Politics -Vs- Statecraft

Posted by Michael Penney on

Somehow they’ve become, literally, synonymous. When they are truly opposing subjects.


Politics: the art or science of government [Merriam-Webster]

a : the art or science of government

b : the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy

c : the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government


Politicians are good at campaigning and gaining power.


Statecraft: the art or skill of conducting government affairs [Merriam-Webster]


Statesman understand governance and work diligently to master the understanding of government.

One masters the art of winning elections. The other masters the art of governance.  Political science is taught in universities around the globe. How about statesmanship or statecraft?

One could say those studying for their jurist doctorate are studying statecraft to a degree. However, with all of the specialties found inside of the law profession, it’s easy to see how only a select few would venture toward a thorough understanding of statesmanship. It’s thought that “lawyer-ing” is to be a statesman. If that is true shouldn’t lawyers also have a strong understanding of the society they are helping to govern? How does one achieve this level of understanding when they are encouraged to dive deeper into the specialty of law they’ve found their strength in?  Rigorous study will diminish a broad understanding of the law; hence why lawyers always name their specialty, even constitutional attorneys.

Without claiming to be an expert on the law, I believe it to be naive that the average attorney could possess any of the desired qualities needed to govern, without further cultural study abroad. So, the pool of applicable statesman shrinks even further into those who’ve gone through fellowships and other cultural understanding studies.

What this manifests into is a select few of faux statesman who’ve consolidated power, rather than a cast of statesman who know how to properly lead. That’s the key trait missing, leadership. Politicians lead parties. Statesman carry out a vision and lead.

In a world full of politicians, I find myself seeking statesmen to lead. That means you have to prove your understanding of the people and what we yearn for. What we desire. That means setting aside simple wants to find the core needs of a people. Knowing the law won’t cut it - it takes leadership.

Politics aside, let’s talk statecraft. - Because #AccountabilityMatters


Share this post



← Older Post Newer Post →


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.