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politics: Setting the stage

politics: Setting the stage

‘Enreryene Zsntrws something sbotzt poiities, and nanny people know n greztt ties} about it.
It is en itaterestirag, anrrrsnrg, and 1’1‘i{Wi11§_.§ speetsete that ran_1<s not tee fer behirrti profes-
siorrat sports in the eyes ef many. Petitieat scientists, hewever, sI.«:m’}’ nelities and r.nm-
r’.yze it. This inveives {icing pretty nrneh the same serts of things that t’:«t11er peepie tin
who ‘fefiew poiities: we reed the I31-’:*,WS;)ape1‘S end listen to press eeefetenees. take pert in
po1i1;i.t:&§ e.errr;:sig11s, and se en. Henrever, we aise tie some ttrirrgs t1iffer*errtEy. We
aity try to see laeth sides of any question and tn keep our einetiens in 1ow key, ’z>eL*-nrrse
eanetiens een eke-eat jrrclgrnent. We borrow deiiiaerstety {rem ether <EiseipEines-.seeh as
eeentnnies, histerja, seeietegy, §3$’;ZC§}{‘:}i‘3gjf, anti ptriieseph}r~mt:<a treép us untiersterni what
is going on petitieaitjv. Above 2:1}, as yen will see Ester in this chapter, we tr}; te be fare»
eise sheet the srresnings of the words we nse. Many Werés having te rte with peI..itr’es-
snelr as r’t’3>r.=.rt’tI, rceggn-eserzr, and avail po£rTIia*.s-are q11i!:c~: compiex, but most. pco;_’.ri¢ use
than unthi{1.E<;i.§1gIy. POEit.icai scittirtists are c3a‘ei’azI to analyze the Varisd mssnings of such
words and to use them preeiseiy, pza1*tZj: tmeause it irsptatmaat to knew exaetiy M331‘ we
am-‘.213 by the words we use and pa1‘t!§.r beezuase eareflli examiriatieaa of 3 richiy eompiex
wo.r£i £11513; leach us as Est ainimt the things it describes.
What {is ;’3eiii’iea] s1:3{.E}r‘? Owes‘ the years, we have seen work in which pet
Iitiea! scientists:
Meas111’ej1rst ‘now much ii‘ actuailjg costs 2: eoamtry £0 Ease 21 was
Devise 3 new sgvsteaal of voting is priimkries that ::’si§é11t. have Eed to e different set of
candidates for most p1’esitientia.1 electmes
Axaetyze and es.p1a’tn the various styles that. lnetnhers ef the 11,3. Congress adept in
{testing with their constituents
Sttrdy the spreeti of welihte refemrs across the states
Shew thttt the mots of suceessfni govern.rnent nan}: go beck it) secret ir*rstit:Ltt.iens
several eentn.r.ies ego 4 1=>an”i’ or~tt=.=.: ‘tt~n=; It3EA OF t=>o=…n’ice
Show why rncst rttttiotts wiil ignore warnings about sttrp.1:ise 1‘t‘1iiit£i1“}-’ action hy hos»
tiie nations
Stony wiry dernocracies ahnost never wage war on other tiernocracies
These are the sorts of things poiitical scient.i.sts do. in this hook you witi he intro-
dncert to the hrosti prittcipies oi’ whet we have learned about poiitics, especiaiiy‘ ahont
the poiitics of derrtocracies iiite the Unit:eti States. I hope the strtdy wiii sitarpen anti en-
rich the more genera} onrie1‘stencEint_t of poiitics that you aireaciy have.
This first chapter, in particttiar, invoives the precise <‘1et‘initi-ort of severe} words with
which yon are already sornewhat tarniiiar. We must exaniizzc these defi11i1‘j.ons because
you si’:o1zZr£ 31111-1; 30:1: study with some basic: terms in place. You may 3130 find it ém
taiguingz, to see: cmnpkcxxéty in wo1?<is, sisch as paiirics, that have pmbahiy not st.1*u<:1~: was
bai’o1’e as [wing particumriy c<;mpkica£c:::1.
What is 1mi.itics? ‘M221: is it that mzikes an ac: poEitic&’l‘? (3<>1’iside:’ the i”o1E<>wing <;Lies~
tions, ail {if which invoive poiiticiii ciarcumsiaiices. ‘Nhiii tic; these haw: in minmen?
2-low was E.-iiiier 21131.6: :0 take piiwer ihroiigh a smies sf siippossxiiy di:iia<3criat.ic
Why Goats shit 13.3. Congress so oftm disiigim with the president. in friimiaig eizergy
Why siioeifi werk.ei*s sort letters the. way their boss <ii1’eeis if they knew a mere efw
ficient wag”?
Why were se11£hei‘1i tiiecks denied the vine and placed in segregated sehnois
fnrmighont the 19503 whiie an the seine iinie {heir iieusing wesiiot es segregated
as that: in {he Nortii‘?
-F Sizetiid eetnnnini be barred freni teaeiiirig in the sciioois?
Shenid fascists be barreti frein teaching in tiie sttiiocls‘-.1
Witty does the United States have eniy twn inajer pciiticai patties xvZi.e1’a niest
ciemcciracies ‘nave smite‘?
Sitonici state end iecet gtwernrnents have the right to force iandtteidets to seii ttietn
iand tinlt is neetieti for ptttiiie purposes’? i
Was Zieti”; Triiriian right: tc hernia ittitesitinia and ‘Nagz1sai<;i‘?
Why do people st: often fee} gui.].ty about not doing what their parents want. then:
to Clo?
These qnestioris ticai with poiitics. The qnestioris about hosses anti parents iney not hzwe
iooheti to you if they belonged in this gtotip, but their cortnectioit with poiitics shotiiti
become cieatet by the end of this citapt.ei‘.
Witat is it that these qnestioiis itme in cotntnon‘? There tire two main titiiigs, and hoth
have ofteti heen tiseti as the defining citrnacteristics of politics. First, aii the qtiestions in-
vtihte the ntafcth-.g of ct c-ontrnwt cfedsitin for ct gi’ott;.i nfpeopiti, thnt. is, at tt1tii’tn‘ni deci-
sion itppijriiig in the sarne way to aii ttteinhets of the ggrtinp. Secotiti, ail int*o’ttre- the ate
t;y’;2ottei’ hy one ‘person or it g.§rott.p of pettpie to itffect. the bettavitn’ of another person. or
group of people. Let its iook at both of these in more tietaii.

