Political Beliefs Personal Reflection Term Paper

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Until recently, my political awareness was limited to what I read about or heard around me. Young people are impressionable, and I formed my opinions as amalgamations of what my parents believed, and what I overheard my friends parents say too. The news media, and celebrities I admire also had a strong influence on how I would frame my thinking. All these agents of socialization—my family, the media, my teachers, and my friends—shaped my identity and self-concept, and how I viewed the world. As a young adult, I have deconstructed much of what I learned and realized that I need to carve my own path by thinking critically about what I read, not just by avoiding the pitfalls of fake news, but also by avoiding a sheep-like mentality. Instead of regurgitating what other people say, now I feel more confident in my own ability to articulate my political philosophies as consistently and logically as possible. While I prefer to avoid political binaries like liberal/conservative, democrat/republican, socialist/libertarian, when asked, I usually admit that I lean Republican on most issues even if I am not going to always “tow the party line,” as they say. The problem with most political discourse is that there is an expectation to conform to some rigid set of mandates and principles in order to be affiliated with one of the two major political parties in America, and I strongly disagree with artificial binaries. I do believe our political culture would be healthier if our conversations were more nuanced and authentic.

I first realized the possibility of carving out an authentic political consciousness after reading Arthur Brooks.

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Brooks may be one of the most moderate of all registered Republicans, a sensible human being who believes that strong ethical values should undergird public policy. While everyone is dimly aware that Trump’s victory reflects “the alienation and disaffection of less educated white voters in rural and exurban areas,” Brooks took the conversation a level deeper by pointing out that the underlying emotional issues motivating voters to choose Trump has more to do with dignity and respect than with race or even class (Brooks, 2017, p. 1). Like me, Brooks believes that the pursuit of happiness is central to our nation, and that the core principles of conservatism promote the pursuit of happiness. I learned that the act of working hard, achieving our goals, and fulfilling our dreams is what makes people happy. When we learn about intrinsic motivation in psychology class, we learn the fundamental foundation of conservative political philosophy. People need to be motivated by a deep inner drive to do good. The government cannot impose a set of morals or values, although the government does exist to prevent me from infringing on your rights or you from infringing on mine in an egregious way. Through his research in economics, Brooks came to the conclusion that free enterprise and capitalism do drive happiness—contrary to what socialists and many more moderate liberals believe.

Michael Tanner also understands the principle of….....

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Brooks, A. (2015). The Conservative Heart. Harper Collins.

Brooks, A. (2017). The dignity deficit. Foreign Affairs. March/April 2017. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2017-02-13/dignity-deficit

Raab, B. (2013). 5 questions for Michael Tanner – a policy expert who says we’ve made poverty too ‘comfortable’ NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/in-plain-sight/5-questions-michael-tanner-policy-expert-who-says-weve-made-v18251573

Tanner, M. (2017). Do we really need a drug czar? National Review. Oct 25, 2017, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/453073/drug-czars-office-unnecessary-wasteful-politicized

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