The Cure for What Ails U.S. -
Become a Humilitarian
Gurus throughout the ages have told us, “What you resist persists.”
Christ, Buddha, or - if you prefer a more modern teacher, Krishnamurti or Neale Donald Walsch - have given us versions of that wisdom. It is a truism closely related to another: “what you focus on, you make bigger”. For a rendering closer to that one, try Tony Robbins or Zig Ziglar.
And if, as in American politics today, you’re resisting divisiveness and an aggressive “us vs. them” mentality that cares little about what happens to “them” because they are clearly less caring or smart than “us”, then rest assured that whatever (or whomever) you are resisting is feeding off your resistance.
You don’t fight fire with fire.
You smother it in water, or suffocate it by sucking all the air out of its vicinity.
Similarly, you don’t resist darkness.
You light a light.
And light doesn’t resist darkness, either. It just replaces it.
To quote another great man, Martin Luther King: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that."
You can’t resist darkness: you can only replace it. You can’t resist hate: you can only replace it with Love.
T’was ever thus. T’will ever be.
The darkness of Americans politics today has a few fundamental aspects. They include the impinging of people’s rights because of the groups they are identified with; the selective use and abuse of facts (or non-facts) to serve political agendas; and the assertion of moral and intellectual superiority by some over others.
All of those do warrant resisting. But while many of us would like to believe that it’s only our opponents who engage in such tactics, an increasing number of Americans are seeing that no part of the political spectrum or ideology has a monopoly on them.
They see fire being fought with fire, darkness being fought with darkness, and, therefore, well- intentioned efforts making things worse.
If today’s politics are the darkness, then what, and where, is the light?
What would a politics of Love look like?
Humilitarianism – a Politics of Humility
The answer, and the only permanent way out of America’s malaise, is humilitarianism – which isn’t a political viewpoint at all. Rather, it’s a way of doing politics - humbly and with mutual respect.
It’s not progressive or conservative, libertarian or green.
To be humilitarian is to be any of those things, or none, but with the tribalism and self-righteousness stripped out.
It’s less a political position than a meta-political one: a way of engaging each other and actually “doing politics”.
It’s what 70% of America already knows that America needs, but hasn’t yet been positively formulated.
It’s time to do so.
Humilitarian People are Humble
- There’s something I don’t know, the knowing of which could change everything.
- I can judge ideas without judging people.
- The experiences of others are data. I don’t get to ignore them just because they don’t support my principles or beliefs. In fact, I should look for people and data that disagree with my views (just as in science) so that I can move closer to the truth.
- I should measure my compassion by the good that I do - not the strength of my intentions.
- When I don't have all the data, being precise or certain isn’t the same as being right.
- A moral commitment to improving lives must always be stronger than an ideological commitment to a particular way of doing so.
Humilitarian Interactions are Kind
- Different people have different moral intuitions. Justice requires that they are understood.
- Productive discourse depends on respectfully hearing out the other guy, genuinely trying to understand his views and motivations, and representing them as honestly as I can.
- If I disrespect my opponents, I don’t get to claim that I care more for others than they do.
- Someone with different principles from mine can be as principled as I.
Humilitarian Politics are Loving
- The only legitimate ends of politics are people.
- I dont know better than you what is best for you.
- “First, Do No Harm”, works in politics, too.
- The moral burden is on those who would use politics to impose their views on others.
- Policies must be tested against human outcomes, and revised if the outcomes aren’t as expected.
- Politics must be conducted with enough humility to admit and put right unintended
consequences of policies.
- Policies shouldn’t target symptoms without understanding causes.
Being a Light in the Darkness Takes More than Being Right in the Wrongness.
Any humilitarian, whatever their political beliefs, is a light to America’s present darkness.
To change American politics, you must be a light in the darkness – not just right in the wrongness.
So don’t wait for politics to change and bemoan it in the meanwhile.
Instead, declare yourself a humilitarian.
The problem is not “them”, whoever you think “they” are. Rather, it is the very idea that politics is about“us vs. them” at all.
You see, there is no them unless we keep making it so.
So what will it be — more division dressed up as resistance against those who seek to divide?
Or a coming together of humilitarians on every side of every issue – and a coming together of America?
You don’t have to wait for America to get better, because America is you.