Politics

Politics is a set of activities associated with the governance of a country or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to group of members.[1]

It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state.[2] The academic study focusing on just politics, which is therefore more targeted than general political science, is sometimes referred to as politology (not to be confused with politicology, a synonym for political science).[3]

In modern nation-states, people often form political parties to represent their ideas. Members of a party agree to take the same position on many issues and agree to support the same changes to law and the same leaders.[4]

An election is usually a competition between different parties.[5] Some examples of political parties worldwide are: the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, the Democratic Party (D) in the United States, the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Germany and the Indian National Congress in India. Politics is a multifaceted word. It has a set of fairly specific meanings that are descriptive and nonjudgmental (such as "the art or science of government" and "political principles"), but does often colloquially carry a negative connotation.[1][6][7] The word has been used negatively for many years: the British national anthem as published in 1745 calls on God to "Confound their politics",[8] and the phrase "play politics", for example, has been in use since at least 1853, when abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared: "We do not play politics; anti-slavery is no half-jest with us."[9]

A variety of methods are deployed in politics, which include promoting one's own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising force, including warfare against adversaries.[10][11][12][13][14] Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level.

A political system is a framework which defines acceptable political methods within a given society. The history of political thought can be traced back to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics and the works of Confucius.

Etymology

Women voter outreach 1935 English Yiddish
Women voter outreach from 1935.

The word comes from the same Greek word from which the title of Aristotle's book Politics (from Ancient Greek: Πολιτικά, romanizedPolitiká or Polis, meaning "affairs of the cities"). The book title was rendered in Early Modern English in the mid-15th century as "Polettiques";[15] it became "politics" in Modern English. The singular politic first attested in English 1430 and comes from Middle French politique, in turn from Latin politicus,[16] which is the Latinization of the Greek πολιτικός (politikos), meaning amongst others "of, for, or relating to citizens", "civil", "civic", "belonging to the state",[17] in turn from πολίτης (polites), "citizen"[17] and that from πόλις (polis), "city".[17]

Classifications

Formal politics refers to the operation of a constitutional system of government and publicly defined institutions and procedures.[18] Political parties, public policy or discussions about war and foreign affairs would fall under the category of Formal Politics.[18] Many people view formal politics as something outside of themselves, but that can still affect their daily lives.[18]

Semi-formal politics is politics in government associations such as neighborhood associations, or student governments where student government political party politics is often important.

Informal politics is understood as forming alliances, exercising power and protecting and advancing particular ideas or goals. Generally, this includes anything affecting one's daily life, such as the way an office or household is managed, or how one person or group exercises influence over another.[18] Informal Politics is typically understood as everyday politics, hence the idea that "politics is everywhere".[18]

History of state politics

The history of politics is reflected in the origin, development, and economics of the institutions of government.

The state

The origin of the state is to be found in the development of the art of warfare. Historically speaking, all political communities of the modern type owe their existence to successful warfare.[19]

Kings, emperors and other types of monarchs in many countries including China and Japan, were considered divine. Of the institutions that ruled states, that of kingship stood at the forefront until the American Revolution put an end to the "divine right of kings". Nevertheless, the monarchy is among the longest-lasting political institutions, dating as early as 2100 BC in Sumeria[20] to the 21st century AD British Monarchy. Kingship becomes an institution through the institution of hereditary monarchy.

The monarch often, even in absolute monarchies, ruled their kingdom with the aid of an elite group of advisors, a council without which they could not maintain power. As these advisors and others outside the monarchy negotiated for power, constitutional monarchies emerged, which may be considered the germ of constitutional government.[21][22]

The greatest of the monarch's subordinates, the earls and dukes in England and Scotland, the dukes and counts in Continental Europe, always sat as a right on the council. A conqueror wages war upon the vanquished for vengeance or for plunder but an established kingdom exacts tribute. One of the functions of the council is to keep the coffers of the monarch full. Another is the satisfaction of military service and the establishment of lordships by the king to satisfy the task of collecting taxes and soldiers.[23]

Themes

2017.07.26 Protest Trans Military Ban, White House, Washington DC USA 7646 (36056769341)
Activism is a form of politics.

Forms of political organization

There are many forms of political organization, including states, non-government organizations (NGOs) and international organizations such as the United Nations. States are perhaps the predominant institutional form of political governance, where a state is understood as an institution and a government is understood as the regime in power.

According to Aristotle, states are classified into monarchies, aristocracies, timocracies, democracies, oligarchies, and tyrannies. Due to changes across the history of politics, this classification has been abandoned.

All states are varieties of a single organizational form, the sovereign state. All the great powers of the modern world rule on the principle of sovereignty. Sovereign power may be vested on an individual as in an autocratic government or it may be vested on a group as in a constitutional government. Constitutions are written documents that specify and limit the powers of the different branches of government. Although a constitution is a written document, there is also an unwritten constitution. The unwritten constitution is continually being written by the legislative and judiciary branch of government; this is just one of those cases in which the nature of the circumstances determines the form of government that is most appropriate.[24] England did set the fashion of written constitutions during the Civil War but after the Restoration abandoned them to be taken up later by the American Colonies after their emancipation and then France after the Revolution and the rest of Europe including the European colonies.

