What is Politics: Thomas Jefferson

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One of the first things we have learned about politics this semester is that there is a constant struggle over the true definition, especially in how broad or narrow the definition is. When Thomas Jefferson wrote that "Politics are such torment that I would advise everyone I love not to mix with them." it is understood that he is referring to the electoral and governmental aspects of politics. If Dr. Michael Rivage-Seul and Leslie Cagan were to read this quote, they would argue that Jefferson has an extremely narrow view of politics and that if one were to desire a more accurate definition, they would have to look further than the restrictive culturally accepted definition. Martin Luther King, Jr. would also disagree with this definition but he I think he would have a bigger problem with the advice that Jefferson is giving. All three of the authors that we have looked at would, in one way or another, be forced to disagree with Jefferson based on the principles that they try to uphold and emphasize in their writings and speeches.

According to Dr. Michael Rivage-Seul, we are living in a world full of deceit and human frailty. He stresses this particular point in his essay "Taking Risks in Plato‘s Cave" which helps to illustrate that not everything we know to be true is actually true. He also believes that, just as in the parable, we have an obligation to ourselves to look at all aspects and trey to understand all observed viewpoints. His words enforce this belief when he says "We can't begin our escape from ignorance without the intervention of an outsider, without listening to others." (Rivage-Seul, 6). In his teachings, Rivage-Seul tries to highlight the importance of thinking for ourselves and always being weary of a socially accepted truth.

If Leslie Cagan, author of the essay "What is Politics?" was asked to comment on Jeffersons' quote, I would imagine that she would probably scorn him for his narrow minded view of politics. I am also led to believe...
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