CHst=‘I’£I=: oats; E’-‘OLJTIESS: sts“r’rtr~to ‘t’iiE‘: srnoc 5
Any group ef peopfe must”. often 1*:1aKc»: deecisions that wiii azppiy to ail of them in con}-
men, as a group. A famiiy zmrst decide wllfira to live, whzzi sorts of ml:-zs to stat fer chi.I-
drera, how H1 baiaiace 3 budget, and Si} £311‘ A ciass in 3 coiiege or 11a1ivc:rsit}* {inctimiing
the i:1st1’us:1“.{}r as part; of {he “c.iass”’} must. deczédc what reaxiing m.s..te1’ia1 to reqtsira-3, haw
st11cie:.1t.s me to be gratieci by the ins1.mct.or, how briglai the: Eight‘. shoukd be in fiat: ci.ass-
r<m1Ias* A country must decide wha-;:r<: to Eo<:at.<: pafics, what -mitts to seek amt. in war. how
to raise revenue by taxing its <:.ifjz£:I1s, how 1.0 cam for the heipiess, and man}! oiher
things. Each of thcse: requires the setting of <:t:rr:’:1m:>:1 peiicy for the greup, 21 siegie fleet-
sion that affects alt merebers of the grtmga.
Net alt imman actions, of eeerse, iaweive the ma§<.i:1g ef 21 common yeiiey fer 3,
gmup. When one brakes‘ teases aeothet‘, he is not tttakirkg a fatniiy poiiey, nor is a fam-
iiy member who deciées to write the great Ame:‘ieaI1 acme}. A stuéeat who decides to
read extra mateaial on one section of the eeiirse (ex, perhaps, to skip a bit of the reatiirag}
is aet making a peiiejz of the eiass. A persera‘s decision to baiid at new house is not part
of any common ‘aatienai, ptriiey, altheegh the ceant1’y may have peiieies-on inter=es1?.
rates, the regaiation of huifdiag, Iaad nae, r,oni13g, and so on-that affect this person’s
decision. Fcrt} Motor (iornpangfs dc-cisiorts on new-car styling are not part of :1 connnon
oatioilai poiicy.
I”l’zose actions that ccn1;rihnte to the n’:rik‘i1tg. of a connnon poiicy for a group of pee»
ple!:nte politics, and tgtlestirnts ahoni those policies and the making of those yoii»
Cies are politics} questions. The poiiticallnorapohticai distineiion is not aiwajrs easy to
tiraw. The exatnpie of the 3i=‘orri Motor Cot’11pany, above, is tricky because I”*‘ort! is so
large that its decisions verge on tseing connnon poiicy for the whoic iinited States, even
though the cornpanj: has no forrnai toie in the nation’s governieent. In other words, one
‘might argue that because the US. government tolerates the corleentration of our auto-
rnohiie inciusttfig among a few giant corporations and because (as a resuit oi” this} the new
oisious of any one of the three bait: so Earge in Anierican life, those decisions have a
qttasi-palette eE’iat-acter and are “sort oi” political. In I980, the quasi-puiiiic nature of
Itarge corporations was unticriineti when the ggtivernntettt found that it had to become in-
tiniateigr irivoireti in Chrysier Corporations financing to pt’event Cin’§rsEe.r front going
out of business. Chrysier was so Earge that the econornic heaith of the country was nn-
aroidttbly bound to its economic decisions; thereftire, the governtnent decided it had no
choice hnt to support’s ioans. In this sense,’is’i.o.ns rnade hf; the inanageinent
of Chrysier were to a tiegree binding on the cottntry a whoie and hecatne. to some ex-
tent, 15.8. poiiticafi decisions.
Another tricky aspect of the politicalfittinptiliticai tiistiuction is that it also a rnat~
ter of perspective. ForcE’s design decisions are not (except via I’iorti’s ttttttsiqanhiic naw
ture} poiitical decisions for the United Srrxtes; hot. they are poiiticai decisions for lF”t}i.‘d’s
stocichoitiers, managers, and vvoritcrs, hecattse t.h.ey set a connnon poiicy for the cotn~
pany. A i’fanii§y’s tiecision to build a house is not a pohticai decision for the coaitrry, hut
it is a pohticai decision for thefrti-ri.ii}’ a group inasmuch as it invoives a cotrtnfton poi-
icy for the ‘famiijv. “Cornpanv poiitics” is involved in i’~”orci’s ciecision, and “fami1}* ;:oii~
tics” is invoiveti in the i“arrti1§t‘s tieei.sio.n. i*€eit.her, however, is a national poiiticai
decision. Society consists oi’ groups wititin groups Within groups. Ford Motor CIot’t3pany



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