Politics is just a name for the way we get things done… without fighting. We dicker and compromise and everybody thinks he has received a raw deal, but somehow after a tedious amount of talk we come up with some jury-rigged way to do it without getting anybody’s head bashed in. That’s politics. The only other way to settle a dispute is by bashing a few heads in… and that is what happens when one or both sides is no longer willing to dicker. That’s why I say politics is good even when it is bad… because the only alternative is force – and somebody gets hurt.
Podkayne of Mars, by Robert Heinlein