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Vocabulary: Talking about POLITICS in English


Hi. Welcome again to www.engvid.com.
I’m Adam. Today, as in response
to some requests, I’m going to give you a few vocabulary words or a
few words-sorry-about political views. Now, before I start, I just want to make sure we
understand: This is just about English. We’re not having any political discussions, here.
This is meant to help you read newspapers, watch TV broadcasts, listen to radio broadcasts
about political news, and these are words that you will see quite often when you’re reading
these things or watching these programs. Okay? So, we’re going to look at a few common
words that come up when we’re talking about political views. Now, “political views” are
basically opinions about how politics should run, how governments
should run or be run, etc. So first we’re going to look at the
three main types of government. There are “democracy”,
“authoritarianism”, and “dictatorship”. “Democracy” is a process by
which several parties… Okay? Several parties, each one has its own leaders
and its own members, and they compete for the votes of the public. You have several
to choose from, the public chooses. The one that gets the most votes or wins somehow the
election in their system, they lead the country for a specified period of time. And then you
have another election, you can choose the government again, you can choose another
government. You can do whatever you need to do. “Authoritarianism” is a system by which only
one party… Or “in which” I should say. Only one party controls the government. So, you don’t
really have any choice, and the elections are not… If there are elections, are not
very legitimate. There’s one party, they are the controlling power, they make the decisions,
everybody does what they want them to do. “…ism”. I’m just going to mention this.
You’re going to hear a lot of ism’s when you’re hearing about politics. Okay? It just means
you’re taking the concept of whatever the word is before it. So: “ism” is
more about the concept of whatever. “Dictatorship”, this is a form of government
where one person controls the government and has all the power, all the decision-making
power. We’re not going to get into the details of how each of these types of government rules
or runs the country they’re in, but we’re just going to talk about what
they are very generally. Next, so here we’re getting more into the
specific views that people have. Most people are “Liberal” or “Conservative”. Now, you’re
going to hear these words a lot. In America, for example, you hear about the Democrats and
the Republicans. Generally, the Democrats are Liberal, the Republicans are Conservative.
Liberal government or Liberal politicians believe in the individual. They want every
individual to have an opportunity to succeed. They want, basically, to help everyone improve
their lives somehow. Conservatives, on the other hand, they’re more about everybody takes
care of themselves. Sorry, Liberals, they want the government to help the individuals;
Conservatives want the individuals to help themselves. And “Conservatives” comes from
the word “conserve”, there would be an “e” here. They want to keep traditions, they want
to keep or maintain values, they don’t like change. Liberals, on the other hand, want
to change all the time to meet the needs of the people. More good for
more people, as it were. Now, if you hear about “left-wing” or “right-wing”
or “centrist”, you’re talking about the spectrum. The spectrum is basically the range of political
views. You have the far left-wing, you have the far right-wing, and you have the people in
the centre; they’re not really right, they’re not really left. Although, they generally
lean. “Lean” means “rooop”, I’m leaning to the right or I’m leaning to the left. So,
even centrists, they’re usually centre-right or centre-left, it means they’re a little bit
more to one side than the other, but generally, they’re… They want a bit of a mix. Left-wing
politicians or left-wing views generally go with Liberals. Right-wing views or right-wing
politicians generally go the idea of Conservatives. Centrists want a little bit of a mix. They
will go with whoever will do the best benefit for everybody. Now, in terms of how to make changes or how
to interpret laws or how to create systems, you have different types of people. Again, you
have “moderate”, who want moderate changes, want moderate governing powers, “radicals”
and “extremists”. “Moderate” basically means they want a reasonable amount of government
interference; not too much, not too little. They want the government to take care of everybody,
but also leave everybody a little bit to their own things, as it were. Radicals want very
major change. They want big changes, they want radical shifts, or they want what they
want very strongly. Very similar to extremist, “extremist” means there’s only one way,
and that’s it. Nothing else will do. They do not compromise. “Compromise” means I’ll give a little
bit, you give a little bit, and we’ll meet somewhere in the middle. Extremists don’t
compromise; it’s this way or no way. Okay? That’s the idea of “extremist”, it comes from
the word “extreme”, as much as possible or as little as possible,
depending on the case. Now, this is an excellent word, you have “spin”
and you have “spin doctors” we call them. This is a bit of a slang expression. “Spin”
basically means spin. Like a record, you put a record and it spins. So: “to spin” means to
take let’s say bad news, and turn it around and make it sound like it’s actually good.
So, politicians are very good at this. Good politicians are very good at spin. If I say
something bad about a politician or if I uncover some history about this politician that’s
really bad, he or she or their… Basically their advisors will take that information,
they’ll turn it around, and use it against their opponent, and they’ll make themselves
look good and they’ll make somebody else look bad. They will spin attention, the public’s
attention away to something else or someone else. That’s why they are called “spin doctors”, they
operate on the public mind. They’re professionals. Okay? So this is just an introduction to some
politics. We’ll do another lesson again about specific types of governance and other things
that are important for talking about politics. If you want to practice these words and make
sure you understand them, there are some sample sentences on the
quiz on www.engvid.com. You can ask questions.
But please, let’s make sure we understand: This is just learning
English so you can read newspapers, you can watch broadcasts. Let’s not start a political
discussion on the comment section… In the comment section at engVid. One thing I will say before we’re done, here,
politics, talking about politics is very dangerous. Make sure that the people you’re discussing
politics with want to discuss politics. Don’t force your views on anyone, don’t let
anyone force their views on you. Okay? Subscribe to my YouTube channel when
you get a chance, and come back again. See you soon. Bye.

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