There are many forms of government. One form is a strong central government as in France and China. Another form is local government, such as the ancient divisions in England that are comparatively weaker but less bureaucratic. These two forms helped to shape the practice of federal government, first in Switzerland, then in the United States in 1776, in Canada in 1867 and in Germany in 1871 and in 1901, Australia. Federal states introduced the new principle of agreement or contract. Compared to a federation, a confederation has a more dispersed system of judicial power.[25] In the American Civil War, the argument by the Confederate States that a State could secede from the Union was deemed unconstitutional by the supreme court.[26]

According to professor A. V. Dicey in An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, the essential features of a federal constitution are: a) A written supreme constitution in order to prevent disputes between the jurisdictions of the Federal and State authorities; b) A distribution of power between the Federal and State governments and c) A Supreme Court vested with the power to interpret the Constitution and enforce the law of the land remaining independent of both the executive and legislative branches.[27]

Global politics

Global politics include different practices of political globalization in relation to questions of social power: from global patterns of governance to issues of globalizing conflict. The 20th century witnessed the outcome of two world wars and not only the rise and fall of the Third Reich but also the rise and relative fall of communism. The development of the atomic bomb gave the United States a more rapid end to its conflict in Japan in World War II. Later, the hydrogen bomb became the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.

Global politics also concerns the rise of global and international organizations. The United Nations has served as a forum for peace in a world threatened by nuclear war, "The invention of nuclear and space weapons has made war unacceptable as an instrument for achieving political ends."[28] Although an all-out final nuclear holocaust is radically undesirable for man, "nuclear blackmail" comes into question not only on the issue of world peace but also on the issue of national sovereignty.[29] On a Sunday in 1962, the world stood still at the brink of nuclear war during the October Cuban Missile Crisis from the implementation of U.S. vs Soviet Union nuclear blackmail policy.

According to political science professor Paul James, global politics is affected by values: norms of human rights, ideas of human development, and beliefs such as cosmopolitanism about how we should relate to each:

Cosmopolitanism can be defined as a global politics that, firstly, projects a sociality of common political engagement among all human beings across the globe, and, secondly, suggests that this sociality should be either ethically or organizationally privileged over other forms of sociality.[30]

Political corruption

William Pitt the Elder, speaking before the British House of Lords, 9 January 1770, observed: "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it."[31] This was echoed more famously by John Dalberg-Acton over a century later: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."[32]

Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties and/or power.[33] The corruption in third World dictatorships is usually more blatant. For example, government cronies may be given exclusive right to make arbitrage profit by exploiting a fixed rate mechanism in government currency. In democracies corruption is often more indirect. Trade union leaders may be given priority in housing queues, giving them indirectly a worth of millions.[34]

Forms of corruption vary, but include corruption, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. While corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise it may be legal but considered immoral.[35] Worldwide, bribery alone is estimated to involve over 1 trillion US dollars annually.[36] A state of unrestrained political corruption is known as a kleptocracy, literally meaning "rule by thieves".[37]

Political parties

A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to attain and maintain political power within government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions. Parties often espouse an expressed ideology or vision bolstered by a written platform with specific goals, forming a coalition among disparate interests.[38]

Politics as an academic discipline

Political science, the study of politics, examines the acquisition and application of power.[39] Political scientist Harold Lasswell defined politics as "who gets what, when, and how".[40] Related areas of study include political philosophy, which seeks a rationale for politics and an ethic of public behaviour, as well as examining the preconditions for the formation of political communities;[41] political economy, which attempts to develop understandings of the relationships between politics and the economy and the governance of the two; and public administration, which examines the practices of governance.[42] The philosopher Charles Blattberg, who has defined politics as "responding to conflict with dialogue", offers an account which distinguishes political philosophies from political ideologies.[43]

The first academic chair devoted to politics in the United States was the chair of history and political science at Columbia University, first occupied by Prussian émigré Francis Lieber in 1857.[44]

Politics 2
Freedom of Hope for Politics poster

Political values

Inglehart Values Map
Political views differ on average across nations. A recreation of the Inglehart–Welzel Cultural Map of the World based on the World Values Survey.

Several different political spectra have been proposed.

Left–right

Political analysts and politicians divide politics into left wing and right wing politics, often also using the idea of center politics as a middle path of policy between the right and left. This classification is comparatively recent (it was not used by Aristotle or Hobbes, for instance), and dates from the French Revolution era, when those members of the National Assembly who supported the republic, the common people and a secular society sat on the left and supporters of the monarchy, aristocratic privilege and the Church sat on the right.[45]

The meanings behind the labels have become more complicated over the years. A particularly influential event was the publication of the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848. The Manifesto suggested a course of action for a proletarian revolution to overthrow the bourgeois society and abolish private property, in the belief that this would lead to a classless and stateless society.[46][47]

The meaning of left-wing and right-wing varies considerably between different countries and at different times, but generally speaking, it can be said that the right wing often values tradition and inequality while the left wing often values progress and egalitarianism, with the center seeking a balance between the two such as with social democracy, libertarianism or regulated capitalism.[48]

According to Norberto Bobbio, one of the major exponents of this distinction, the Left believes in attempting to eradicate social inequality – believing it to be unethical or unnatural[49] while the Right regards most social inequality as the result of ineradicable natural inequalities, and sees attempts to enforce social equality as utopian or authoritarian.[50] Some ideologies, notably Christian Democracy, claim to combine left and right wing politics; according to Geoffrey K. Roberts and Patricia Hogwood, "In terms of ideology, Christian Democracy has incorporated many of the views held by liberals, conservatives and socialists within a wider framework of moral and Christian principles."[51] Movements which claim or formerly claimed to be above the left-right divide include Fascist Terza Posizione economic politics in Italy and Peronism in Argentina.[52][53]

Political chart
Chart showing the political positions Authoritarian to Libertarian and Left-wing to Right-wing on a 2D plane.

