taxation, proceeds to examine its indirect and direct forms and the rationales behind it
When the general economy falls, the inclination of a people ... is to turn to any medicine man who promises relief. The politician serves willingly in this capacity ... Obscured from public view are the enterprises of political power at the bottom of the economic malady, such as monopoly privileges, wars and taxation itself ... [T]he area of political power has gradually encroached upon more and more social activities ... The current philosophy is tending toward the identification of politics with society, the eradication of the individual as the essential unit ...
Trivial Dispute: Obama versus the Interventionists, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 30 May 2014
Examines Barack Obama's speech at the 2014 West Point graduation and points out the scant differences between him and those advocating military intervention, in arguments for continued U.S. meddling in other countries' affairs
American politics is largely a series of debates over unimportant details. These debates are conducted far above the fundamental level because the supposed contenders share the same premises. Where they disagree is at the level of application, and so the disagreements end up being fairly minor, especially if you think the premises are wrong. This is an especially pronounced feature of what passes for foreign-policy debate within the accepted range of opinion ... In the trivial dispute between Obama and his interventionist opponents, there's a distinction without a crucial difference: multilateralism versus unilateralism.
The "Value" of Public Schooling, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Nov 2006
Examines public schooling, first comparing it to military boot camp and the draft, then discussing indoctrination in "officially approved" ideas via approved textbooks, and imagining a teacher going against the established doctrines
A student would return home and report to his parents what the teacher was saying. A major political crisis would quickly erupt. His parents would call a member of the school board, which consists of elected officials, and complain. The school board, scared of the political consequences, would contact the principal, who would have a talk with the teacher. If the teacher refused to back down, the school board would call a public meeting, where the teacher would be given the opportunity to state his case .... Given the nature of politics, voter sentiment would play an important role in the school board's ultimate decision.
The Voting Ritual, by Butler Shaffer, 24 Oct 2006
Reflects on the U.S. Election Day in 2006 as the 42nd anniversary of Shaffer's "non-participiation in the voting process"
It is easy to understand this sense of frustration on the part of people who may be on the verge of discovering that politics – not the candidates – is the problem to be overcome. They have endured decades of 'throw the rascals out!' that only provided them another gang of rascals to evict from office in the next election. The fraudulent Ronald Reagan – with his promise to 'get the government off your backs!' – generated massive increases in the size, power, and expense of the state. Newt Gingrich's 'contract with America' quickly revealed itself as but another 'contract on America' ...
Related Topics: Ron Paul, Voting
Why I Do Not Vote, by Butler Shaffer, 14 Nov 2000
After recollecting his early involvement in the Goldwater movement, Shaffer explains why advocates of liberty and social order should refrain from political participation and voting
The illusion of a short-term reduction in the rate of increase of state power clouds the longer-term consequences inherent in political participation. Political systems derive their power not from guns and prisons, but from the willingness of those who are to be ruled to expend their energies on their behalf. For state power to exist, a significant number of men and women must sanction the idea of being ruled by others, a sanction that depends, ultimately, upon the credibility of those who exercise such power. When we vote ... we are declaring, by our actions, our support for the process of some people ruling others by coercive means.
Related Topics: Barry Goldwater, Voting
Why is Medical Care so Expensive?, by Hans Sennholz, Mises Daily, 22 Aug 2006
Discusses various explanations given for the explosion in medical expenses and then focuses on some of the more likely culprits behind the increased costs
Medicare and Medicaid are political handiwork forged by legislators and regulators, fashioned by politicians who recast it in every national election. It is a very popular political issue passed and argued about without ever being settled. Politicians representing the beneficiaries are demanding ever more outlays, others ... are opposing the charges ... Politics is likely to shape the future of medical care as far as the eye can see. It builds upon popular political ideas, on old habits and predispositions, even resentment and envy. It inflicts pain without end.
Related Topics: Health Care, Taxation, Technology
Would-Be Rulers without Clothes, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, May 2008
Examines Hillary Clinton's assertion, in a debate with Barack Obama, about "wanting" a universal health care plan and dismissing the option of voluntary medical insurance
[Clinton] wants something ("universal health care"), therefore people should be forced to give it to her ... If you and I claimed something like this in private life [and] we took steps to accomplish it, we'd be arrested for theft or extortion ... But when a politician advocates forcing people to go along with his grand plans, the normal rules are suspended and different rules take their place. In the political world, people who have never bothered anyone may be coerced into participating in a politician's scheme for no reason other than that the scheme allegedly won't work if there isn't universal participation.
The Yin Yang of Value Creation and Value Capture, by Bill Frezza, 18 May 2009
Contrasts collectivist vs. laissez-faire ideologues and their views on the relationship between value creation and capture
Why are most people happy to talk past each other as they loyally defend their political tribe, grasping for their turn at the whip hand while refusing to acknowledge that the other side may have a point? Skillful politicians use this tribal fealty and lack of intellectual integrity to play us off against each other, warping the interpretation of both current events and the lessons of the past as it suits their reelection needs. Meanwhile, attempts to achieve a just and sustainable balance between those-who-contribute and those-who-are-rewarded continue to elude us.


