I recently heard a quote that really resonated with me: “I don’t believe in sanitizing history and there is no virtue in absolutism.” This quote is very apropos, because sanitizing history and absolutism, are just two significant challenges facing our great nation today.
the acceptance of or belief in absolute principles in political, philosophical, ethical, or theological matters.
Today, we’re witnessing a mad dash to sanitize history — as if removing a statue will change the past. History is what it is, and reminders, no matter how uncomfortable, are needed so that we never repeat the mistakes and sins of the past. When it comes to absolutism, we’re seeing a startling surge of an ‘all-or-nothing’ approach to life — people are rejecting other viewpoints and beliefs and shifting to extreme positions. As a result, compromise is being replaced with an unyielding attitude of extremism.
This brings me to the contentious topic of politics. Since the sanitizing of history and the rising tide of absolutism is deep-rooted in politics, the following story is a symptom of the problem we face.
Cabot Phillips of campusreform. com did some investigative reporting on the topic of President Trump’s tax reform proposal. Specifically, Mr. Phillips wanted to see if people rejected the proposal outright, when they heard it was a Trump proposal.
“President Donald Trump’s proposal for comprehensive tax reform was almost immediately dismissed as heartless and impractical by his political opponents. But what would some of those opponents think if they were told the same plan was being proposed by someone they adore—Senator Bernie Sanders?”
To find out, we headed to George Washington University to ask students their opinions on Trump’s new tax plan. Without much explanation, the students immediately made clear their distaste for the plan.
“It’s not the most efficient, nor beneficial to the general populus,” said one student when asked her opinion of Trump’s plan.
“It’s better for the upper class than anyone else,” added another.
After watching student after student express their disapproval of the plan, we then asked those same students what they thought of Senator Bernie Sanders’ new tax plan.
Immediately, they expressed excitement and support after hearing the details of the plan. The only problem for them? There was no tax plan for Senator Sanders. The plan they loved was actually President Trump’s.
See Cabot’s video for yourself.
Full disclosure, I am not a fan of President Trump. However, just because I don’t like many of his policies, doesn’t mean I reject all of his policies outright. An open mind is essential to a healthy democracy and absolutism on both sides of the political spectrum is very dangerous. After all, we’re not talking about a totalitarian regime like Nazi Germany here — yes, when it comes to brutal, oppressive forms of government, complete rejection of a dictatorial regime is imperative. But in a free nation, extreme conservatism and liberalism are harmful, especially if we outright reject everything from the opposition without giving it proper consideration.
If we don’t move back to a more balanced and fair approach to our political views, we risk tying ourselves up into unproductive, fractious knots. Thinking for ourselves and doing unbiased research into a topic is not a bad thing and doesn’t make us disloyal to our political parties — it makes us free-thinking, good citizens.
About the article author:
Cabot Phillips is the Media Director for Campus Reform. Prior to joining Campus Reform he spent time working on numerous campaigns—most recently as the Digital Grassroots Director for Marco Rubio’s Presidential bid. Phillips is also a YouTube Partner, creating and starring in numerous videos which have amassed over 70 million views across varying online platforms. In 2016, Phillips was named to Red Alert Politics “30 Under 30” list of the nation’s most influential young conservatives.
Read more from Cabot Phillips and Campus Reform.
- Top image courtesy of Flickr.