Conflicting Principles: Sabotaging Potential with a SmileSubmitted by xRegardsx on Sat, 09/08/2012 - 01:03
NOTE: Your down-ratings don't make this any less true and your up-ratings with the willfully ignorant only show you're willfully ignorant as well.
We all have principles that we try to stick to. But something many people don't realize is that sometimes, principles that alone, sound great, can sometimes lead you to sabotaging the potential for good.
What I mean by this is an example I used in some comments on someone elses' post.
A German Christian man during World War 2 holds his integrity at the forefront of his being. It is a principle that defines him. Then, when the Jews were being persecuted and shipped off to camps, the man decided it was the right thing to do, to help protect those who sought shelter in his attic. Defending the less fortunate was also a principle he held in high esteem.
Now the conflicted principles...
A whole Jewish family is hiding in his attic. A full patrol of Nazi soldiers knock on his door and ask if there are any Jews in his apartment.
TWO major principles come into play:
A: Telling the truth...
B: Defending the less fortunate...
He can't choose both.
The key is that one has a much higher moral high ground while the other naturally becomes the more selfish of the two choices.
Which is which?
He can choose to weigh the consequences of both.
"If I lie and they find the Jewish family, I could be killed."
"If I tell the truth, I have a much higher chance of not being killed, but the Jewish family will most certainly be put through hell if not to death."
Most would say that they would lie and justify this lying as not being the same as normal lying, because they're lying for the sake of principle. They hold integrity to them self through the principle of defending the defenseless from unjust treatment. We would see this as the moral high ground... risking oneself for the sake of others.
Some would never the less still say they would tell the truth... and yet again... sacrificing the lives of others for the sake of securing their own... they would tell themselves the same. "I'm sticking to my principles!". The person would even go as far as justifying it with "I did it so I could survive and help others in the future. This family was just unlucky that I couldn't take that risk now" or any other way to deal and live with their looming guilt. Most of us would see this as the selfish choice.
This kind of conflict, two very valid, admirable, and worth copying principles going head to head with each other, happens ALL THE TIME to ALL OF US.
We need to think with our heads, because sometimes our hearts don't always have the greatest intentions. Sometimes the negative feelings we have will influence our thinking in such a way that we justify choosing the "lesser of two saints".
And just like those that vote Obama to keep Romney out or those that vote Romney to get Obama out... they justify it with excuses... so they don't have to feel one ounce of guilt in their decision. They convinced themselves "I stuck to my principles!". That's exactly what both parties rely on.
I had never thought about the conflict of principles until I noticed a post by a user who voted in a CNN poll for "other" in order to signify their write-in vote for Paul, WHILE at the same time writing the post to let Johnson supporters know that Johnson was included in the polls. He told himself he was doing them a service by letting them know that Johnson was receiving more attention that could lead to him getting into the debates when he hits that 15% threshold.
I asked "Why couldn't someone who understood the importance of Johnson doing well in the polls have said they were 'leaning Johnson' instead of wasting their vote as 'other' when it didn't change his actual vote at all?"
Their response was something along the lines of "Because that's who I'm voting for and I'm honest."
"Why are you putting an answer to a poll that's part of a broken electoral process ahead of the positive affects of Johnson getting into the debates?"
Cue the excuses and then silence.
When is the last time you heard someone admit they were wrong on the internet about something they were extremely adamant about?
The answer to that shows our pattern of not being able to handle admitting when we're wrong. We consider being wrong, "failure". We become hurt because we've made the beliefs we fight for in argument part of our identity... so it becomes personal. We make our beliefs part of who we are to FEEL more sure of ourselves and our surrounding world. "I've got it all figured out and anyone that doesn't agree with me is wrong!" Even when we don't say that, the majority of us act that way.
We avoid the truth about ourselves, because most haven't even began to scratch at the surface of their real emotional flaws.
My whole life I've noticed willful ignorance... the pathological denial that people allow themselves to fall into for the sake of emotional security. It usually starts in childhood, but gets worse and worse. A deeper and deeper hole that we never realized we were in in the first place. That darkness is the number one cause of all of the world's problems on ALL scales... between nations, between lovers, between parents and their children, and between all of us that have let us become divided by our unmovable beliefs.
