Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Why can't we all just get along?
The trouble with the world is that there are so many ideological differences – in politics, in religion and so on – and it is these differences that stop people getting along with one another.
To take politics in the UK, for example, the major political parties are separated by the way they view human beings, whether they can get along with each other or whether they need to be told what to do. There is never going to be any acceptable middle ground in this type of ideological conflict. Socialists believe that humans will inevitably form communities due to our social nature and that these communities should look after those less able to look after themselves, which leads to them increasing public spending on social benefits and public services that, supposedly, make our society a more equal one. Conservatives are traditionalists who believe that humans are imperfect and, therefore, require a more authoritarian rule to keep them in order. Conservatives seem, on the whole, to be more in favour of cutting public spending and making people stand on their own two feet whilst maintaining an authoritarian control on them. Liberals, on the other hand, believe in the individual’s right for freedom, reason and justice whilst ensuring that the society they build is a tolerant one. A liberal society is meant to be a meritocracy in which individuals rise due to their labours and not through wealth.
Now, while liberals and socialists are closer in their views of human beings as social creatures, the liberal idea of a meritocracy does not really fit with the socialist view of the redistribution of wealth to the less fortunate and neither view works with the conservative view of the human race. And so the dispute over which view is superior and/or correct continues. This, of course, makes it so much harder to have a government that actually deals with the problems that the society they rule over presents them because they are always fighting with each other on purely ideological grounds, scoring points off the other party simply to prove who is right. Surely a better way would be for ideological differences to be put aside so that society’s problems could be solved in a spirit of co-operation?
Now I think we’ll look at the problems of religion…
I think that it is almost a universal constant in the different religions that peace and love is at the centre of them, however, it is also true that there seems to be inherent in most religions a lack of tolerance for views that oppose the view of the religion in question. Judaism is, for the most part, Christianity without the mucky New Testament and Jesus stuff that they disagree with. Jesus in the eyes of the Jews is certainly not the Son of God. Muslim beliefs also follow a similar path to Christianity with certain differences and it is really just a matter of how God is worshipped that separates the three religions. Christianity has also found itself split apart into different breakaway sects or churches based on interpretations of the Holy Bible, which thankfully have not turned into major conflicts for dominance.
Some Islamists, however, have allowed a certain interpretation to turn a disagreement on who’s right into a violent conflict that has devastating consequences for the entire world. Surely a better way would be to agree to disagree on the exact nature of how God should be worshipped and just concentrate on praising whatever deity, force or intelligence you happen to be believe in, in a spirit of mutual toleration and, though I hate the term, brotherly and sisterly love? Surely what matters is an individual’s personal connection with their deity of choice and not how or who other people choose to worship?
Wouldn’t life be better if we just forgot all the differences, celebrate them, for sure, but try to get along? The human race will be stuck in a cycle of pointless conflicts if we don’t put aside our differences for the sake of all.