When we use the word Politics it can be confusing as to what is meant. The word is simple enough but it can mean so many different things and I have found myself in conversations in which I am talking on one level but the other person is talking on another. Neither of us is wrong but the word is much broader than it is given credit for, so here I am going to distinguish between the three distinct meanings of the word politics. Moving from the higher meaning to the lowest and providing the meanings of each.
What do you believe, what do you oppose and why do you oppose it. That is what political philosophy means, it is not about how much you know about a particular belief. That can help certainly, but many who have never read Karl Marx know how they feel about his political philosophy.
If given power what would you do with it. How would you enact your political philosophy from thought into deeds. We often see policy being used cynically by Politicians and Political Parties, there being two major reasons for this. 1) They want power and will do anything to get it, 2) They do not really understand their own political philosophy. Policy does not have to be cynical, in fact good policy is not cynical.
How do you feel about a particular candidate, do you like him or not, what have you heard about him, do you think what you've heard is true. The personal is sometimes called character, it is sometimes called gossip. Finding out about a candidates character is right, but it can easily fall into gossip, which might be entertaining but will not give a real indication of either their future performance nor of their character.
There is a joke that I've seen that asks which of these two candidates would you vote for:
1) A Teetotaler, a non smoker and a vegetarian, or
2) A Drinker, a heavy smoker who is also over weight
Who would you vote for? Of course all you have is personal information, you have no political philosophy or even policies to help you decide.
If you voted for 1) you voted for Adolf Hitler, if you voted for 2) you voted for Winston Churchill!
I present this as an example of how relying on just the personal can be deceptive.
This Blog is mostly about political philosophy, I most often write about what constitutes the different viewpoints of Conservatism and Liberalism, as well as other political philosophies. I believe that this is one area that we need to improve on as I often find that many people who call themselves Conservatives are really only "Conservatives". People who support alot more of Liberalism than they realise and then find it hard to reconcile why Liberalism keeps winning. Only when we have a knowledge of political philosophy can we truly know where we stand, what we stand for and what we are against.
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