Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Politics Is:

1 The ongoing reconciliation of the diversity of a polity.
2 Grasping and solving a polity's shared problems.
3 Factions within a polity seeking over the long-term to implement ethical visions in face of its diversity.

It is useful to distinguish these three political registers, despite the fact that the sense of each one is shaped by assumptions and aspirations and experiences arising out of the others and also despite the fact that lived politics is all of a piece. That people who are different from one another in their histories, in their hopes, and in their beings share a time and a place in the world together is both the point of departure for genuine political thinking and conduct as such and is also the abiding reality shaping the specificities of the political in all its dimensions. This is what Hannah Arendt mean when she declared, "Plurality is the law of the earth." It is also what Eve Sedgwick was getting at when she declared "People are different from one another" to be "Axiom One." A strategy that denies or disregards or disavows such differences may sometimes peddle itself as political, but it is probably something else (usually, I find, it is an engineering, moral, or aesthetic viewpoint) and confused about itself in a way that demands clarification from those who are not so confused or it may even be simply actively anti-political.

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