I don’t like political labels, and I dislike stereotyping whole groups of people who assign such labels to themselves or others. What is a progressive, a moderate, a conservative, a liberal, a leftist, a right-winger, a socialist, a social democrat, a communist, a libertarian, a capitalist, a green, a populist, an environmentalist, a nationalist, and on and on and on? Does anyone know what these words mean? There are official definitions, I’m sure, but political opponents spend so much time characterizing or mischaracterizing competing ideologies that no one agrees on their meaning and all suffer their baggage. Demonizing political opponents destroys the fabric of a society.
From now on I’m going to describe my political ideology with a new term which I will define. I’m a rationalist. A rationalist looks to the future and approaches every challenge and every problem by asking what is best for society in the long run. What will support prosperity and fulfillment in our society? It’s really that simple to define, but profoundly complex to realize.
Humans are not highly evolved. We can disagree with the most honorable of intentions. Unfortunately, we can agree with dishonorable intentions as well. We are dangerously emotional and ignorant at times, some of us more than others, but almost everyone is capable of blundering into unexpected tragedy. Rationalists recognize this. Humility is essential as is the discipline required to ignore emotional irrationality and logical fallacies of all kinds. Common knowledge, consensus, popularity, and authority must be questioned. Going along to get along is forbidden. Rationalism depends upon an open-minded analysis of options and alternatives, looking for costs and benefits, plusses and minuses, advantages and disadvantages without concern for the assumed wisdom of the crowd or tradition, whatever that may be.
Rationalism lights the way. Human flourishing is the outcome.