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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Intellectual Honesty as the New System: No Strings Attached

In regards to science (specifically, climate science.) I heard someone bemoan the fact that people often vote straight according to the party line rather than acquiring a nuanced understanding of issues. In reply, someone else joked sarcastically that the best political strategy is to check off the #1 name on your party's ballot with no research because "they know what they're doing." It was a joke, and he was funny. I laughed, trust me.

We try, a lot of us, but nuance is hard, now. To be honest, it distressed me to remember that his joke was a little too close to how many of us feel. Why do we have to choose between our deeply held values and ideas? I know there is no such thing as a perfect candidate that completely espouses what we believe in, and in the improbable instance that we come across one for ourselves, he will be an inspiration to horror in our otherwise-minded neighbors. There is always a string attached; there is no "All-American Man" in politics.

I realize this is my pet issue, but it applies to many others. From what I see, harming the environment is terrible, and sitting by passively as it is harmed is little better.  I'm sad to say however, that as much as I love God's green Earth, I would rather our whole atmosphere catch fire and we all simultaneously asphyxiate while burning alive because I trusted in conservatives who were (out of innocent foolishness) careless with the environment than, with the my vote, facilitate the intentional violent murder of millions upon millions of helpless children by going liberal.

 Yes, I realize this comparison is sensational and non-scientific, it was meant to be. Because I would really, truly rather that we all die bizarre and horrid deaths as a matter of course despite trying and failing than that we knowingly profit from the destruction of the innocent. For me, I feel it is a spiritual cowardice to put even the long-off, eventual fate of humanity above the present fate of one single, God-given child.

I hate our party system, I hate that I feel like our values are held hostage. If the interpretations of environmental science being made by the media are true, then Democrats and Republicans who insist upon pitting policy protecting our Earth (often from  progressives) against policy protecting our elderly and our pre-born children (often from neo-conservatives) are holding the fate of the world hostage in exchange for the fate of our little ones.

The party system is a hostage-taker. And the normally clever men who play its field see their pet issue as important, with most others as imaginary, and never dream that their denials are actually damaging[.] Or know, but are afraid to deviate:

"Are you nuts?" cries the Republican establishment," ditch those tree-huggers: they are putting our children to the scalpel! How can you think of a river when there are children literally dying? No one has the right to take innocent life!"
"What the heck?" Cries the Democrat establishment: "If you stick with the anti-abortionists you're putting our hard work at preserving our environment at risk! How can you finagle with intimate matters over worldly duty? Let women make their choices."

And on and on, with a million other hot-button issues, all the while I feel like there's a gun to the head of something or another that I love.

 And I blame this system. I blame this system because it takes the virtue that comes with banding together for common goals and turns it into an us-vs-them distortion of loyalty. I blame it because men are called to reason, but it has instead imposed a group-think mentality upon our leaders and upon our culture. Because without this blessed gift of reason, we can have little hope in our ability to win minds and hearts over to truth, and less hope in their ability to hear it.

And I blame, above all, the men and women in charge for distorting this system. That men and woman combine forces for good, like I said, is glorious. But that means knowing that someone is for 'this' particular good and working with them to secure merely it, with no more strings. But that's not how it is.

Instead, each politician looks for an issue the other other isn't passionate about, then agrees to 'flip' in exchange for a 'flop.' It's a nudge and a wink, and a "sure, I support you in what you care about... if you join my venture that you know nothing about." These alliances bolster some goals, yes, but the intellectual dishonesty of this 'trading of causes' largely serves only to tie everybody's hands. It gets to the point where the a man will say he will challenge the institution of new taxes when he gets to Capital Hill, then can't: Something else threatens Big Business if he does. Another will swear to transparency, only to find out later that the power of his office was built on keeping certain things hidden. The trading of favors is going to stagnate America, one ill-sought deal at a time.

Do us a favor, political "Big Three." Shut yourselves down. Realize, as individual members of these parties, that you are not accomplishing to the fullness any of what you set out for, and that your missions to change the world for the better are being crippled. By the loyalty you owe to the American people, I'm begging you to go back to a loyalty to your own faculties and heart. I know its frightening, trusting that your current comrades-in-politics will hold to what they now swear to hold without a looming party shadow, but if shady self-preservation was what earned you their ballots, then you could do without the taint of their votes. And if self preservation binds you to them, how dare you call yourself one of our leaders?

We don't merely need smaller political parties, we need brave men and woman who can take up causes without setting down their brains. Ditch the establishment. It is true that are going to have to choose between ideals, still and always. However, even if you must say yes to one thing we desperately want and thing and no to another, do it because it's what you actually believe in it; be idealists, because then the reasonable have a fighting chance. Establish integrity with no strings attached, America needs it from you sorely.

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