Often we hear the terms “high” and “low politics”, though the precise meaning of these terms heavily depends upon the person who use them. In this post I will propose, from a classical republican perspective, my own definitions.
Low politics is concerned with the (peaceful) resolution of conflicting interests of individual citizens. The aim of low politics is to reach a compromise between these interests. However if different groups cling too much on their self-interests, such compromise could be impossible.
High politics is about the exchange, or even clash, of different answers on what constitutes the public good. Essentially high politics is a debate which has no definite end, because the question has no definite answer. This is not to say that no agreement could be reached, quite on the contrary.
In modern society high politics is rare, as most citizens are mostly concerned with their own private interests rather than the public good.
There is even a third type of politics, which is so low that it in my opinion is hardly worth to be called politics. This type is the battle for political power. Unfortunately, this is often portrayed as “high” politics, not the least by the sensationalist media.