Working Definition(s)*: Politics, Ethics, Power

The signifier is not enough.

POLITICS = Ethics + Power. Or, if you like, Power + Ethics = Politics.

Ethics is that field of activity that is delineated by the “should.” It has to do with the future. It has to do with *other* people. What we should do to get to a form of life that is better than this one.

Don’t push my buttons.

Power has to do with relations between people and/or things. It is characterized by a differential: one has more than the other. It is made known by the acts and the effects of the acts that the former is able to deploy upon the other.

Politics is the field of activity in which every action that is carried out towards a form of life that is better than this one is unable to be carried out outside of the considerations and the realities of being enmeshed within a vast network of power relations.

Duh Factor: All ethical acts are political acts. There is no such thing as a *merely* ethical act.

Future: How much does strategy have to do with the (*merely*) ethical (And how do we avoid some sort of gross pragmatic utilitarianism?)?

In order to make a simple ethical decision, must I appeal to the broadest commonalities of my constituency?

* Something “that is chosen for an occasion and may not fully conform with established or authoritative definitions,” or as “Equipment[:] conceptual in design and formulation, []pragmatic in use. Defined abstractly, equipment is a set of truth claims, affects, and ethical orientations, designed and composed into a practice. Equipment, which has historically taken different forms, enables practical responses to changing conditions brought about by specific problems, events, and general reconfigurations.”

 

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