Authoritarian–libertarian

Authoritarianism and libertarianism refer to the amount of individual freedom each person possesses in that society relative to the state. One author describes authoritarian political systems as those where "individual rights and goals are subjugated to group goals, expectations and conformities",[54] while libertarians generally oppose the state and hold the individual as sovereign. In their purest form, libertarians are anarchists [55], who argue for the total abolition of the state, of political parties and of other political entities, while the purest authoritarians are, by definition, totalitarians who support state control over all aspects of society. [56]

For instance, classical liberalism (also known as laissez-faire liberalism,[57]) is a doctrine stressing individual freedom and limited government. This includes the importance of human rationality, individual property rights, free markets, natural rights, the protection of civil liberties, constitutional limitation of government, and individual freedom from restraint as exemplified in the writings of John Locke, Adam Smith, David Hume, David Ricardo, Voltaire, Montesquieu and others. According to the libertarian Institute for Humane Studies, "the libertarian, or 'classical liberal,' perspective is that individual well-being, prosperity, and social harmony are fostered by 'as much liberty as possible' and 'as little government as necessary.'"[58] For anarchist political philosopher L. Susan Brown "Liberalism and anarchism are two political philosophies that are fundamentally concerned with individual freedom yet differ from one another in very distinct ways. Anarchism shares with liberalism a radical commitment to individual freedom while rejecting liberalism's competitive property relations."[59]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Rod Hague; Martin Harrop (31 May 2013). Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction. Macmillan International Higher Education. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-1-137-31786-5.
  2. ^ "Political | Definition of Political by Merriam-Webster". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Politics Samachar". nativekhabar.com. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  4. ^ Giovanni Sartori (2005). Parties and Party Systems: A Framework for Analysis. ECPR Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-9547966-1-7.
  5. ^ Richard Rose; Neil Munro (1 April 2009). Parties and Elections in New European Democracies. ECPR Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-9558203-2-8.
  6. ^ William A. Joseph (14 March 2014). Politics in China: An Introduction, Second Edition. Oxford University Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-19-938483-9.
  7. ^ Birkland (18 May 2015). Introduction to the Policy Process. M.E. Sharpe. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-7656-2731-5.
  8. ^ God save our lord the king, The Gentleman's Magazine 15 October 1745
  9. ^ Johnston, Alexander; Woodburn, James Albert (1903). "American Orations: V. The anti-slavery struggle".
  10. ^ Bo Hammarlund (1985). Politik utan partier: studier i Sveriges politiska liv 1726-1727. Almqvist & Wiksell International. p. 8.
  11. ^ Linda P. Brady (1 October 2017). The Politics of Negotiation: America's Dealings with Allies, Adversaries, and Friends. University of North Carolina Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-4696-3960-4.
  12. ^ Mary Hawkesworth; Maurice Kogan (7 November 2013). Encyclopedia of Government and Politics: 2-volume Set. Routledge. p. 299. ISBN 978-1-136-91332-7.
  13. ^ Steven L. Taylor (1 June 2012). 30-Second Politics: The 50 most thought-provoking ideas in politics, each explained in half a minute. Icon Books Limited. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-84831-427-6.
  14. ^ Shannon L. Blanton; Charles W. Kegley (1 January 2016). World Politics: Trend and Transformation, 2016–2017. Cengage Learning. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-305-50487-5.
  15. ^ The Diets and Sayings of the Philosophers (Early English Text Society, Original Series No. 211, 1941; reprinted 1961), p. 154: "the book of Etiques and of Polettiques".
  16. ^ Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short. "A Latin Dictionary". Perseus Digital Library. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  17. ^ a b c Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott. "A Greek-English Lexicon". Perseus Digital Library. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  18. ^ a b c d e Painter, Joe; Jeffrey, Alex. "Political Geography".
  19. ^ Carneiro, Robert L. (21 August 1970). "A Theory of the Origin of the State". Science. 169 (3947): 733–738. Bibcode:1970Sci...169..733C. doi:10.1126/science.169.3947.733. PMID 17820299.
  20. ^ "Sumerian King List" (PDF). Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  21. ^ "European Absolutism And Power Politics", International World History Project, 1998, retrieved 22 April 2017
