Friday, August 31, 2007

Against Democratism and Republicanism

I'm coming to realize that there are few things more enjoyable than self-righteous anger. We relish in it!

Self-righteous anger is polarizing us into shallow thinking patterns. It warps the powerful (and necessary) processes in our minds that help us categorizing information quickly. Our anger makes it very difficult to have genuine conversations with one another about complex and complicated situations, because anger fuels a narrow focus -- and often on problems and faults, rather than solutions.

This is a problem across many spheres of our lives, but it particularly obvious in the political sphere.

So I was delighted to read "The Partisan Worldview" in the WSJ. Mr. Cost analyzes the partisan views on Karl Rove and Hillary Clinton. He points out that we demonize these individuals out of a morally and philosophilically simplistic (I would say unrealistic) worldview.

Rage and anger need focus and fuel. They flare up highest when we over-simplify things to the ludicrous.

Cost recommends a useful "good faith assumption" approach for assessing public political figures. He writes:

"Rather than an epic struggle of good versus evil (with our side, of course, being the good guys), it starts to look like a conflict between competing interests that is managed by a federated system that is animated by duly constituted elections that are fought over by political actors who do what political actors do: politick."

The purpose of their politicking is to generate a response that reinforces allegience to a political worldview.

Let's be good prayers, thinkers, and judgers.

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