How everybody is wrong in political debates and arguments

How everybody is wrong in political debates and arguments

When it comes to politics, you aren’t right about a thing. This probably doesn’t sit well with you right now. Please take into consideration that I wasn’t exactly happy finding this out about myself, but keep reading. I promise that you will see why this became such a good thing.

Think about the information that you have right now on any given political topic and how you got it. Was it the news on TV? An article you read? A book? Maybe a friend, or group of friends? Either way, the sum of what you know today has accumulated through bits and pieces of information that stemmed from many sources. 

Most people in the world are living in their own skin and see themselves as correct. This is a big reason so many political arguments get so heated so fast. The thing is, everybody is doing this on a limited amount of information. You may think you have the master viewpoint, but chances are, you aren’t even close.

A Childhood game can illustrate our info sources

children sitting together by a river

I’m reminded of a game that I used to play as a kid with my cousins. I believe it was called “operator” or “telephone”, I’m unclear of the official title. In this game, we sat in a circle and one of us whispered a phrase to the person sitting next to them and they would whisper it to the next person. Then the phrase reached the last one of us. The last recipient would repeat what was just told to them for the group to hear collectively. To our amusement, the message would be way different each time. Rarely was it ever the same phrase told by the original source.

If that’s the case for a group of only four kids sitting in a circle, then how is the information conveyed to us any better from a source probably miles away? How many degrees of separation are we from what actually happened? 

It is entirely possible that the source of our information is missing key points. Maybe the source of your information believes they are right and is purposely neglecting to mention opposing views. Inject lying into the formula and the water gets even murker.

Can you be right in politics?

No! In fact, you would probably go insane trying. Think of what you know, then think of the articles you haven’t read, the people who have viewpoints whom you’ve never met, the TV news programs you’re missing because you’re watching only one, or the vast amounts of books that have been written that you’ve never heard of. That and new information that is being created every second. Basically, you will never have all of the information to actually be right. 

Don’t Argue. Collect. 

a hand writing in a notebook

The best you can do is to listen and index as many viewpoints you can and never stop searching for them. Let us call it “adding to the stack”. Each point of view you hear should be viewed as “maybe it’s right, but maybe it’s wrong”. You then will have a larger sample to form a weighted average of ideas. 

“The person who has many viewpoints is wiser than those with only one”

-Me

When you are constantly in a state of search, you are too focused on researching things to get bogged down to a side. You get too busy to look down upon other people and issue insults. Insults are for children anyways.

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