I think people are more similar than different. People can agree on a lot of things. Of course, people also disagree on a lot of things. In my experience, if they hate each other, they focus on their differences. If they love each other, they focus on their similarities.
People want a lot of the same things – happiness, the best for their kids, peace, etc. It seems that the differences are found when we look at how people want to get to those goals. I’ve found that if we take a look at the principles behind political beliefs, we can find common ground along with seeing that it’s really just how we get to that common ground that’s different. Here are a few examples:
1. Most people want to help the poor. Some want to force everyone to help the poor through government taxation. Some want family, friends, churches, and charities to do it of their own free will – leave the government out of it.
2. Most people want to reduce unplanned pregnancies. Some want to do it through teaching morals. Some want to do it through removing consequences.
3. Most people want to stop AIDS. Some want to do it through finding a cure for it so that nobody will have to change their behaviors. Some want to do it through educating people about what behaviors cause it so the people can stop doing those behaviors though finding a cure can help the innocent victims (children) and it might also help us find cures for similar things that aren’t completely preventable through behavior change.
4. Most people want to take care of the earth. Some want to force people to take care of it and conserve through governmental controls and supposed human caused global warming/cooling. Some just take care of their own property and conserve of their own free will.
5. Most people want to eat fish (or tofu, for the vegetarians). Some want to give people a fish for free. Some want to teach people to fish so they can be free from always being given a fish.
6. Most people want to live in a giving society. Some want to force people to give by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor through government – making the rich less generous and the poor less grateful and less willing to improve. Some want to give of their own free will – making the rich more generous and the poor more grateful and motivated to improve, if possible, because they see a neighbor voluntarily sacrificing for them.
7. Most people believe in free speech and expression. Some want to curtail it through intimidation when they don’t agree – perhaps calling an opinion about a moral issue “hate speech” when it’s an opinion about a behavior, not a person. Some want to curtail it when it’s harmful to children.
8. Most people want less gun crime. Some think that passing laws banning guns will prevent criminals (who don’t follow laws anyway) from getting them when it will really just keep good people from getting them to defend themselves – taking power from the good side. Some think it’s a good idea to give guns to “the good guys” who would never use it for anything but to defend their families when “the bad guys” break into their house – giving more power to the good side.
9. Most people want the best for their kids. Some want to give them the best for free. Some want to teach their kids to work hard to get the best so they can be independent.
10. Most people don’t want discrimination. Some think it’s best to force reverse discrimination. Some think it’s better to just punish those who discriminate.
11. Most people want good medical care. Some think that if we give medical care to everyone and follow what other socialist countries have done that we won’t get the terrible results they have gotten. Some think we should take care of each other – including the sick – just like we do the poor – voluntarily.
12. Most people want victims of disaster to be taken care of. Some think the government should do it through forced taxes. Some think charities should do it through voluntary contributions.
13. Most people would like to live in a society where love is the motivation instead of greed and competition. Some think we should force this sharing society upon all people when they’re not ready to do it willingly. Some think we should do the things that help us to be more giving and less greedy and then that society will appear among those who are ready to live in it.