  22. ^ "Constitutional Monarchy". British Monarchist League Ltd. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  23. ^ Jenks, Edward. A history of politics. pp. 73–96. The origin of the State, or Political Society, is to be found in the development of the art of military warfare.
  24. ^ "Britain's unwritten constitution". The British Library. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Confederation vs Federation – Difference and Comparison". Diffen. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  26. ^ Texas v. White, 74, 1869, p. 700, retrieved 25 February 2019
  27. ^ Jenks, Edward (1900). A history of politics. J. M. Dent & Co. pp. 1–164. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  28. ^ Rabinowitch, Eugene (June 1973). Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Educational Foundation for Nuclear Science, Inc. p. 13. ISSN 0096-3402. ...the rationale of traditional patterns of world politics.
  29. ^ Dulles, Allen (2006). The Craft of Intelligence. Globe Pequot. p. 224. ISBN 978-1-59921-577-8. ...using 'nuclear blackmail' as a threat to intimidate other countries.
  30. ^ James, Paul (2014). Globalization and Politics, Vol. 4: Political Philosophies of the Global. London: Sage Publications. pp. x. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  31. ^ Safire, William, ed. (2008). Safire's Political Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 566.
  32. ^ Dalberg-Acton, John (Lord Acton). Letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, April 5, 1887. Published in Historical Essays and Studies, edited by J. N. Figgis and R. V. Laurence (London: Macmillan, 1907)
  33. ^ "Political Corruption Law & Definition". USLegal. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  34. ^ Tino Sanadaji, Tio tusen miljarder: Skuldkalaset och den förträngda baksmällan (2018), kapitel 8
  35. ^ https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/corruption
  36. ^ "African corruption 'on the wane'". BBC News – Business.
  37. ^ Andrew Wedeman (3 April 2012). Double Paradox: Rapid Growth and Rising Corruption in China. Cornell University Press. p. 61. ISBN 0-8014-6474-9.
  38. ^ Robin T. Pettitt (24 June 2014). Contemporary Party Politics. Macmillan International Higher Education. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-137-41264-5.
  39. ^ Safire, William (2008). Safire's Political Dictionary. Oxford University Press US. p. 566. ISBN 978-0-19-534334-2. Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
  40. ^ Schmidt, Barbara A.; Bardes, Mack C.; Shelley, Steffen W. (2011). American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials (2011–2012 Student ed.). Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-538-49719-0.
  41. ^ Laurie, Timothy; Stark, Hannah (2017), "Love's Lessons: Intimacy, Pedagogy and Political Community", Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, 22 (4): 69–79
  42. ^ "Public administration - Principles of public administration". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  43. ^ Blattberg, Charles (July 2001). "Political Philosophies and Political Ideologies". Public Affairs Quarterly. 15 (3): 193–217. ISSN 0887-0373. SSRN 1755117.
  44. ^ Farr, James; Seidelman, Raymond (1993). Discipline and history. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-06512-7. ...a chair at Columbia in 1857 as professor of history and political science, the very first of its kind in America.
  45. ^ Andrew Knapp and Vincent Wright (2006). The Government and Politics of France. Routledge.
  46. ^ Jon M. Shepard (12 January 2009). Cengage Advantage Books: Sociology. Cengage Learning. p. 214. ISBN 0-495-59901-8.
  47. ^ Marx, Karl; Engels, Friedrich (1 January 2002). The Communist Manifesto. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-044757-6.
  48. ^ Daniel J. Levinson. "Conservatism and Radicalism". International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  49. ^ Gelderloos, Peter (2010). Anarchy Works.
  50. ^ Bobbio, Norberto, Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction (translated by Allan Cameron), 1997, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-06246-5
  51. ^ Roberts and Hogwood, European Politics Today, Manchester University Press, 1997
  52. ^ Tore., Bjorgo, (2014). Terror from the Extreme Right. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. ISBN 9781135209308. OCLC 871861016.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  53. ^ "bale p.40" (PDF). Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  54. ^ Markus Kemmelmeier; et al. (2003). "Individualism, Collectivism, and Authoritarianism in Seven Societies". Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. 34 (3): 304–322. doi:10.1177/0022022103034003005.
  55. ^ afaq. "150 years of Libertarian". Anarchists Writers.
  56. ^ Dictionary.com
  57. ^ Ian Adams, Political Ideology Today (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001), 20.
  58. ^ What Is Libertarian?, Institute for Humane Studies Archived 24 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  59. ^ L. Susan Brown. The Politics of Individualism: Liberalism, Liberal Feminism, and Anarchism. Black Rose Books Ltd. 1993

