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Philosophy vs Politics

January 14th, 2013

I see this alot:

My political views are…

This post is about differentiating between political views and philosophical views. I argue these are very different. Philosophical views are ideas and points of view towards ideas. These ideas are propagated by sharing and persuasion. For a particular philosophical view to grow and spread, it must be accepted voluntarily. This is freedom in ideas. Both good ideas and bad ideas are vetted this way, allowing good ideas to grow and spread, while bad ideas are rejected. No one is required to accept good ideas as their own philosophy, however they may suffer consequences of this rejection.

Politics are very different. Politics are philosophies that use force to spread. The standard method of politics is government, but is not restricted to government for propagation. All governments spread politics. They force groups of people to accept a philosophy, whether its some form of abortion, welfare, or war. Whether its democracy forcing a minority, a king forcing his subjects, or a dictator forcing his subjects, they all use force to achieve philosophical acceptance.

The difference makes a huge difference in our society. The former brings people together, specifically people that accept similar philosophies. It allows groups of people to accept others. The latter divides people. Whether its dividing by race, class, sexual orientation, or religion, it divides. Its “us” versus “them”. Its the enforcers versus the enslaved. It doesn’t matter if a king’s sword or a democratic voting booth is the method of selection. Either way forces a group of people to accept a philosophy they have not voluntarily accepted themselves. This leads to all sorts of issues, including class warfare, vengeful voting behaviors, and civil war. Nobody goes to war because somebody won’t listen to them. People do go to war if they live under forceful dictations, regardless of the source of the dictation, whether democracy, monarchy, or any other force of government.

Do you have philosophical views or political views? It can make all of the difference.