New Book: What Are “Left Wing” and “Right Wing?”

I delve into the core of politics

Douglas Giles, PhD

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Over a year in the making, my latest book is now available for pre-order. Left Wing, Right Wing, People, and Power: The Core Dynamics of Political Action is a fresh and, with elections this year, very timely analysis of the core dynamics of politics and what motivates political conflict. You can pre-order the e-book version now, and the e-book and paperback versions will be released on 26 March (publisher rescheduled).

Below is an excerpt from the first chapter that introduces the book.

What Is Politics?

Politics is usually portrayed as a contest or battle between politicians. This is ironic because what the word “politics” really should mean is a sense of community.

The word “politics” comes from the ancient Greek word “polis,” which simply means “the city.” Ancient Greek society was based on the city-state, so politics, the affairs of the city, relates to all things political and applies to all things about the city or society. From the word “polis” we get the idea of politics, the idea of police, and the idea of the suffix of a city in words like “metropolis.”

Politics is the discussion or debate about how government and society should be structured, how decisions for society should be made, and how social institutions should function and to what ends. There are multiple forms of government and many ideas about how society should work, but all are subject to decision-making, and decision-making is subject to those who have the power and status to influence decisions and the social institutions that enact decisions.

At its core, all politics is about power — the power to make and manifest decisions. That includes political power, certainly, but power is an issue in all dimensions of social life. The discussions about government and society revolve around questions about who has power, how power can be exercised, and how it can be abused.

Discussions about the nature of political power have been going on for a very long time. Plato warned against the abuses of political power 2,300 years ago. He condemned the unrestrained power of a tyrant — an absolute ruler. Plato’s opposition to tyranny included…

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Douglas Giles, PhD

Philosopher by trade & temperament, professor for 21 years, bringing philosophy out of its ivory tower and into everyday life. https://linktr.ee/dgilesphd