by Alex Arnold
Partisanism is arguably the most dangerous thing that could ever happen to a government system.
In order for there to be (truly) fair elections, a candidate must be able to make a case for themselves and their policies without any sort of bias hindering them. This is obviously an impossible dream that will never be fully realized by human government, but hear me out. Although it goes without saying that no human being will ever be completely free from any form of bias, this shouldn’t be relevant when considering political elections because logic is a subject that defies bias.
Specifically, regarding what party someone is in, we ought to be able to consider all of a person’s arguments for themselves and their policies without having to consider their overall political ideology.
In a perfect world, this would be true, and we would only judge candidates based on them as individuals and not what party they are in. This is a simplified argument that doesn’t take into account other factors (such as what friends that candidate has because of their party, etc.) but I think it is a strong illustration of a problem that many individuals face.
Our inability to evaluate someone’s arguments without first considering where they belong is representative of our inability to make the right choice when it impedes on our personal preferences. For example, we will viciously attack a stranger for committing an immoral act but then offer excuses for a friend who does the same. Loyalty is a very valuable trait, as is compassion, and we should consider situations on a case-by-case basis (this should not be used to support the faulty and stupid “nobody can judge me because of my circumstances” and “everything is right according to the individual” philosophy, as it is today) to the best of our ability.
While partisan politics and biased social judgment are definitely issues, there is something far more fatal to someone’s character. When someone does something controversial, their first defense is often to compare their action to what others have done. That can either look like “This was right because X also did this” or “It wasn’t that bad because Y did something worse.”
First of all, just because the crowd is doing something doesn’t give you or anyone else the right to jump on the bandwagon. The only exception is if the source you’re being compared to is a higher authority, but there are a lot of qualifications here.
Secondly, I believe one of the biggest problems with our culture today is that we make excuses for our actions because other people are either doing it with us or doing something worse. What is the point of riding on a taller horse if both horses are drowning?
Everyone needs to constantly remind themselves of the old phrase “others can; you cannot.” If someone desires to be the best version of themselves possible, they should hold themselves to a higher standard than what is expected of everyone else. Professional athletes don’t get where they are by taking the shortcuts that are acceptable for other people who don’t have the same extreme goals.
The same applies to character and legacy. Nobody is in a history book because they did what was acceptable, but because they did what they needed to do and/or didn’t do what they didn’t need to do. If someone else wants to be gluttonous, lazy, lustful, or self-ruining, what credit does that give you to do the same? Be hard on yourself and easy on others.