References

Africa

Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With

1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.

Africa's average population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is its largest by population. Africa, particularly central Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors as well as later ones that have been dated to around 7 million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster—the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human), found in Ethiopia, date to circa 200,000 years ago. Africa straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones.Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. In the late 19th century, European countries colonised almost all of Africa; most present states in Africa emerged from a process of decolonisation in the 20th century. African nations cooperate through the establishment of the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.

Antarctica

Antarctica (UK: or , US: (listen)) is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,200,000 square kilometres (5,500,000 square miles), it is the fifth-largest continent and nearly twice the size of Australia. At 0.00008 people per square kilometre, it is by far the least densely populated continent. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km (1.2 mi; 6,200 ft) in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Most of Antarctica is a polar desert, with annual precipitation of 20 cm (7.9 in) along the coast and far less inland. The temperature in Antarctica has reached −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) (or even −94.7 °C (−135.8 °F) as measured from space), though the average for the third quarter (the coldest part of the year) is −63 °C (−81 °F). Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at research stations scattered across the continent. Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, bacteria, fungi, plants, protista, and certain animals, such as mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades. Vegetation, where it occurs, is tundra.

Antarctica is noted as the last region on Earth in recorded history to be discovered, unseen until 1820 when the Russian expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on Vostok and Mirny sighted the Fimbul ice shelf. The continent, however, remained largely neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of easily accessible resources, and isolation. In 1895, the first confirmed landing was conducted by a team of Norwegians.

Antarctica is a de facto condominium, governed by parties to the Antarctic Treaty System that have consulting status. Twelve countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, and thirty-eight have signed it since then. The treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, prohibits nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal, supports scientific research, and protects the continent's ecozone. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from many nations.

Conservatism

Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, organic society, hierarchy, authority, and property rights. Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as religion, parliamentary government, and property rights, with the aim of emphasizing social stability and continuity. The more traditional elements—reactionaries—oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were".The first established use of the term in a political context originated in 1818 with François-René de Chateaubriand during the period of Bourbon Restoration that sought to roll back the policies of the French Revolution. Historically associated with right-wing politics, the term has since been used to describe a wide range of views. There is no single set of policies regarded as conservative because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time. Thus conservatives from different parts of the world—each upholding their respective traditions—may disagree on a wide range of issues. Edmund Burke, an 18th-century politician who opposed the French Revolution, but supported the American Revolution, is credited as one of the main theorists of conservatism in Great Britain in the 1790s.According to Quintin Hogg, the chairman of the British Conservative Party in 1959: "Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, and corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself". In contrast to the tradition-based definition of conservatism, some political theorists such as Corey Robin define conservatism primarily in terms of a general defense of social and economic inequality. From this perspective, conservatism is less an attempt to uphold traditional institutions and more, "a meditation on—and theoretical rendition of—the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back".

Far-left politics

Far-left politics are political views located further on the left of the left-right spectrum than the standard political left.

The term has been used to describe ideologies such as: communism, anarchism, anarcho-communism, left-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, Marxism–Leninism, Trotskyism and Maoism.

Far-right politics

Far-right politics are politics further on the right of the left-right spectrum than the standard political right, particularly in terms of extreme nationalism, nativist ideologies, and authoritarian tendencies, all sustained by an organicist vision of the world.Used to describe the historical experiences of fascism and Nazism, it today includes neo-fascism, neo-Nazism, Third Position, the alt-right, and other ideologies or organizations that feature ultranationalist, chauvinist, xenophobic, racist, anti-communist, or reactionary views. These can lead to oppression, violence, forced assimilation, ethnic cleansing, and even genocide against groups of people based on their supposed inferiority, or their perceived threat to the native ethnic group, nation, state, national religion, dominant culture or ultraconservative traditional social institutions.

Incumbent

The incumbent is the current holder of an office. This term is usually used in reference to elections, in which races can often be defined as being between an incumbent and non-incumbent(s). For example, in the 2017 Hungarian presidential election, János Áder was the incumbent, because he had been the president in the term before the term for which the election sought to determine the president. A race without an incumbent is referred to as an open seat.

Left-wing politics

Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy. It typically involves a concern for those in society whom its adherents perceive as disadvantaged relative to others as well as a belief that there are unjustified inequalities that need to be reduced or abolished.The political terms "Left" and "Right" were coined during the French Revolution (1789–1799), referring to the seating arrangement in the French Estates General: those who sat on the left generally opposed the monarchy and supported the revolution, including the creation of a republic and secularization, while those on the right were supportive of the traditional institutions of the Old Regime. Use of the term "Left" became more prominent after the restoration of the French monarchy in 1815 when it was applied to the "Independents". The word "wing" was appended to Left and Right in the late 19th century, usually with disparaging intent and "left-wing" was applied to those who were unorthodox in their religious or political views.

The term was later applied to a number of movements, especially republicanism during the French Revolution in the 18th century, followed by socialism, communism, anarchism and social democracy in the 19th and 20th centuries. Since then, the term left-wing has been applied to a broad range of movements including civil rights movements, feminist movements, anti-war movements and environmental movements, as well as a wide range of parties. According to former professor of economics Barry Clark, "[leftists] claim that human development flourishes when individuals engage in cooperative, mutually respectful relations that can thrive only when excessive differences in status, power, and wealth are eliminated".

