December 1, 2007

Not a dirty word

Matt Iglesias comes up with one of the best definitions of "politics" that I've ever seen. In the context of solving the global warming crisis he writes:

Meanwhile, both whatever degree of climate change can't be prevented and whatever prevention measures we adopt will all have different kinds of costs and benefits. Different policies will allocate these costs to different people. The mechanism by which we decide what to do is called "politics" and it exists so that individuals and organizations with somewhat divergent interests and ideas can make collective decisions about how to tackle common problems. The rhetoric of anti-politics isn't just an analytic mistake, it's part of the problem. A public that doesn't believe divergent interests can be reconciled and common solutions devised for common problems -- a public that doesn't believe in politics -- is going to be a public that doesn't believe there's anything that can or should be done to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Substitute whatever issue you want for "climate change" and that's really what this is all about. Hat tip to Atrios.

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