Wednesday, June 15, 2005

why is it so hard to be politically aware?

then you have to go and throw religion into the mix too. there is so much to think about. and i feel so ill-equipped to make rational, intelligent choices. i think i have rationale for my ideology - then those rationale are challenged, and i have to rethink my beliefs. i think my problems with formulating an ideology - theological or political or otherwise - stem from my lack of knowledge of history. biblical, political, geographical. i think one thing that everyone could stand to know more about is history. without history, how can one make a conscious, rational decision about morals and ethics? i choose mostly conservative/libertarian ideals as the foundation for my beliefs. i feel that i have good reason to back these up. but who's to say?

i believe in less government. i can't exactly explain why i believe that - other than that i don't like people telling me what i can and can't do with myself and also because large governments seem to be inherently evil (mao's china, hitler's germany). but then - am i talking about dictatorships? do i believe this because it only seems inevitable that as government grows so does its power and control over my life and so does its greed for more power and control? these thoughts seem rather ingrained in me. and so it becomes hard to separate truth from what i've been raised to believe. and then i come back around to what i think i know about human nature. it seems that given power, people thirst for more. more power, more wealth, more control. but that could be 26 years of action movies talking. i don't have any real experience in that arena myself. how much political knowledge can i claim via the presence of simple common sense? or is common sense a scarce commodity - and that's why i have the beliefs that i do - because i'm blessed with common sense. (please - peanut gallery - keep comments to selves!)

jim seems solidly convinced of the logic of his ideology. arguing with him can be frustrating. it seems that for every argument, he has one prepared to knock me down. is that because i'm not very informed or is it because there are truly two sides to everything? could there be two sides to some of the issues that i staunchly hold opinions on? abortion? war? america? it's all so frustrating.

i'll be the first to admit that i know virtually nothing useful about history. everything i've learned about history has been from either jim or a western civilization class in undergrad. not terribly useful or efficient ways to gather information...not that jim isn't useful:) when i try and read on the subject, i find it terribly frustrating to even find books that aren't skewed one way or another.

i guess i can accept that i will always be ignorant in some aspects of the world. no one can know everything. i have to accept that i am smart in some areas and under-schooled in others (notice i did not say stupid:) i have to remember when arguing with others that i don't know everything. humility is a lesson that i (and many people in both my families) could stand to learn.

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