In a previous editorial, I discussed the “young woman/old woman perception experiment” that Stephen Covey discusses in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. He is discussing the concept of paradigms and how we each view the world and everything in it through our own, unique paradigms.
Paradigms are like a lens that you look through and it determines what you see through it. Your paradigms are created based on your knowledge and experience that you have gained throughout your life. Therefore, people with different knowledge and experiences will view the same things differently, through their respective paradigms.
Once the concept of paradigms is explained and Covey goes through the “young woman/old woman demonstration” to show how it works, he then talks about how to recognize the different paradigms surrounding issues in order to gain a more complete picture of the situation. In doing so, you are very likely to experience a “paradigm shift”.
You will learn new things, which means your knowledge and experience changes and, therefore, your paradigm will shift to a new paradigm.
I have personally experienced this phenomenon numerous time over the past 5-10 years, and seemingly exponentially so during the past 2 years, as everything I thought I knew about things and people have been flipped upside down. I’m sure that many reading this can relate to that.
One example of this comes from my intense study and learning of the Constitution and the founding of our Republic.
Before diving deep into these subjects, I thought I was well-versed and well-informed in regards to politics and the issues. But I was only looking at things through a paradigm that did not include a better knowledge of the principles and reasoning behind the Constitution and how that all affects the proper functioning of the government. Therefore, when I’d hear so-called experts on Fox News exclaiming how bad ending the filibuster in the senate would be, or why this or that particular policy would be bad, I’d poo-poo it and claim they were simply “RINO’s” or “elite establishment” who just didn’t understand what we were up against.
Upon learning more things, however, I began to shift in some of those positions, such as the filibuster, term limits, immigration details, trade and economics, and many other issues. I began to realize that they actually knew more than I did and my paradigm started to shift.
Jonah Goldberg is a good example. I’d listen to him on Fox News explain why we can’t do this or that, and I’d blow him off as “establishment”. After actually studying these things, however, I realized how smart the guy is and he really does know what he’s talking about. And he’s quite witty and humorous, as well.
That got me wondering about everything else I thought I knew.
And then came Election 2016, and it was like an earthquake that caused a tectonic political paradigm shift.
No, I did not start to see things as a liberal. I am still fully, 100%, a constitutional conservative in every way. However, I began to see things much more clearly as to who was really virtuous, who was really conservative, who was really trustworthy.
When I started to see how Fox News, for example, was treating Trump compared to how it treated Cruz, I had to wonder what else I’ve been duped on for all of these many years of watching them. When I see how the Republicans are covering for and excusing all of the inexcusable stuff from Trump, I have to wonder what else they were lying about all of these years that I’ve supported them. When I see Rush Limbaugh bypass Cruz, a guy that he has been describing that we need for the nearly 30 years that I’d been listening to him, for a guy like Trump, I have to wonder what else he has be disingenuous about. And on and on it goes.
It was through learning all of this that made me dig deeper into what ails the Republic and what needs to be done to fix things. This is what I try to explain through my essay series, “The People Are Sovereign”.
What the series boils down to is that we need to return to federalism. I won’t go into all of the details of that, because that’s what I do in the essay series., but the point of this is that federalism is actually good for all of us, no matter what our political persuasions might be. If I’m a liberal, I can choose to live in a state that is more in tune with my liberal beliefs and values. And if I’m a conservative, I can choose to live in a more conservative state. This way, we can all live our daily lives in a manner that better fits our individual values, beliefs, and cultures, which means less conflict, less strife and more tranquility for all.
So here’s the big thing I would like you to consider:
I believe it’s time that we change the argument…we shift our paradigms.
We need to come to terms that we simply will not change each others’ minds about controversial issues. People, since the dawn of man, have had different opinions, thoughts, ideas, values, and beliefs and that is not going to change. Our Constitution and our Republic was set up to allow for those differences and the liberty that goes with them.
We cannot dictate or legislate a single set of values to a diverse people of over 325,000,000 across the entire country. History and experience of mankind tells us that ends in failure. The best we can do is create a system that provides people the opportunity to enjoy as much liberty as possible while protecting everyone’s natural rights of life, liberty, and property.
So, we need to quit focusing our arguments with those “on the other side” on attempting to get them to agree with us on specific issues. It’s not going to happen. Instead, we need to shift our arguments toward explaining that we don’t need to agree on everything and never will anyway, and that is the very reason that federalism is so important. We need to explain to them what federalism really is, why it’s not a partisan concept, how it’s good for all sides, and how everyone would be able to pursue their own happiness much more effectively with it.