Saturday, 11 June 2016

Conflict in Politics


Part of the reason politics is so conflict ridden in the realm of discourse and action, more so than other human activities such as music and literature, though squabbles occur in these fields as well, is that in essence politics concerns the organisation of power in society, be it at a local, national or international level. 

To be sure, conflict has its root in disagreement, that is, discord, but this reaches dangerous proportions when at issue is power distribution itself, the mechanics of which determine, as Heraclitus put it so well two millennia and a half ago, who is god and who is man, who is slave and who is free for
"all things happen according to strife and necessity."  
Heraclitus saw justice in strife and, in those days, might did indeed make (morally) right, at least before Plato, and as Thrasymachus argues in Book 1 of Plato's Republic, proto neo conservative that he is, the strong have every right in natural law to exploit the weak on account of their superior strength, although this view remains unplalatable to many, though by no means all, in the Modern World. 

Indeed, social darwinism is a popular ideology among the masses as well as the elites, with its mantra of 'survival of the fittest' which, for all intents and purposes, should be amended to 'survival of the most ruthless', that is, the most immoral under modern understandings of natural law which forbid violence and coercion (although not the use of force when in self-defensive response to violence, which is the immoral initiation of the use of force).   

It should be noted, however, that although conflict produces winners and losers, there are those who stand to gain from conflict as such, regardless of who is victorious, such as those in wars who manufacture and sell arms to both sides, those who make financial loans to all or most of the warring parties as well as those who stand to gain from reconstruction contracts in the post conflict days. 

As such war, and conflict in general, can be seen as a form of controlled opposition, where some benefit from the dialectical struggle between two opposing or seemingly opposing sides, the thesis and the antithesis, which enables them to provide the synthesis, i.e. the resolution of the conflict. In the trade of control politics, this strategy is known as artificial conflict resolution, where you create the actual conflict in the first place, direct and steer both sides in order to create a resolution which suits your own interests. 

An example of this can be found in the quaint world of professional wrestling. In the show, wrestler A pretends to be the arch enemy of wrestler B, creating fans for each wrestler, who enjoy the division and invest both emotionally and financially in the match, although both wrestlers and their teams may well meet for coffee behind the scenes as the best of friends; the resolution of the artificial wrestling conflict has expressed itself in increased ticket sales, merchandise and publicity. 

Party politics could be interpreted along the same lines, where the leaders of each faction, say Republicans and Democrats, are ultimately owned by the same hidden powers, and whoever wins changes nothing to the overall political landscape. The party politicking has achieved a split in the electorate who are so busy fighting each other - a divide and conquer strategy - that they fail to see the fraudulent game in and of itself and the puppet masters who puppeteer the seemingly opposed candidates to public office as well as the red versus blue team media coverage of the electoral process.