By reading through other peoples writings, it becomes evident that many people identify with political ideologies. “Progressive”, “conservative”, “libertarian”, “feminist”, “environmentalist”, “nationalist”, “socialist”, “capitalist” (and many others) are words people use to describe themselves, their attitudes and how they see the world. The ideas behind these words are used as a basis to analyse and form opinions on a wide range issues and form suggestions towards ideal policies. The stronger someone identifies with a particular word, the more they will hold up the concepts as some form of absolute right or unavoidable truth; yet when the ideas are taken to the extreme few if any will continue to stand behind them. It’s as if the ideas behind these philosophies don’t form the basis of analysis or judgements, rather some assessment is being made at some lower level using more fundamental rules.
This post is partly inspired by a talk I watched a while ago by Jonathan Haidt, in which he covers the moral roots that he sees as forming the basis of these political ideologies. It clarified for me why I was so uncomfortable with identifying myself with any particular ideology. If I had to label how I analyse issues, I’d probably go for the word inclusivism, something normally associated with religious beliefs but I think sums up well how I approach political ideologies. Primarily that if someone is prepared to argue a position, let alone identify with it, then chances are that there is some element of truth in what they are saying. My approach is to try to understand and identify that element; and then to attempt to include it into my own views. This of course leads to the reasons I don’t identify with political ideologies; I see a worthwhile aspects to all ideologies but also see a lot missing from them; and my position on a given issue is always in flux so there is rarely any consistent pattern to see across multiple issues.