Liberalism

Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty, consent of the governed, and equality before the law. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they generally support limited government, individual rights (including civil rights and human rights), capitalism (free markets), democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion. Yellow is the political colour most commonly associated with liberalism.Liberalism became a distinct movement in the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among Western philosophers and economists. Liberalism sought to replace the norms of hereditary privilege, state religion, absolute monarchy, the divine right of kings and traditional conservatism with representative democracy and the rule of law. Liberals also ended mercantilist policies, royal monopolies and other barriers to trade, instead promoting free markets. Philosopher John Locke is often credited with founding liberalism as a distinct tradition, based on the social contract, arguing that each man has a natural right to life, liberty and property and governments must not violate these rights. While the British liberal tradition has emphasized expanding democracy, French liberalism has emphasized rejecting authoritarianism and is linked to nation-building.Leaders in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789 used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of royal tyranny. Liberalism started to spread rapidly especially after the French Revolution. The 19th century saw liberal governments established in nations across Europe and South America, whereas it was well-established alongside republicanism in the United States. In Victorian Britain, it was used to critique the political establishment, appealing to science and reason on behalf of the people. During 19th and early 20th century, liberalism in the Ottoman Empire and Middle East influenced periods of reform such as the Tanzimat and Al-Nahda as well as the rise of secularism, constitutionalism and nationalism. These changes, along with other factors, helped to create a sense of crisis within Islam, which continues to this day, leading to Islamic revivalism. Before 1920, the main ideological opponent of classical liberalism was conservatism, but liberalism then faced major ideological challenges from new opponents: fascism and communism. However, during the 20th century liberal ideas also spread even further—especially in Western Europe—as liberal democracies found themselves on the winning side in both world wars.In Europe and North America, the establishment of social liberalism (often called simply "liberalism" in the United States) became a key component in the expansion of the welfare state. Today, liberal parties continue to wield power and influence throughout the world. However, liberalism still has challenges to overcome in Africa and Asia. The fundamental elements of contemporary society have liberal roots. The early waves of liberalism popularised economic individualism while expanding constitutional government and parliamentary authority. Liberals sought and established a constitutional order that prized important individual freedoms, such as freedom of speech and freedom of association; an independent judiciary and public trial by jury; and the abolition of aristocratic privileges. Later waves of modern liberal thought and struggle were strongly influenced by the need to expand civil rights. Liberals have advocated gender and racial equality in their drive to promote civil rights and a global civil rights movement in the 20th century achieved several objectives towards both goals. Continental European liberalism is divided between moderates and progressives, with the moderates tending to elitism and the progressives supporting the universalisation of fundamental institutions, such as universal suffrage, universal education and the expansion of property rights. Over time, the moderates displaced the progressives as the main guardians of continental European liberalism.

Political science

Political science is a social science which deals with systems of governance, and the analysis of political activities, political thoughts, and political behavior.Political science—occasionally called politicology—comprises numerous subfields, including comparative politics, political economy, international relations, political theory, public administration, public policy, and political methodology. Furthermore, political science is related to, and draws upon, the fields of economics, law, sociology, history, philosophy, geography, psychology/psychiatry, anthropology and neurosciences.

Comparative politics is the science of comparison and teaching of different types of constitutions, political actors, legislature and associated fields, all of them from an intrastate perspective. International relations deals with the interaction between nation-states as well as intergovernmental and transnational organizations. Political theory is more concerned with contributions of various classical and contemporary thinkers and philosophers.

Political science is methodologically diverse and appropriates many methods originating in psychology, social research and cognitive neuroscience. Approaches include positivism, interpretivism, rational choice theory, behaviouralism, structuralism, post-structuralism, realism, institutionalism, and pluralism. Political science, as one of the social sciences, uses methods and techniques that relate to the kinds of inquiries sought: primary sources such as historical documents and official records, secondary sources such as scholarly journal articles, survey research, statistical analysis, case studies, experimental research, and model building.

Political spectrum

A political spectrum is a system to characterize and classify different political positions in relation to one another upon one or more geometric axes that represent independent political dimensions. The expressions political compass and political map are used to refer to the political spectrum as well, especially to popular two-dimensional models of it.Most long-standing spectra include the left–right dimension, which originally referred to seating arrangements in the French parliament after the Revolution (1789–1799), with radicals on the left and aristocrats on the right. While communism and socialism are usually regarded internationally as being on the left, conservatism and fascism are regarded internationally as being on the right. Liberalism can mean different things in different contexts: sometimes on the left (social liberalism), sometimes on the right (classical liberalism). Those with an intermediate outlook are sometimes classified as centrists. That said, liberals and neoliberals are often called centrists too. Politics that rejects the conventional left–right spectrum is often known as syncretic politics, though the label tends to mischaracterize positions that have a logical location on a two-axis spectrum because they seem randomly brought together on a one-axis left-right spectrum.

Political scientists have frequently noted that a single left–right axis is too simplistic and insufficient for describing the existing variation in political beliefs and included other axes. Though the descriptive words at polar opposites may vary, the axes of popular biaxial spectra are usually split between economic issues (on a left–right dimension) and socio-cultural issues (on a authority–liberty dimension).

Politician

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.

Politics of Canada

The politics of Canada function within a framework of parliamentary democracy and a federal system of parliamentary government with strong democratic traditions. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, in which the monarch is head of state. In practice, the executive powers are directed by the Cabinet, a committee of ministers of the Crown responsible to the elected House of Commons of Canada and chosen and headed by the Prime Minister of Canada.Canada is described as a "full democracy", with a tradition of liberalism, and an egalitarian, moderate political ideology. Far-right and far-left politics have never been a prominent force in Canadian society. Peace, order, and good government, alongside an implied bill of rights are founding principles of the Canadian government. An emphasis on social justice has been a distinguishing element of Canada's political culture. Canada has placed emphasis on equality and inclusiveness for all its people.The country has a multi-party system in which many of its legislative practices derive from the unwritten conventions of and precedents set by the Westminster parliament of the United Kingdom. The two dominant political parties in Canada have historically been the Liberal Party of Canada and the Conservative Party of Canada (or its predecessors) Smaller parties like

the New Democratic Party, the Quebec nationalist Bloc Québécois and the Green Party of Canada have also been able to exert their own influence over the political process.