V for Vendetta, by Wendy McElroy, 31 Jul 2010
Review of V for Vendetta (2006) both as a movie and as a political statement, comparing it to The Count of Monte Cristo (1934) (which is shown in some scenes)
Most of the plot ... problems come from adaptations that the Wachowski brothers consciously made to promote their own political agenda. In interviews, [they] were explicit about using the movie as a weapon against right-wing America ... The deviation is unfortunate because the novel is far more politically sophisticated and less cartoonish than the movie. For example, in the novel, Norsefire's leader Mr. Susan is a complex man who fully understands that he is destroying liberty, and he knows why ... By contrast, the movie's High Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt) is a poor man's Hitler ...


Interview with James Buchanan, by James M. Buchanan, The Region, Sep 1995
Topics include The Calculus of Consent, public choice theory, monetary policy and the Federal Reserve
Buchanan: ... To some extent, people then and now think about politics romantically. Our systematic way of looking at politics is nothing more than common sense ... I think governments overreached themselves in the '60s, not only in the totalitarian, authoritarian regimes, but also in Western democratic welfare-state nations ... By the early '70s people began to recognize this. They ... saw that political programs were failing. Public Choice came along and was there to provide them an explanation—an understanding—of why politics was failing as it extended beyond certain margins.
Jim Rogers -- your global investment strategy, by Jim Rogers, Lindsay Williams, 19 Oct 2004
Transcript of radio interview broadcast on "Classic Business Day" from Johannesburg, South Africa
LINDSAY WILLIAMS: ... Are you a political animal? JIM ROGERS: No I wouldn't give any money to any politician. A pox on both of their houses as far as I'm concerned. I wouldn't vote for either of those guys, and will not. I vote to protest, though. ... [President George Bush and Treasury Secretary John Snow] want the dollar to go down, and they're trying to get it to go down. They just talk – you know how politicians are – they say one thing, and they do another. ... Forty years ago there were sound currencies. Now politicians all over the world have learned to buy votes, and they do.
Related Topics: Botswana, South Africa


Beyond Politics: The Roots of Government Failure
    by William C. Mitchell, Randy T. Simmons, Gordon Tullock (foreword), Independent Institute, Sep 1994
Partial contents: Market Failures and Political Solutions: Orthodoxy - In Dispraise of Politics: Some Public Choice - Understanding Property, Markets, the Firm and the Law - Case Studies in the Anatomy of Government Failure


Karl Hess speaking at UCLA 3/3/1970, by Karl Hess, 3 Mar 1970
Wide-ranging talk on the "contemporary political scene"; including the SDS, the State, isolationists, NIxon, Agnew, Vietnam, left and right, anarchism, community, Black Panthers and more

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Politics" as of 19 Nov 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.