So which conflict of principles is going to let US, ourselves, sabotage our own movement?
A: The principle to vote for who I want to be president regardless of whether they can win or not...
B: The principle to promote the cause of liberty every chance I get and not allow myself to sabotage that potential...
You can do both and STILL tell yourself your sticking to your principles... so... which one is the more morally obligatory and which is the more selfish of the two?
Let's look at them in detail.
The principle to vote for who you want regardless of whether they can win or not is usually fueled by many emotions:
---The feeling of not wanting to feel as though you quit, in the same way a captain goes down with his ship.
---The feeling of making it more than just a "vote", but part of who you are, a representation of you and everything you stand for.
---The feeling of anger towards a broken system and those that cheated the person you wanted to win from the start.
It could be one or any combination of those and more that I haven't listed. The important part to realize is that you have this principle because of your emotions when you self-reflect on what your vote says about you.
The principle to promote liberty every chance you get and not let yourself sabotage positive change's potential is more complicated than that:
---It requires critical thinking and time to do so. It's not as simple as following your heart.
---It requires considering everything in order to be careful of not making the wrong move.
---It requires looking at every possible result honestly in order to choose the best result for the liberty movement versus making yourself feel good.
The first principle only requires your heart, while this one requires your head, is fueled by your heart, and ends up feeding back into it... because following this principle and seeing that you did will make you feel good like with following any other.
Now... why do these two principles conflict with each other?
What if voting for someone other than you want ends up promoting the cause of liberty the most? What if voting for who you want ends up sabotaging the potential for the liberty movement?
Let me explain.
(Please realize that I'm a die-hard Ron Paul supporter who was originally going to write-in Paul until I put A LOT of consideration into it http://www.dailypaul.com/251148/should-we-write-in-dr-paul-i...)
-=Support for Gary Johnson will help get him 15% to enter the national debates.=-
1. Him being in the debates shows the entire country how similar, in the worst ways, both Obama and Romney are.
2. Him being in the debates will get people to be interested in looking up Ron Paul and the meaning of "Liberty" for themselves.
3. Him being in the debates in a time where we have the same tool that helped us more than double Paul's supporters in 4 years time, the internet, INCREASES his chance of garnering the votes of the 46% of Americans who consider BOTH, Obama and Romney, one of "two evils"... to either get the dramatically largest vote that any 3rd party candidate has ever received, or even win the presidency.
(Even though I don't think he is a true libertarian personally, I don't consider him an "evil". To those who dislike him for various reasons... would you rather have the "least evil" or the 2nd worst?)
-=Our votes unified behind Johnson will make a huge impact for the country and our bid for the GOP nomination with a TRUE libertarian in 2016 during our takeover of the Republican party.=-
1. If the GOP loses or only wins by a small margin, and they see a large amount of support behind the supposed "Libertarian", they know exactly who they lost their votes to.
2. If the GOP realizes how many votes they lost because they cheated, pushed aside, and alienated libertarians, for the sake of winning or winning by an even larger margin for the sake of less risk of losing, they not only won't cheat us, but may even promote a libertarian nominee for the sake of getting our vote.
3. Winning the GOP nomination with a true libertarian in 2016 would be the apex of our takeover. The Republican party would almost be synonymous with libertarianism. No more RINOs. Just classic liberty loving Republicans that are the end result of hundreds of years of learning and appreciating what liberty and our constitution are all about.
So now you can see the most positive potential there is for promoting liberty, improving our country and its culture, and furthering the liberty movement and it's Ron Paul inspired agenda for GOP takeover.
So THIS is the conflict...
Do you promote liberty for the sake of these great things with support and a vote for Johnson?
Do you sabotage that potential with a vote for who you want to be president regardless of whether they can win or not?
Which principle is more important to you...
Promoting liberty to your best ability for all of the things listed... or... a write-in vote that only you will remember?
You can tell yourself you stuck to your principles either way... but which way is the moral high ground?
Are you really going to intentionally ignore the fact that you're sacrificing one principle for the other... just because it's easier to?