Is Everything Politics?

“Everything is politics.”
Thomas Mann

For the purposes of this post, we will follow a standard dictionary definition for politics as found in the Webster’s dictionary,

a political affairs or business; especially: competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership.

I think when Mann offered that “everything is politics” Mann was especially referencing the idea of competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership.  Mann was offering that all of life in all our relations is about competition for power and leadership. Of course, this assumes that the proper paradigm of human relations is the one of conflict of interests. This paradigm is in competition with the Reformed understanding that any social order ideally should be comprised of a harmony of interests.

That Mann’s paradigm has a long history in other non-Christian cultures can be seen in this proverb from the Muslim world,

“So before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab life. It was me against my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; and the tribe against the world. And all of us against the infidel.”

Indeed, in this kind of mindset, everything must indeed be politics. Everything is conflict of interest. Everything is a kind of survival of the fittest.

Mann was not Christian but he understood as the state increasingly becomes God walking on the earth that the consequence is that everything becomes politicized if only because the State seeks to bring everything into its orbit and everything that resists that must be competed with.

In a social order or climate where it is true that “everything is politics” to deny that “everything is politics” is a political act. But, keep in mind that even when everything is politics for fallen man, it is still their humanist theology that is making politics their theology. They still haven’t gotten away from theology being the Queen of the sciences. They are merely calling their humanist theology, “politics.”

When fallen man gives up theology as queen of the sciences something has to replace it and that something is power politics. (This will eventually give way to naked power over time.) As such, politics for fallen man becomes his theology. When Christians are living in a social order where Politics are everything then they must craft a Politics that is based on their theology to compete with the pagan worldview that “everything is politics.” Christian theology emphasizes not competition with rivals but coordination with those who share a common faith. Yet, ironically enough, the Christian must compete with the humanist for this kind of politics and until a harmony of interests, political paradigm obtains the Christian must engage in a conflict of interest paradigm against the humanists who desire to make everything political.

In the end, though I pity the person for whom it is true that “everything is politics.” Imagine going through life seeing all your closest relationships as being a competition for power and leadership. I can’t imagine how miserable it must have been to grow up Muslim where even in the home everything is politics.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

3 thoughts on “Is Everything Politics?”

  1. That “proverb from the Muslim world” is not a proverb from the Muslim world. It comes from the book, “The Haj”, which was written by Leon Uris. The quote is given by the book’s fictitious narrator, Ishmael. Therefore, it should only be considered in so far as one trust’s Leon Uris to have accurately portrayed Muslim life, which is suspect because Uris was a Zionist.

    1. Scott,

      Thank you for the correction.

      Ursis may have been a Zionist but anyone who has spent any time among Muslims knows this is a spot on observation.

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