Friday, May 28, 2010

Why Politics Is Unjust

Daniel Jackson at Sense of Events, a blog he shares with Donald Sensing, explains in two posts Bailey's Stratagems and Spoils and an example of how it plays out in the real world. Essentially, there are two kinds of rules: "normative rules" describing how things are supposed to be and "pragmatic rules" for how to win; honestly or not. (I'll have to read the book sometime.) To win requires knowing how to mix the two: playing to the house with the normative rules (make yourself sound good or victimized) and getting your licks in with something not quite ethical. He illustrates why having officers required to keep the peace tends to mean that the side that threatens more violence first tends to win: why having easily mobilized thugs is so useful in a peaceful society.

It isn't just limited to the ancient history of coal company goons: you can read about the same sort of tactics every other week in your local paper. Somebody "lacks advancement," and the threat of demonstrators looms.

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