For the people, by the people (but only if they want to)

Political ideology is an interesting subject matter, and one that –bizarrely– is connected in a very intrinsic way to emotions. You would think that politics would inspire somnolence and deep disdain –as it does when anyone is presented with the prospect of watching C-SPAN (except, perhaps, my husband). Then again, according to the Online Etymological Dictionary, people get carried away because it really is a matter of opinion. Opinion… who knew?

Behold:

politics (n.)

1529, “science of government,” from politic (adj.) (q.v.), modeled on Aristotle’s ta politika “affairs of state,” the name of his book on governing and governments, which was in Eng. 1450 as “Polettiques.”
“Politicks is the science of good sense, applied to public affairs, and, as those are forever changing, what is wisdom to-day would be folly and perhaps, ruin to-morrow. Politicks is not a science so properly as a business. It cannot have fixed principles, from which a wise man would never swerve, unless the inconstancy of men’s view of interest and the capriciousness of the tempers could be fixed.” [Fisher Ames (1758–1808)]
Meaning “a person’s political allegiances or opinions” is from 1769. Political animal transl. Gk. politikon zoon (Aristotle, Politics, I.ii.9) “an animal intended to live in a city; a social animal.” Politically correct first attested 1970; abbreviation P.C. is from 1986.

So… politics is deeply related and entrenched in the polis or the city, and specifically to the polites or the people. ***Extremely Un-politically correct moment: Does this mean that people in rural areas are not served by either politics or the police then?*** And it’s definitely a very intimate and very personal view. Which is why when we elect people to office and then they don’t end up agreeing with us –or worse, they lied and never really agreed with us– we take it ever so personally. But you know what the worst part of the deal is? That every single decision we make actually reflects our political (or our citizen’s) ideology. And unfortunately for extremists and zealots, not all decisions fit neatly in one happy category; not even in two categories, really. These decisions and opinions can fall all over the political spectrum.

Even as the country placed the spotlight on poor Theresa Schiavo and tried to make sense of the tragedy (and shockingly enough, I think everyone agreed it was a tragedy), people who considered themselves very “Republican” were disgusted by the parents. Similarly, very “Democratic” and…. *gasp*…. “Liberal”….. people were desperately trying to somehow make the Schindlers the guardians of Terri. People who were actively doing things on either end discovered that their most intimate beliefs on end-of-life issues did not match at all with their political ideology. But of course, those very beliefs are part of their political ideology. And I am sure that deep inside, Ann Coulter and Michael Moore would be horrified –yet perhaps secretly gladdened– to discover that their ambush and rhetorical methods have more in common than they’d like to admit.

What do the labels “Republican”, “Democrat” and… *gasp*… “Liberal” mean anyway?

Well, respectively it goes like this:

Are you a person who is interested in the affairs and business of the people (res affairs, publica of the people)?
….Or….
Are you a person who thinks the power is with the people (demos people, kratos stength)?
And finally…..
Are you noble? Generous? Free? (It’s okay if you’re not. Really. I won’t tell).

Yes. So since when is it a bad thing to be free and proud for Jiminy’s sake? The poor term gets bandied about with as much venom as if it were a new term for the clap –or conversely with as much pride as if you were saying you caught The Ramones at CBGB’s before anyone discovered them. But anyway. I took a Political Ideology test online (because online quizzies are the coolest stuff EVAR!!11!111) and I found the results to be interesting. Here are mine:

Your political compass

Economic Left/Right: 0.28
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.97

That thing above means that I am actually slightly leaning to the right (*yikes* I blame it on the C-SPAN) and I have mildly anarchic tendencies (where is the symbol for the “A” in the circle, anyway?). Does this make me a Hitler? Hardly. He was actually a highly fascist (of course), extreme right-leaning psycho. And Margaret “Iron Vixen” Thatcher was actually not too distant from him politically speaking (well, according to this quizzy).

If you’d like to take this quizzy, go to the Political Compass site :o)

If you’d like to share your political compass score with me, please leave it on the comments section :o) Danky!

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This entry was published on April 6, 2005 at 7:17 pm and is filed under Soapboxing. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “For the people, by the people (but only if they want to)

  1. Patrick on said:

    I’m -7.25, and -4.95, which puts me between Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. I thought I was more authoritarian than that, but hey, that’s good company. It’s a bummer about Prince Rainier (a great Gemini), and a bit more on the police state side of the political spectrum.

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