Canada has evolved variations: party discipline in Canada is stronger than in the United Kingdom, and more parliamentary votes are considered motions of confidence, which tends to diminish the role of non-Cabinet members of parliament (MPs). Such members, in the government caucus, and junior or lower-profile members of opposition caucuses, are known as backbenchers. Backbenchers can, however, exert their influence by sitting in parliamentary committees, like the Public Accounts Committee or the National Defence Committee.

Politics of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a unitary state with devolution that is governed within the framework of a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy in which the monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the head of state while the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, currently Boris Johnson, is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the British government, on behalf of and by the consent of the monarch, and the devolved governments of Scotland and Wales and the Northern Ireland Executive. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the House of Commons and the House of Lords, as well as in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The highest court is the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

The UK political system is a multi-party system. Since the 1920s, the two dominant parties have been the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. Before the Labour Party rose in British politics, the Liberal Party was the other major political party, along with the Conservatives. While coalition and minority governments have been an occasional feature of parliamentary politics, the first-past-the-post electoral system used for general elections tends to maintain the dominance of these two parties, though each has in the past century relied upon a third party, such as the Liberal Democrats, to deliver a working majority in Parliament. A Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government held office from 2010 until 2015, the first coalition since 1945. The coalition ended following parliamentary elections on 7 May 2015, in which the Conservative Party won an outright majority of 330 seats in the House of Commons, while their coalition partners lost all but eight seats.With the partition of Ireland, Northern Ireland received home rule in 1920, though civil unrest meant direct rule was restored in 1972. Support for nationalist parties in Scotland and Wales led to proposals for devolution in the 1970s, though only in the 1990s did devolution happen. Today, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each possess a legislature and executive, with devolution in Northern Ireland being conditional on participation in certain all-Ireland institutions. The UK government remains responsible for non-devolved matters and, in the case of Northern Ireland, co-operates with the government of the Republic of Ireland.

It is a matter of dispute as to whether increased autonomy and devolution of executive and legislative powers has contributed to the increase in support for independence. The principal Scottish pro-independence party, the Scottish National Party, became a minority government in 2007 and then went on to win an overall majority of MSPs at the 2011 Scottish parliament elections and forms the Scottish Government administration. A 2014 referendum on independence led to a rejection of the proposal but with 44.7% voting for it. In Northern Ireland, a smaller percentage vote for Irish nationalist parties. The largest, Sinn Féin, not only advocates Irish reunification, but its members also abstain from taking their elected seats in the Westminster parliament, as this would entail taking a pledge of allegiance to the British monarch.

The constitution of the United Kingdom is uncodified, being made up of constitutional conventions, statutes and other elements such as EU law. This system of government, known as the Westminster system, has been adopted by other countries, especially those that were formerly parts of the British Empire.

The United Kingdom is also responsible for several dependencies, which fall into two categories: the Crown dependencies, in the immediate vicinity of the UK, and British Overseas Territories, which originated as colonies of the British Empire.

Politics of the United States

The United States is a federal republic in which the president, Congress and federal courts share powers reserved to the national government, according to its Constitution. The federal government shares sovereignty with the state governments.

The executive branch is headed by the president and is formally independent of both the legislature and the judiciary. The cabinet serves as a set of advisers to the president. They include the vice president and heads of the executive departments. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The judicial branch (or judiciary), composed of the Supreme Court and lower federal courts, exercises judicial power. The judiciary's function is to interpret the United States Constitution and federal laws and regulations. This includes resolving disputes between the executive and legislative branches. The federal government's structure is codified in the Constitution.

Two political parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, have dominated American politics since the American Civil War, although smaller parties exist such as the Libertarian Party, the Green Party and the Constitution Party. Generally, the Democratic Party is also known as the center-left liberal party within the United States, while the Republican Party is also known as a center-right conservative party.

There are a few major differences between the political system of the United States and that of most other developed democracies. These include greater power in the upper house of the legislature, a wider scope of power held by the Supreme Court, the separation of powers between the legislature and the executive and the dominance of only two main parties. Third parties have less political influence in the United States than in other democratically run developed countries; this is because of a combination of stringent historic controls. These controls take shape in the form of state and federal laws, informal media prohibitions and winner-take-all elections and include ballot access issues and exclusive debate rules. There have been five United States presidential elections in which the winner lost the popular vote.

Progressivism

Progressivism is the support for or advocacy of social reform. As a philosophy, it is based on the idea of progress, which asserts that advancements in science, technology, economic development and social organization are vital to the improvement of the human condition.

Republican Party (United States)

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP (Grand Old Party), is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

The GOP was founded in 1854 by opponents of the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which allowed for the potential expansion of slavery into certain U.S. territories. The party supported classical liberalism, opposed the expansion of slavery, and supported economic reform. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president. Under the leadership of Lincoln and a Republican Congress, slavery was banned in the United States in 1865. The Party was generally dominant during the Third Party System and the Fourth Party System. After 1912, the Party underwent an ideological shift to the right. Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party's core base shifted, with Southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics. Since the 1990s, the Party's support has chiefly come from the South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and rural and exurban areas in the Midwest.The 21st century Republican Party ideology is American conservatism. The GOP supports lower taxes, free market capitalism, a strong national defense, gun rights, pro-life, deregulation and restrictions on labor unions. In addition to advocating for conservative economic policies, the Republican Party is socially conservative. After the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the Republican Party opposed abortion in its party platform and grew its support among evangelicals. The GOP was strongly committed to protectionism and tariffs at its founding, but grew more supportive of free trade in the 20th century.

