Progressing to the Future,
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When Our Belief’s Go Wrong
I’m not sure how I became a progressive (liberal) thinker, because I come out of a family that is almost totally made up of ultra conservative people. I’m not sure if this is new, or not, but it seems like there is a lot of intolerance going on among both republicans and democrats. I’m including myself here. When I hear some stuff that I would call radical right rhetoric I get upset, and I want to argue, and if arguing isn’t winning I want to shout down the opposition even when it means shouting down a sibling, a parent, and in-law, aunt, uncle, child or a cousin. It is pretty clear to me that they think I’ve been brain-washed, or lost my mind, or I’m just so stupid that I’ve been lulled into indefensible positions by evil socialist monsters.
I see the world as complicated, and that the cultures, and circumstances of human beings has a lot to do with what they believe and how they have formed their values, and so simple answers, or black and white answers are not good enough to solve the problems facing humanity. My conservative family disagrees. My family looks at one incident assess the problems and solutions, apply that assessment and those solutions to the rest of the world and can’t understand why I can’t accept these obviously correct simple solutions.
I’ve been thinking about this almost constantly for over a week and I’ve come to what I believe is a correct and simple answer:
Every mass movement, every philosophic position, every political camp, and every religious movement should be focused on serving people, helping people, and solving problems for people. As soon as the movement, or the political ideology, or the theology becomes more important that helping people it stops being good. The further away from helping people a movement goes, the further away from goodness that movement, or political party, or that religion has gone.
Now this still does not eliminate differences. Republicans and Democrats can both want to help people and come up with very different ways to accomplish that goal. Republicans can sincerely want to help people by having a smaller government and lower taxes for the rich. Democrats can sincerely want to help people by having a big government, and by taxing people with money and using that money to provide services to the poor and middle class. The conflicts will be there, but if both parties really want to help the people they were elected to serve then compromise can be found because they have a common ground, and a common goal: to help people.
It is when the political agenda becomes more important than the people they serve that we have problems. When the some Republicans oppose abortion and they also oppose sex education and advocate for abstinence only, and make no exceptions for woman who are raped, or are victims of incest, or will die if they attempt to bring a pregnancy to term, then the position is more important that the problems of women. When Democrats see the rich as a piggy bank for social causes and are willing to tax businesses out of existence they have stopped helping the people and started hurting them.
We could say that the extreme for conservatives is fascism and the extreme for progressives is socialism/communism. The closer we get to our extreme the more the movement has focused on ideology and their desire to solve problems for the people has been totally disregarded. When power, when winning, when ideology matter more than pragmatic problem solving for people then the proper focus has been lost.
Article submitted Sunday, July 12, 2009 & read 1054 times.
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