Politics

Political Agnosticism

© November 2, 2009

  • A political agnostic is someone who has heard enough, seen enough and read enough to realize that no manmade construct offers absolute truth. The sum total of what we know will never be equal to what we don’t. We are not gods and our thoughts and ideas are not perfect. Humility is more important than pride.
  • Political agnostics, by in large, are unwilling to buy into black-and-white thinking in which there is a “they” vs. “us” vs. “me” vs. “them” — and only one of them is right. In life, unlike school, the correct answer is more often than not “all of the above”. This isn’t about sitting on the fence — it’s about looking before one leaps.
  • Political agnostics believe that there are good and bad ideas and each should be judged according to its own merit. It is foolish to give a bad idea a “free pass” or a “good name” — partisan label — and call it honorable just because our sacred cows say so. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf. A trojan horse is still a trap. A political agnostic watches what others do — not merely what they say.
  • Political agnostics believe that parties are divisive classifications and gross generalizations that hypocrites hide behind and pundits preach with cult-like zeal. Propaganda and truth are not synonymous. Blind allegiance belongs in a sports stadium. Faith belongs to religious tradition/God.
  • Good citizenry requires a discerning eye and an open mind. Political agnosticism is not the easy way out. To the contrary, it is the willingness to question everything — including one’s self.
  • The political agnostic does not deny that his or her opinions may be biased — that perceptions and beliefs are only as sound as the depth of one’s knowledge — whereas the typical partisan claims it is everyone else who is biased. Partisans are selectively offensive whereas political agnostics are equal-opportunity offenders.
  • It is entirely possible for the tenants of a party or position to be admirable — but only on paper. A political agnostic cannot underestimate the Law of Unintended Consequences, nor the fallacy of “best laid plans”. The strict partisan says “The path to perfection starts with my ideology”, but the political agnostic says “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.
  • The political agnostic does not subscribe to the philosophy of the “free lunch”. For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. Every problem has a solution and every solution presents its own set of problems.
  • The kind of change you can believe in is the change you do for yourself. Political agnostics would like to see people spend less time name-calling and more time brainstorming. Political agnostics believe in bridges not walls, solutions not dogma. Outcomes speak for themselves. Results may vary.
  • The difference between political agnosticism and conventional partisanship is that the former changes his or her mind in response to new information whereas the latter says it ain’t so. The strict partisan says “I believe, therefore I know”. The political agnostic says “I learn, therefore I believe”.

— The Social Critic

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