Cost. Absolutely everything comes with one. Â As the old saying goes, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Â When everything comes with a cost, it only makes sense to view our decisions, especially with regard to organizing a society, from a cost-benefit perspective.
This immediately poses problems illustrated by demarcations in the populace:
Nincompoops. These are the people who are unable to even comprehend cost. They cannot comprehend it because they are only capable of viewing things in terms of immediate rewards. Interestingly, this also prevents them from understanding long term benefits.These people constitute the large minority of people who pose the greatest danger to society. Â Utterly incompetent, vacuous, a drain of resources, any of a variety of criminal types.
Dogmatic Ideologues.These people understand beyond the immediate to both long term rewards and costs of all kinds. Â However, their failure lies within their complete absence of reflexive analysis. Â They will very gladly, and often accurately, describe what horrors may await from competing philosophies, then immediately lecture those listening in the most naive and absurd philosophies. Â These people are not so much dumb as they are narcissistic and typically detached from reality. Most liberals, a great number of reactionary conservatives, and every single libertarian on the planet fall into this category. Â You will find them everywhere on the internet (yes, including here).The threat presented by this group is more subtle. Â They create an utter inability to engage in meaningful discussion. Â They are the first to resort to wild accusations and personal attacks. Â They are more concerned with winning than arriving at truth. Â Most importantly, though, they can internally justify anything they do in the name of promoting their infallible belief system.
Realists. A minority to be sure, but perhaps not as rare as you may be tempted to think. Â Realists, in their intelligence and objective cognitive reflexivity, have a true understanding of the costs and benefits, immediate and long term, of any given philosophical paradigm. All realists have or will (for the young) converge on roughly the same conclusions regarding these analyses. Â What separates realists then is their value systems. Â The diversity of various human populations causes these different populations to find certain philosophies better than others based on what could rather widely be referred to as prejudices or preferences (depending upon whom you are trying to manipulate and how).
Apathetics. One last group to examine as an addendum, the apathetics represent the majority of people. Â We live in a dying empire and, as part of this process, our society is engulfed in hedonism and solipsism. Apathetics choose not to give a shit because they find the bliss of willful ignorance a better alternative to recognizing the horrible truths that surround us. Â Hard to generalize, they are the lost souls of the Western world.
To continue this line of thought, let us now examine a few specifics of the cost benefit choices we face. While an oversimplification, it is understood as a basic truism that we have two fundamental options between which to choose.
Liberalism. The heart of liberalism can be most accurately described as individual sovereignty. Â The various forms that liberalism takes rely mostly upon how a given group interprets this concept. Â Regardless, the common threads found within can be summarized as individualism, prioritization of rights, and egalitarianism. Â (Note: the internal dissonance of these points is irrelevant for this examination.)
Conservatism. The heart of conservatism is functionality. Â As such, the common threads of conservatism are traditionalism (evolutionary pragmatism), skepticism (“closed-mindedness”), and order.
Each of these ideologies comes with a terrible cost (duh) but in one of these the cost is balanced by a positive effect. Conservatism, as the side of function over human preference, affirms our cooperative endeavor to have a thriving civilization. Liberalism does not. Liberalism hides its cost behind promises of individual equal freedom and the removal of the ability of others to tell any individual what to do (in healthier times we called this “anarchism”) but when the cost emerges, it is as the end result of the goals of liberalism, not as a side-effect as with conservatism.
That being said, we pay a high price for our politics, and an even higher price for the infighting between these groups. Perhaps we would do better to focus less on political identity and more on what effects we wish to see implemented in our next election. By keeping the focus to issues, we can minimize the price we pay for partisan politics.