When you are studying at school, especially in a democratic welfare state like Finland, you just laugh at the people who are fed with governmental propaganda in other countries. At least, we learn about the unbiased truth! Nooooot quite! 😅 This is something I came to realize in a particular university course.
Throughout the education system before reaching the university we, poor subjects of propaganda, were fed with the overly cute definition of politics: politics is about taking care of common things in the society. Surely, all politicians just want to take care of things and usher the country towards a new era of prosperity. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 It sounds ridiculous, but that was the lie I and my fellow students believed in.
Learning about the truth
In an introductory course to political science, the teacher asked rhetorically many times what politics is. For a long time, I would just respond with the naive answer in my head that we learned at school. Luckily, the teacher wasn’t expecting an answer – I would have made an entire fool out of myself. After posing the question, the teacher would list a couple of definitions of his own. “What is politics? Is it dirty game? Pursuing one’s own goals? Power? Media? Persuasion?”, he would list. Whoa! This wasn’t the cute little politics I had learned to know at school. 😱 The politics started to look more like a monster – an elite battling for their own rights. It wasn’t as altruistic as they wanted us to believe. 😔
What I still remember in addition to the initial shock, is that we were given a definition of the legitimacy of power. Politics is all about having and using power. And the power was considered to be legitimate only when the subjects of it are ready to accept it. This is an interesting definition. What happens if only a part of the subjects are ready to accept it? Civil disobedience? A revolution perhaps?
Another thing that has puzzled me is the way of accepting the power. Is the power still legitimate when its subjects only accept it passively? If they think that there’s no other choice and they just have to put up with the quirks of those in charge? Does it mean that the power is acceptable for as long as status quo can be maintained? I wonder. 🤔
Politics is way more than what they teach us at school. And at the end of the day, it all boils down to fighting one’s cause. It might be an altruistic one or an egoistic one, nevertheless for an untrained eye, they will both look the same. 🤷🏼♂️ Egoism gets masked as altruism. This post had more questions than answers, sorry about that. 😅 Whatever your definition for politics is, stop and think about it for a while. 😃