An Intro to Positive Politics

Welcome to The Positive Politics Newsletter. Are you frustrated by the divisive nature of American politics? It turns out many Americans are. In a recent Pew Research report, 57% of Americans expressed distrust of the mainstream media and believed that this was a negative impact on our ability to get the government going in the right direction in this country.

The mainstream media is locked in a battle for your attention, and the way they go about getting your attention is by dangling salacious and provocative commentary in front of you. They don’t believe that you have the sensibility to read and understand issues for yourself, and they believe they have to do that to get your dollars. As a result, all the mainstream outlets have become essentially entertainment news.

But I believe you are a rational, discerning person who wants to leave a better world to your descendants. So we need a Positive Politics that transcends differentiating ourselves from each other and looks toward what we can accomplish together. It is politics of exploring and honestly looking for the truth together. It is a politics of building inclusive visions for the future. We have much more similar values than not, but the current divisive public conversation tends to paint half the people as idiots or even evil people who set out to destroy the country.

Some principles of Positive Politics would be these (which may be modified as we go):

  1. Be respectful of others. That means no name-calling, I wish I didn’t have to say that, but I’ve read quite a few online discussion boards, tweets, and that sort of thing.

  2. Make your reasoning transparent and strive to make sense. This means to explain your reasoning about your statements and at least try to respond to the topic at hand.

  3. Be motivated by doing good for the whole country. Nobody wins if half the country loses. To me, this also means supporting democracy because while democracy may not be perfect, it’s the best we’ve got. The alternative is chaos and ruin, and nobody really wants that.

  4. Be open to exploring assumptions and modifying your reasoning based on the facts and rationality. The goal is not to win the argument, it is to jointly reach a greater understanding of what is true and what we want to happen for the good of the country and the world.

  5. Start off assuming others are doing their best and have the best of intentions. Try to see things from other people’s point of view. Know the rationale of the other side before making a decision.

So, what you will see here are the issues that matter presented in a way that leads toward clarifying the essential differences between alternative policies and concise analysis of which outcomes lead to the future we all want.