Dogmatic Politics

I’ve never understood why certain positions automatically claims you in a political camp.  To me, this is very dogmatic.  Dogmatism just tells me that you’re not thinking about why you have the beliefs that you do, and that whenever someone inquires into why you have these certain beliefs, the answer is usually “Well, that’s how I was raised.”  Good thinking.  :-/

To show what I mean, check out what is usually considered “right-wing” on these issues (I mean this on the American sense):

  • Abortion: against it, although there may be some exceptions (mother’s health is in danger, rape or incest cases)
  • Capital Punishment: for it
  • War in Iraq: Usually for it
  • Economics: Free trade/Free Market
  • Euthanasia: Usually against it.
  • Same-sex marriage: Against it.
  • Legalizing drugs: wants to criminalize drugs
  • Pornography: wants to restrict it.
  • Environmental concerns: it’s not really a problem (although this is kind of tricky since there are many conservatives that endorse alternative fuels)
  • Politics: Republican
  • Attitude on the world: Conservative (although there are exceptions, conservative usually means “traditional”)
  • Race Issues: there should be equality but it shouldn’t be forced (like affirmative action or reparations)
  • Sex Education: none, or at the least, abstinence-only programs
  • Immigration: they should get out (if illegal), or learn the language
  • Health Care: it is up to the citizens and businesses to figure that out, government should stay out.

Now with the list above, is there some rule that says if you believe in two or three of those, then you must believe in all of them?  I don’t see why all of those issues must be consistent with one another.  On the opposite view, here’s the list from the “left-wing” perspective (again in America):

  • Abortion: considers it terrible, but makes sure it’s available to women (up to a certain point which is usually the end of the second trimester)
  • Capital Punishment: against it
  • War in Iraq: Usually against it
  • Economics: Fair trade/Fair Market
  • Euthanasia: Usually has no problem with it.
  • Same-sex marriage: Has no problem with it.
  • Legalizing drugs: Usually wants to  decriminalize drugs
  • Pornography: since it’s part of free speech, it must be allowed.
  • Environmental concerns: since it’s man-made, we must find a solution
  • Politics: Democrat
  • Attitude on the world: Progressive (although there are exceptions, progressive usually means “against tradition so that we can move forward”)
  • Race Issues: there should be equality and the only way to do that is to have some form of affirmative action
  • Sex Education: there must be a full-fledged sex education, or at least provide abstinence a choice
  • Immigration: they should take the test to become citizens, language is irrelevant.
  • Health Care: since health is considered a (positive) right, it’s up to the government to provide it for each citizen.

Of course, I’m sure you can think of other issues that can go with both of these lists.  Now to show why these are dogmatic positions, imagine some guy.  Let’s call him Joe.  Suppose he held on to these issues:

  • Abortion: considers it terrible, but makes sure it’s available to women (up to a certain point which is usually the end of the second trimester)
  • Capital Punishment: for it
  • War in Iraq: Usually against it
  • Economics: Free trade/Free Market
  • Euthanasia: Usually has no problem with it.
  • Same-sex marriage: Against it
  • Legalizing drugs: Usually wants to  decriminalize drugs
  • Pornography: wants it to be restricted.
  • Environmental concerns: since it’s man-made, we must find a solution
  • Politics: Republican
  • Attitude on the world: Progressive (although there are exceptions, progressive usually means “against tradition so that we can move forward”)
  • Race Issues: there should be equality but this shouldn’t be forced (like affirmative action)
  • Sex Education: there must be a full-fledged sex education, or at least provide abstinence a choice
  • Immigration: they should get out (if illegal), or learn the language
  • Health Care: since health is considered a (positive) right, it’s up to the government to provide it for each citizen.

All I did was pick an opposite issue every other point.  Now Joe believes this.  Is there anything inconsistent with his views?  I can’t think of any.  It seems that one can hold on to this without contradiction.  So then why do so many people have such a dogmatic view about these issues?  It’s as if to say, if you’re a Republican, then you must be against sex education?  Or if you’re a Democrat, then you must be for affirmative action?  These dogmatic ideas, I think, are part of the problem on why people don’t think, or even want to think.  They have this attitude of “I already know what I believe in.”  Yes, but my reply is always why do you believe that?  The answer is usually not satisfactory.  What would I like to see?  I would like to see more Joes in the world.  Not in the sense of people having these different beliefs and not know why, but people having a variety of beliefs because they don’t fall into dogmatism.

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About shaunmiller

I am a Ph. D student at Marquette University. The primary purpose of this blog is to get my ideas out there, and then have other people scrutinize, critique, build upon, and systematize beliefs. This blog will sometimes pertain to what I'm learning in my classes, but it will occasionally deal with non-classroom issues that I'm thinking about as well.
This entry was posted in Culture, Education, Paper Topic, Respect, Rights, Values. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Dogmatic Politics

  1. Killer J says:

    Most of those issues have some commonality in terms of belief system. That’s why people probably adhere to a lot of one side or the other.

    There are some inconsistencies, as some conservative or liberal values are social and others are fiscal. THIS is where you’re more likely to find inconsistency.

  2. shaunmiller says:

    But I mean all the time? I’ve never met anyone who was pro-life but also against capital punishment, or vice versa. What do abortion and capital punishment have to do with another that makes it have this connection? It’s always pro-life and for capital punishment or vice versa. But why? I don’t see any connection.

    Or how about solving global warming concerns, but still have a conservative (traditional) outlook of the world? It seems that one is saying if you’re for the environment, then you’re automatically a Democrat is being dogmatic.

    Even with the differences of social and fiscal differences, I can still see someone being pro-choice but wanting a fair trade economy. What gives? How come we don’t see people like this?

  3. shaunmiller says:

    But I mean all the time? I’ve never met anyone who was pro-life but also against capital punishment, or vice versa. What do abortion and capital punishment have to do with another that makes it have this connection? It’s always pro-life and for capital punishment or vice versa. But why? I don’t see any connection.

    Or how about solving global warming concerns, but still have a conservative (traditional) outlook of the world? It seems that one is saying if you’re for the environment, then you’re automatically a Democrat is being dogmatic.

    Even with the differences of social and fiscal differences, I can still see someone being pro-choice but wanting a fair trade economy. What gives? How come we don’t see people like this?

  4. Killer J says:

    The connection between pro life and capital punishment has to do with protecting innocent defensless lives and ridding the world of guilty predators. Easy connection. That’s not your point though, and we’re off topic.

    Anyway, I do agree with you to a point.

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