Reconstructing the United States of America
I’m tired of #ImpeachTrump and #LiberalismIsAMentalDisorder because I just don’t think it’s fair. America isn’t about two sides waging a bloody war on one another, it’s about a joint venture in freedom. You’re supposed to work with your fellow citizens — not treat them as ‘political opponents’.
The recent political madness reaches beyond Trump. On one hand, there’s a Frankfurt-Marxist lineage, on the other a National Socialist-inspired ‘Alt-Right’ movement. Both are anti-Democratic because they refuse to leave room for alternative or conflicting positions. If America is going to survive, not just the four years, but next century — then we need to reconstruct our American values.
America was practically built on debate. No political decision has come free of critique — even the constitution was questioned rather intensely. This is because America was tethered together by the same common pursuit of freedom from tyrannical rule.
Individualism became the pathway to this sense of freedom. Individualism did not stem from selfish reasons, but rather to respect the diversity of peoples that would make up America. There would be no tyrannical rule of ‘the citizen’ because each citizen would respect the commitment to tolerate the other’s way of life.
This doesn’t mean forced inclusion, ‘reverse-racism’ or affirmative action measures, nor a culture war. We shouldn’t be declaring people un-American for disagreeing with American policy, for critiquing an American way of life, or pointing out blatant inequities. It does imply there should be an umbrella culture to safeguard American democracy and freedom. This umbrella culture has been tarnished by the culture wars between the left and the right.
In order to unite the United States, we ought to begin listening more and tackling issues more critically. Working as a team, with varying perspectives, to discern the optimal solution to a problem will yield faster and more acceptable results than fighting with our values. Maybe our backgrounds are different, but we’re all American.
There’s common ground in a multitude of issues; the rural poor could benefit from similar policies as intercity poor, the middle and lower classes on both sides could probably benefit from lower taxes, and improving public education doesn’t have to be black or white. For example; charter schools can do more to revitalize indigenous and native cultures than any public school could reasonably incorporate into its curriculum.
We all have at least two biases that are pretty difficult to shake; a self-serving bias and a confirmation bias. In short, we tend to stick with what we already think we know, and we’ll confabulate ad infinitum to keep it that way.
If we refuse to pay attention to these biases, then we’re not going to work together, and we’re certainly not going to make progress.
We need to become sensible enough to end the arguments and put something into action.
Even if policy isn’t perfect, there’s too many problems going on to not take risks — America has everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Civilization and science have come a long way. It’s unreasonable to implement purely libertarian or socialist policy across the entire United States — not everyone wants that. On the other hand, testing these policies in a variety of settings and discerning what does and doesn’t work (and under what specific conditions) may increase our chances of getting out of this mess. The more we try, the more likely it is we’ll find an effective answer to our problems.
Rather than dissuading the other party, we should encourage each other to gather evidence, test our solutions, and overcome the issues the Nation faces.
Policy should adopt an instrumentalist’s perspective. We all have a piece of the Tower of Babel, problems are not black and white, and political extremes are putting too much at stake. By keeping policy open to change and adaptation, perhaps we could more comfortably implement and repeal policy.
One potential way to make policy more adaptable is through data. Although this is a relatively ‘young’ idea, the precedent already exists in the literature of thinkers like John Dewey, and in actual test-runs being carried out elsewhere.
Obamacare was tried. For better or worse, Congress is supporting its repeal. Rather than strictly worrying about the steps taken forward or backward by policy changes, we should be paying close attention to the benefits, flaws, and the American peoples’ comfort with such policies. On one hand, we may learn a thing or two about how the economy of medicine functions and how we can best improve its functionality for the majority of Americans. On the other, such changes could really harm people — but we’d have our smoking gun that mandatory or universal health care is necessary. Give Trump his four to eight years and if the conservatives fail to deliver an effective policy — repeal again and continue to implement ideas from both sides.
Operating in this fashion, instead of a constant slugfest-false dilemma, will be volatile — but it will yield results. We can’t know what does or doesn’t work if we don’t try it. By keeping ourselves open to new ideas and evidence, we can find solutions more effective than centuries-old political philosophies.
America needs to stay United, act more Sensibly, and become more Adaptable. If we don’t make these changes now, then our history will be marked by conflict, turmoil, and failure.
Make America a Great Social Experiment, Again.
Agree? Disagree? — Tell me about it in the comment section. Recommend if you know somebody who’s gone off the deep end of the political spectrum and follow for more articles on politics and critical thinking.