Critical Political Concepts
Let’s clear up some confusion.
Why are we arguing?
Maybe it’s just a misunderstanding.
Can’t we all just get along?
Probably not. Our incredibly diverse personal experiences cause us to develop wildly different worldviews. As a result, political discussions often get bogged down in senseless bickering. Rather than agree to disagree, it’s all too easy to just squabble and scrap.
We cannot escape the inevitability of conflicting perspectives. It’s a poor excuse to assume that everyone who disagrees is either stupid or crazy. There is plenty of crazy and stupid in the world, but what good can come from demonizing people with different opinions?
In fact, it is important to understand that political progress can only be achieved within the context of conflicting perspectives. It is simply irrational to expect everyone to see things the same way. It is wise to try and wrap your head around how other people think.
What can we do about that?
If we don’t understand each other, we can’t work together to make the world a better place. There is no doubt that communication is the key to effective collaboration. Using clearly defined concepts will help us correct the currently destructive political dynamic.
When we approach sensitive, emotionally charged political topics, we inevitably bring our own definitions to the table. Unless we are backslapping with our fellow constituents, our choice of words and language are probably interpreted much differently than intended.
Respectfully surveying the political spectrum helps to facilitate productive conversations. We should acknowledge that other people attach different meanings to the same words. Below you will find broad definitions and links to explore various terminology.
Critical concepts from left to right.
Left Spectrum Politics The language of Liberalism
In modern politics, the Democrat party is the flag bearer of liberalism, socialism, other-isms, and generally progressive policies. But, as any decent scholar would point out, inherent contradictions abound when we lump these ideologies under the same label. Nevertheless, for better or worse, the modern Democratic party has managed to do just that. It appears to be a curious confabulation.
The left side of the political spectrum presents a very broad swath of political philosophy that leans toward shared responsibility and other collective concepts. Generally speaking, left spectrum politics seek to revolutionize social change and emphasize the role of government in advancing the core principles of equality and fairness.
Think you understand liberals?
Liberty for All
The Language of Political logic
Somewhere between the polarized ends of the political spectrum there must be some common ground. Despite having radically different opinions, our basic needs and desires are not all that different. It is our shared humanity that causes us to consider the common good and the greater interests of society as a whole.
We elect politicians to provide leadership and cultivate a vibrant and thriving society. What is the role of government, if not to support the common good? Unfortunately, this idea is much easier to talk about than it is to actually implement. Definitions are destined to be different and disagreements seem inevitable. Who gets to decide what’s best for all? That is perhaps the most relevant question of our time.
Modern society is struggling to juggle and define the plethora of policies that are intended to facilitate the greater good. Viscous debate has created a bitter political divide. Political camps on the left and right have become entrenched. Politicians have become enriched and empowered. Americans have become confused. We need change.
It’s time we seek fresh perspective and logical solutions.
Right Spectrum Politics The language of Conservatism
In modern politics, the Republican party is said to be the party of conservatism, traditionalism, constitutionalism, and a few other loosely affiliated -isms. Unfortunately, this grouping and convolution of terms is just as detrimental to political discourse as it is with liberalism. Again, the extent of agreement on definitions and policy is highly ambiguous. Curiosity begs a closer look.
Right spectrum politics strongly support individual liberty while generally stressing limited government regulation and fiscal restraint. Broadly speaking, conservatives support traditional values and resist radical social change in favor of a more gradual adaptation of new ideas. Conservatism also heavily emphasizes the role of the constitution in preserving the American way of life.
So, do you think you understand conservatives?
Are we really still 'United'? That's a damn good question.
A Deep and Wide Divide
When talking politics, there is usually only one thing that is abundantly clear. No one has all the answers. At the very same time, not everyone can be right. Attempting to evaluate all the different perspectives would be an exhausting task, if not down right impossible. Slippery and shifting definitions make it very difficult to understand where someone is coming from, let alone decide who makes the most sense.
Attempting to declare one side more right than the other is just picking a political fight. Moving in a more positive direction, we can frame the conversation with more interesting questions:
- What is the source and purpose of political authority?
- How would you define an effective government?
- Who should decide what’s in your best interest?
Considering such enticing questions requires considerable mental resource. Lucky for you, we’ve outlined logical perspectives on these questions and many more. You might start here.