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Politics, Peers and Hypocrisy

January 7, 2018

The inconsistency in political opinions is quite astounding. The reality of the world is of course a vastly complex, changing phenomena, particularly the human social world. But that is not really what is going on often. It is not a simple matter of misunderstanding this complexity. It is a matter of knowing ignorance. And it is this, because once we get some momentum with a certain set of opinions that we share with our peers, it is difficult to go against that inertia.

The only people free of this are those who don’t try to appease their peers, those who are assertive about their opinions from the beginning, and refuse to let themselves be forced down a never ending train of guilt responses by more and more demanding peers. These people are rare and often are not best suited for political positions though. As they will be too caught up in their own perspective and will have a tendency towards becoming tyrannical.

People on the left and the right both supposedly want pretty much the same things: Peace and social order. But the left will over play certain state interference, such as censorship of “dangerous” opinions, provision of ‘safe spaces’, etc. While the right will over play a different kind of state interference with calling for more police and military physical control. The left wants to control your minds, the right wants to control your bodies. That is the basic dichotomy.

So when they are called upon by specific realities of current events to do something against this standard pattern, you will find them fumbling around, confused and lost. The left struggles desperately to accept the reality of physical control of borders to the extent they will often dream of a global utopia of peace. Nice idea, sure, but fantasising about this ideal doesn’t help us deal with the current reality that is very different. The right, on its part, will struggle desperately when called upon to engage positively in community projects and ideas. For it has convinced itself that pure individualism is adequate, and that people can simply choose their own values and things will work out for the best. This is the old-fashioned liberty often promoted by thinkers around the time the American constitution was drawn up, such as Locke, Paine, Mill, etc.. Once again, a nice idea sure, but in many areas it is not adequate to meet the demands of surrounding reality.

Neither side can change their pattern of thinking, it creates a tension inside themselves that leads to uncertainty and indecision. Something most people are very uncomfortable experiencing. As a philosophical, reflective person, this part may be a lot easier for me. But I cannot claim that philosophy would give practical answers, because practical decisions often require quick and decisive action.

I cannot see a good answer to these hypocritical tendencies currently. The power of patterned thinking and peer reinforcement is strong. The best thing I can suggest is to at least notice and gain better awareness when you are engaging in such a type of bias, so that you may not too fully believe your own hype and rhetoric and act on it disastrously for yourself and others.

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