Ideological Isolationism


I think there’s a tendency, in the wake of the election (or maybe always), to view someone as the sum of an ideology, rather than as a complex combination of varying gray areas. For example, you might agree with someone on one issue, and disagree with them on another. You could potentially work together to progress the issue you agree on while still disagreeing on an unrelated issue.

Now, however, people are pressured into identifying as left or right, and they’re summarily labeled and judged based on the entirety of those ideologies, which precludes cooperation and discussion on the issues that people might potentially agree on. It creates the illusion that a “lefty” or “righty” agrees 100% with the entirety of their party’s platform, and vice versa, and for the educated and considerate, I believe that is rarely the case. I think that should be obvious, considering the division the most recent election caused in both parties: the left dividing between Bernie and Hillary, and the right between pro and anti Trump. In a way, this tendency is just another form of profiling. It’s lazy, and it’s divisive.

Those one-dimensional straight-party voters exist, for sure, and on both sides, but the gray area is massive, and it’s growing (thank goodness). Identify what your goals are, simply, and whether divisiveness or cooperation best serves those goals, and then view people as a resource to assist in advancing those goals.

For example, it’s no secret that I’m pro-legalization (anti-prohibition). I find allies for that cause on both sides of the aisle, and I won’t turn down ANY helping hand until this issue is resolved. I could care less that we disagree on _____ so long as you’re helping me push THIS through, and when it’s over, we will likely meet again on ANOTHER ideological battlefield, and we might be on different sides of that one, but our past cooperation on the aforementioned issue might make it more likely that we can effectively communicate on the next issue.

I won’t fault you for being willing to divide all people based on a single issue, especially given that issue’s importance to you, but understand the limitations that ideological isolationism places on your ability to affect incremental change, and don’t forget to ask yourself: What’s most practical? What advances your goals? What’s best for each specific cause?

Then again, what do I know? As always, I’m just some guy, flying by the seat of his pants.


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