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"Politics Has Nothing To Do With Idealism; It Is All About Hard Headed Decisions, Money And Power." Do You Agree?

1197 words - 5 pages

Politicians have not always been associated with diplomatic chicanery, amoral pragmatism and self-aggrandization, the way they tend to be now. There was a time when leaders like Abraham Lincoln sounded the clarion call for democracy, and pleaded as Woodrow Wilson did in his Fourteen Points for world peace and mutual respect. Since the twin horrors of World War I and World War II, as well as various crises like Vietnam, however, the masses have become increasingly disillusioned. Eurostat surveys found that when asked whose interests European governments were serving, an overwhelming majority replied they were serving their own. Voter turnout throughout the democratic world has reached an all-time low, reflecting a sense that politics is increasingly characterized by self-serving amorality. Indeed, the term "politics" can be discussed on many levels, including the domestic as well as international. To take an objective view with regards to the question of whether politics is about noble aspirations or pragmatic self-interest, we must bear in mind that it is not easy to generalize because of the plethora of situations that exist today. Furthermore, we have to question: has politics been burdened with an unfair responsibility too heavy to bear?On the international level, we still see a whole range of idealistic concepts being sounded and propounded. If anything, the level of idealism in international politics seems to have increased. From the signing of the International Declaration of Human Rights at the San Francisco Conference in 1945, a welter of protocols and conventions regarding any issue from genocide to women's rights have been created. With the United Nations at the forefront of this "humanitarian revolution", the issue of fundamental human rights cannot be avoided in politics today. This idealism in international politics has an inevitable effect on the domestic arena, as politicians increasingly support such ideals as democratization which offers equal rights to all. Indeed, in the past three decades, two thirds of countries which were non-democratic thirty years ago have held democratic elections. Thus we see that on the ideological level, democracy as the new Holy Grail has imbued politics with a noble hope.Increasingly, the ideal is not just to build a better world for one's own country, but to cooperate globally to raise living standards and end oppression for all states. Conferences like the Millennium Summit call for "Freedom from Fear" and "Freedom for Want", firmly supported by the leaders of countries ranging from America to Nigeria. As such, it is difficult to claim that politics has absolutely nothing to do with idealism.However, paradoxically, the most noble-sounding of politicians may also be the most self-serving. Indeed, precisely because of the embracing of humanitarianism and democracy as the new order of international politics, leaders find it in their interests to gain political currency by fervently espousing ideals on...

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