Friday, January 22, 2016

Let's Venn-Diagram our Utopias

Neither conservatives nor liberals are happy with the current state of affairs. We have in common the desire for a better, safer, kinder world. The differences of opinion aren't about whether the world should get better. They're slight differences of what a better world looks like, neither of which is remotely antagonistic to the other side's worldview.

One group believes that our social and political structures can and should reflect the values we hold individually in terms of looking out for one another, helping those in need, and expressing gratitude for what we have by showing generosity towards those with less.

The other believes that individuals aren't living up to the moral guidance and order our current societal structures offer, and that only by reinforcing certain kinds of self-denial and self-discipline can a society help its individuals reach their personal moral potential, thereby creating a moral society.

So you can see that we're focusing on different aspects of paradise here: on the one hand, we're daydreaming about a world in which everyone is more patient, generous, and loving towards one another; on the other side, they're daydreaming about everyone working hard, contributing to their communities, and coming to enjoy the benefits of self-reliance, self-discipline, and tangibly benefiting the people you love.

They're both worthy visions, and depending on how we get there, they're not even slightly incompatible.

We need to stop attacking each other over our various differences of opinion (granted, there are many) and start focusing on the aspect's of one another's visions that we can get on board with. Instead of attempting to destroy one another's strongholds of moral opinion, we could seek truces. Instead of finding reasons to oppose one another, we could join together to build towards both visions of paradise, and together create something that would more closely resemble everyone's ideals.

True, neither will be quite perfect, both will require adjustment and compromise, but I'm willing to bet the finished product of that concerted effort would be a damn sight better than what we have now.

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