I’ve got a framework for attenuating the divisiveness of politics. There’s me, and there’s everyone else. My actions and their actions have effects, both on me and on them.
The effect of my political action on myself is an abdication of my own conscience. I can put less effort into my decisions because they will only be put into effect if enough others agree. By the same metric, my own efforts are relatively meaningless. That’s a bad thing.
My political actions also have an effect on others. I’m basically saying. when I choose one of the options of a particular item on the ballot, EVERYONE else must be forced to abide by that decision (if I happen to be on the winning side). It would be much better if some people were immune to the decision, in case it’s a stupid decision for them.
Third, everyone is doing this to me too, which means I’m going to be subject to punishment for doing some of the things my conscience tells me are the right thing to do. I’m expected to obey the law instead of my conscience, whenever they are in conflict. The fact that they do it to me and I do it to them doesn’t justify it. I am willing to be the bigger person and tolerate the imposition because I think I’m setting a good example: Stop coercing people.
Lastly, everyone else is also experiencing these three things because of everyone else. One of the largest and ugliest, but also quite subtle effects (despite its depth and intensity) is that too many people abdicate their responsibility to develop and obey their own conscience. That’s a problem even if it’s just one person doing it. The widespread encouragement to engage in this voting behavior is, to me, a great tragedy. I encourage people to be more aware of these issues and consider explaining them to others so that someday, we might rely on others to obey not the law, but their own consciences.
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