There have been 19 Republican presidents, the most from any one political party (including current president Donald Trump, who was elected in 2016). As of 2019, the GOP controls the presidency, a majority in the U.S. Senate, a majority of state governorships, a majority (30) of state legislatures, and 22 state government trifectas (governorship and both legislative chambers). Five of the nine sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices were nominated by Republican presidents.

Right-wing politics

Right-wing political thinking holds that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically supporting this position on the basis of natural law, economics, or tradition. Hierarchy and inequality may be viewed as natural results of traditional social differences or the competition in market economies. The term right-wing can generally refer to "the conservative or reactionary section of a political party or system".The political terms "Left" and "Right" were first used during the French Revolution (1789–1799) and referred to seating arrangements in the French parliament: those who sat to the right of the chair of the parliamentary president were broadly supportive of the institutions of the monarchist Old Regime. The original Right in France was formed as a reaction against the "Left" and comprised those politicians supporting hierarchy, tradition, and clericalism. The use of the expression la droite ("the right") became prominent in France after the restoration of the monarchy in 1815, when it was applied to the Ultra-royalists. The people of English-speaking countries did not apply the terms "right" and "left" to their own politics until the 20th century.Although the right-wing originated with traditional conservatives, monarchists, and reactionaries, the term extreme right-wing has also been applied to movements including fascism, Nazism, and racial supremacy. From the 1830s to the 1880s, there was a shift in the Western world of social class structure and the economy, moving away from nobility and aristocracy towards capitalism. This general economic shift toward capitalism affected centre-right movements such as the British Conservative Party, which responded by becoming supportive of capitalism. In the United States, the Right includes both economic and social conservatives. In Europe, economic conservatives are usually considered liberal and the Right includes nationalists, nativist opponents of immigration, religious conservatives, and, historically, a significant presence of right-wing movements with anti-capitalist sentiments including conservatives and fascists who opposed what they saw as the selfishness and excessive materialism inherent in contemporary capitalism.

Rojava

The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES), sometimes referred to by the name Rojava, is a de facto autonomous region in northeastern Syria. It consists of self-governing sub-regions in the areas of Afrin, Jazira, Euphrates, Raqqa, Tabqa, Manbij and Deir Ez-Zor. The region gained its de facto autonomy in 2012 in the context of the ongoing Rojava conflict and the wider Syrian Civil War, in which its official military force, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has taken part.While entertaining some foreign relations, the region is not officially recognized as autonomous by the government of Syria or any international state or organization. Northeastern Syria is polyethnic and home to sizeable ethnic Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian populations, with smaller communities of ethnic Turkmen, Armenians and Circassians.The supporters of the region argue that it is an officially secular polity with direct democratic ambitions based on a libertarian socialist ideology promoting decentralization, gender equality, environmental sustainability and pluralistic tolerance for religious, cultural and political diversity, and that these values are mirrored in its constitution, society, and politics, claiming it to be a model for a federalized Syria as a whole, rather than outright independence. Some of the criticism against the region has included claims of authoritarianism, Kurdification, ban on critical journalists, the promotion of an anti-capitalist ideology, and influence from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (commonly known as PKK).

Social media

Social media are interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. The variety of stand-alone and built-in social media services currently available introduces challenges of definition; however, there are some common features:

Social media are interactive Web 2.0 Internet-based applications.

User-generated content, such as text posts or comments, digital photos or videos, and data generated through all online interactions, is the lifeblood of social media.

Users create service-specific profiles and identities for the website or app that are designed and maintained by the social media organization.

Social media facilitate the development of online social networks by connecting a user's profile with those of other individuals or groups.Users usually access social media services via web-based technologies on desktops and laptops, or download services that offer social media functionality to their mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets). As users engage with these electronic services, they create highly interactive platforms through which individuals, communities, and organizations can share, co-create, discuss, participate and modify user-generated content or self-curated content posted online.

Networks formed through social media change the way groups of people interact and communicate or stand with the votes. They "introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals." These changes are the focus of the emerging fields of technoself studies. Social media differ from paper-based media (e.g., magazines and newspapers) and traditional electronic media such as TV broadcasting, Radio broadcasting in many ways, including quality, reach, frequency, interactivity, usability, immediacy, and performance. Social media outlets operate in a dialogic transmission system (many sources to many receivers). This is in contrast to traditional media which operates under a mono-logic transmission model (one source to many receivers), such as a newspaper which is delivered to many subscribers, or a radio station which broadcasts the same programs to an entire city. Some of the most popular social media websites, with over 100 million registered users, include Facebook (and its associated Facebook Messenger), YouTube, WeChat, Instagram, QQ, QZone, Weibo, Twitter, Tumblr, Telegram, Baidu Tieba, LinkedIn, LINE, Snapchat, Pinterest, Viber and VK.

Observers have noted a range of positive and negative impacts of social media use. Social media can help to improve an individual's sense of connectedness with real or online communities and can be an effective communication (or marketing) tool for corporations, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, advocacy groups, political parties, and governments.

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