Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's Wish: Civil Debate

My wish for 2006 is for civil, honest, political dialogue and debate. As I have stated before, I believe that ultimately, regardless of party affiliation or political philosophy, we all basically want the same end goals; i.e., peace, a strong economy, security, happiness, opportunity, a clean environment, etc. With these common goals, it would sure be nice if we could have true political dialogue with give and take. However, the focus seems to be on winning, getting credit, and dealing blame. We become more polarized and seem to focus on our differences, of which there are many despite the common end goals.

For what it is worth, I was thinking about where some of the key philosophical differences lie. Here is one way of looking at it. I have drawn a Freedom-Control Continuum below. The dashed line represents the current state of balance between personal freedoms and governmental control. The more this line moves to the right, the more socialistic things are with stronger governmental control. The more it moves to the left, the more it moves towards a libertarian view. I believe that somewhere in the middle there is a good compromise. Some governmental laws are necessary for us to be able to get along as a society. But, when there are problems, how do they get solved? Conservatives would tend to push the line to the left to allow people to solve the problems, while liberals would push the line to the right to allow the government to work things out. Neither side would want to go too extreme in either direction and maybe the natural tension between the two groups keeps things in a moderate place. If we can have honest discussion maybe we can sort these issues out.

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