“Peace on earth” has been a common Christmas pronouncement for as long as Christmas has been celebrated. In two days people all over the world will celebrate the most significant contribution to peace ever made but today I would like to thank the readers of SayAnythingBlog.com for one of their contributions to peace, namely, staying involved in (and informed about) politics.
Politics doesn’t always look like a peaceful endeavor. There are scandals and corruption. There are attack ads and innuendo. The arguments (from the kitchen table to the comboxes) are usually not for the faint of heart. The ugly viciousness of political discourse was barely exaggerated by political philosopher Michel Foucault when he suggested that “politics is war by other means.” But that distinction of “other means” is an important one.
Throughout human history conflicts have arisen over who will own what, over who will be allowed to do what and over how those first two decisions will be made. These conflicts are often caused by sloth, greed, hatred, arrogance, lust and envy but also by conflicting views of justice, responsibility, freedom and even what it means to be human.
There are only two ways that these conflicts have ever been resolved in human history. The first is war. The second is politics. People who are surprised or discouraged by the viciousness of political discourse should realize that nothing else should be expected. When it comes down to it politics is what we do (if we can) with our deeply held disagreements instead of killing each other over them.