William, from William Writes, posted something yesterday about politics as a series of inferential projects. I get the feeling that he's free-associating his way through it, and he admits as much: “This, like so much of what I write, is so abstract as to be nearly meaningless.” Still, I think he's heading in the wrong direction for several reasons.
He wants to think about politics as a big discussion group or something. I think he gets this from Jeffrey Stout, though he doesn't mention Stout in the post. The way William puts it, politics is a logical/rational endeavor. It takes a career undergraduate to get into an idea like this one. Politics, in real life, is far messier. There's rationality involved, sometimes, but people usually engage with politics because they want something to happen or they don't want it to happen. When you vote, you don't talk about your motivations. You just hit “yes” or “no.”
Politics exists because citizens have clashing desires, and someone needs to adjudicate between them. “Inferential projects” imply some kind of intellectual distance from the proceedings. That's not politics. That's philosophy.
I'd have to suggest that William consider the role of interest in political movements. He'd do best to get beneath class analysis to the smaller groups that really have concrete goals in the political realm. They bargain and compromise, but they don't necessarily philosophize. Nor should they have to. This is politics, after all.