Politics: Conventional vs. Freethinking


Political thinking is some of the least clear thinking in our culture. This is where people really show off their irrationality and tribal loyalties, and spend the least time thinking through logic and consequences.

Most people, let’s face it, think of politics like a club: they just want to force someone else to give them something they want. But of course, this is not necessarily in the best interests of society.

Here’s some recurrent themes we see in political/social thinking all the time. In every case, with a little thinking we can drastically reframe the argument. On the left side are the prevailing beliefs that massive sections of the populace accept and spout without thinking too hard about them. On the right side are the reframed arguments.

Keep an open mind and see whether you can escape conventional thinking on these matters.

I love my country, and consider myself a patriot. My country, right or wrong! A “country” is not the same as a people’s culture or way of life. One can love one’s way of life but still be critical of the political system, and hold those in office to a high degree of scrutiny and criticism when they fail to perform their duties. Blind patriotism means being blind to the system’s shortcomings and injustices.


It’s all the fault of those (insert political party, government, nation, corporation, race, religion, sexual orientation, income class here). Scapegoating is the last refuge of the weak-minded. It is easy, but has nothing to do with truth. The truth is we are each responsible for the state of the world, supporting it by our actions or inactions. Ask yourself: “What part did I play in this?” Did you say/believe one thing, but demonstrate it’s opposite by your actions or spending? Did you stay silent and allow others to do the same? Do you default to group membership, hatred, and Us-Them thinking to escape actually thinking about a given issue?


People should be forced to do what is right. You and I might not agree what is right. If so, you must convince me. Resorting to force is simply an expedient that spares you the trouble of having to convince me of anything. In that case, the more powerful will always be considered “right”. Force is the only social evil. The use of force cannot be justified except in self-defense.


Political candidate X will fix everything! No… they won’t. You and I create the world we live in. Politics is always catching up to culture. At best, politicians are masters of appearance, saying what you already want to hear. At worst they are actively deceptive, hiding their true motivations from the public, and distracting them from the real issues. Acknowledge what can only be classified as blatant chicanery and focus instead on what you and I can do to fix our problems.


Being born into a society means serving it’s needs. We are born free as animals. It is only the prevailing cultural stories that convince us that some human lives belong to others. “Live and let live” is the only ethical and defensible social philosophy. Note that “Live and let live” allows for every possible lifestyle choice, including living on a self-sustaining commune if you wish, or one in which you devote your life to charity or giving to others. Every other social philosophy, by it’s nature, requires the use of force, requiring some to be victims and others beneficiaries.


Everybody should be made equal. Equality before the law, sure. But inequality exists in the rest of our lives because humans value things differently. Complete “equality” would require the eradication of differences between you and I, between societies, cultures, between good and evil, and between one moment of focus and the next. To the degree we focus on anything at all, we are creating an inequality of focus with something else. What’s required by a society is not equality, but justice.


Healthcare/education/food/(insert just about anything here) should be free. Nothing is “free” except air. Everything is a trade off. Every human focus, action, and gain must be paid for with time, effort, or sacrifice. This fact is what gives rise to trade and economics in the first place. If someone has to work to bring something to you then it is not “free”, even if you never see the bill.


Nations are the ultimate sovereign entity. Separatists and secessionists are traitors or “rebels”. There is no “correct” political unit. A nation-state is no more morally sacrosanct than an empire, or an independent city-state, or a self-governing province. Freedom and self-determination means that people may organize however they please, including the freedom to break off those relationships when they are no longer suitable, just as we do with business or personal relationships.


We should just nationalize x industry. Nationalization is monopoly. Monopoly is when we must accept what is, with no recourse to an alternative. Competition is what gives us the power to reject the bad and support (or even create) an alternative. Monopoly can only be maintained by prohibitive force.


The most powerful nations must police the world. Again, “live and let live” is the only ethically defensible foreign policy. The only justifiable use of force is to defend against aggression. Much conflict and terrorism today is a backlash from times when we violated this rule in the past.


We need to defend our borders/prevent immigrants from coming in/preserve our way of life/protect our jobs. Freedom of organization also implies freedom of movement. Borders are imaginary lines on a map which specify jurisdictions of law enforcement and little else. The only possible justification for opposing the free movement of people is xenophobia. There is no single “way of life”. Many cultures are possible (and desirable) within the same geographical borders. “Our” implies ownership, but nations do not “own” territories, or industries, or jobs, or culture, or languages. Those things are owned or practiced by individual people and maintained by mutual agreement. The “nation” is nothing more than an agent of protection, like a mutual defense contract, and has no bearing on how people choose to live or work within its jurisdiction.


So, what do you think of our reframed political ideas? Spew all of your vitriolic, reptilian hate in the comments below!

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