In general I would describe myself as being more liberal on issues then I am conservative. Politically though I don’t identify with being a democrat or republican.  I would call myself an independent, and believe belonging to or identifying to a political party is a sign of stupidity.

Being either a republican or democrat is like being a person of faith, belonging to a political party creates a narrower lens for how you are allowed to view the world. If you fall on either side of the political line you have a number of expectations placed upon you. These expectations are typically regarding how you vote on issues, and interpret the world.

It becomes a black and white scenario, that misses the point on both sides with an almost 100-percent certainty. Failing to consider other opinions, and dismissing contradictory information. In some regards this may even be completely ignoring the history of your own party.

Humans are tribal creatures, they like to belong to groups, in some respect there is a lot of good in this. In other respects there are a lot of negatives as well. There is something called decision fatigue, this is when decision making begins to decline after long periods of thinking and making choices. By belonging to a group i.e. a political party you can automate the process of decision making by living a life and embodying the ideals deemed o.k. by this establishment. In small bands of people; whose only purpose is to eat, fuck and raise kids it is probably great to automate this process. However, when dealing with a 300 million plus population  this process can at times go disastrously wrong.

Life in a modern society is way more complex than just eating and fucking, although at times I wish it wasn’t. Yet, most of us continue to fall into this automated thinking without considering the overall effect on themselves and even the future generations. In a way, much of society has atrophied brains; not in any sort of biological sense, just in the sense people have no practice or skill at thinking and problem solving.

No matter how black and white you’d like to view the world, it mostly operates in grays. Whether it be the environment, economics, health care, law enforcement and etc. Each political party in the U.S. take strong stances and positions on these topics. Neither side is usually right or wrong on these things, just some sides are “more” right than others.

There is an argument to be made from multiple perspectives, and there is usually a little bit that can be taken from column A and B to form a complete picture of what is really going on. A period of great prosperity for some groups could potentially be a disparity to others.

The 1950s is viewed by some as a golden age for the American people, and for some groups that could be true. There was a strong middle class, there seemed to be plenty of jobs, and wholesome Christian values were the norm. Unpacking that and studying history though would show that isn’t the case. The perceived golden era was perhaps great for the white working class Christians, but for minority groups they were still fighting for equal rights. Not to mention our perception of this era is almost completely skewed by the entertainment of the time, and not the reality of what had really occured.

Teenage pregnancy was at its highest in the 1950s, the levels of freedom of speech we enjoy today wasn’t the same as it was back then (i.e. McCarthyism), and women were getting vibrators to “lose weight.” Does this sound like the image of wholesome conservative Americana that is currently being sold? No probably not.

So like I said everything operates in a sort of gray area.

For me I find it very important to inoculate myself from my very liberal tendencies, I do this by deliberately listening, watching or reading materials that offer an opposing opinion to my own. If I can’t soundly, or logically, dismantle an opposing argument within my mind then I have to consider that there is weight and merit to the points being made.

The capitalism vs socialism argument is one that I see played out time and again on social media, and just the plain old media as well. It was evident in this last election with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both being candidates. Bernie the socialist and Trump the capitalist. Bernie ultimately got knocked out by Hillary Clinton and Trump went on to become president.

I’ve never understood why it had to be one or the other, and why not a mixture of both. I certainly see partial merit in both philosophies, but with both taken to the utter extreme it can become problematic. I don’t think anyone would disagree with me on this.

The best part of capitalism is that it provides strong incentives for people to try and prosper. The best parts of socialism is that it provides a safety net for those who struggle or are less advantaged. The extremes of this is that for capitalism is that greed becomes the sole purpose for life, and money making and saving take precedent over the people living in a country. With socialism at its most extreme individuality is no longer rewarded, it eliminates incentive, and the government becomes a system of control over their citizens by meddling in all aspects of their lives.

Capitalists would advocate for less regulations by the government, and socialists more regulation. When in reality there is no right amount. Regulation can be good when appropriately applied to the right thing and inappropriate when applied to the wrong thing.

When discussing regulations it has to be case by case based on the situation or the topic. It shouldn’t stupidly be discussed as an all or nothing issue, like it is commonly sold by political pundits on both sides.

Everyone reading this will have different opinions on when and where regulations do and don’t work, but if we can all move the conversation to the middle on most of these topics we might be able to actually get something done. Finding commonalities is how progress is made, and is also the first step in learning how to be convincing. It provides empathy to the other side, and it is the starting point for productive conversations.

 

Overall, what I want readers to walk away from this article is that this idea of political parties is a concept that most of us would be better off divorcing ourselves from. We are left fighting a battle of myopia that no one can possibly win when we ally ourselves to one way of thinking or another.

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