“Politics” Is Not a Political Actor

Anyone who believes in democracy should be appalled by the use of the word politics in this New York Times headline:

“Congestion Pricing Plan for Manhattan Ran Into Politics. Politics Won.”

Who is this “politics” that is capable of fighting battles, and winning or losing them?

Elected officials make decisions.  People who make decisions should take responsibility for those decisions.  This is why being an elected official is much less fun than it looks.

When we say that “politics” made a decision, we’re implying that the actual deciders aren’t responsible.  Some elected officials like it when we talk this way, because it helps them avoid responsibility for their choices.  But that’s not how a healthy democracy works, and if we accept that “politics” is a political actor, we are surrendering an important part of our right to democracy.





5 Responses to “Politics” Is Not a Political Actor

  1. JJJJ April 10, 2018 at 10:48 am #

    “…ran into a spineless pandering Governor” didnt fit the space allotted

  2. Hugo April 10, 2018 at 6:28 pm #

    Governance is the new “democracy”. Elected officials are administrators, they do not decide anything anymore. That is what the liberalization of our societies has done.

  3. el_slapper April 11, 2018 at 12:03 am #

    I guess the underlying message is “the decision has been taken according to power games, not according to what would have been the best solution”.

    Which forgets an important point : the “best” solution heavily depends on your point of view. And points of views are fighting on the political level. Always. That’s a feature of human groups.

  4. Georgist Economist April 11, 2018 at 10:54 am #

    While the deciders are responsible, the voters don’t have the power to vote/not vote for them due to *this particular* decision, only due to the aggregate of their decisions over their term.
    Looking up the 2017 NYC mayoral results on wikipedia, the results have 1.24 bits of information content, also known as entropy. That is distributed over four years, thus voters overall have an average 0.31 bits/year of influence on the governance of the city. That is quite simply insufficient in my view.

  5. Shannon April 22, 2018 at 1:23 am #

    I read this headline in the Newspaper:
    “Congestion Pricing Plan for Manhattan Ran Into Politics. Politics Won.”
    And I didn’t think that this use for one person. My personal point of view it is about every person even a single citizen who belongs to the country and have some responsibilities as a Mature Citizen. and especially those who are patched with our politics. And also every those person who are responsible for Good or Bad Democracy…