- Politics and Social Issues
Inclusivity And Exclusivity - Where Do You Really Stand?
Inclusivity and Exclusivity - Where Do You Really Stand?
Recently I was examining several of my past Hubs. I detected an interesting and subtle underlying theme among a few of them. This theme involved whether people preferred to include people of other groups or exclude them. We normally think about inclusion and exclusion when the subjects of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation are involved. These areas of prejudice and bigotry certainly apply. They also apply to more arcane and complex global issues such as trade, immigration, and foreign relations.
Inclusivity is a term often associated with individuals with liberal political leanings. Exclusivity is a term often associated with individuals of conservative political leanings. These views often hold true but certainly not always. Contradictory actions are often observed for both groups when we mix domestic and global issues. Sometimes opinions contradict between these two arenas as well as inside each arena. Within these contradictions lies the conundrum that many people with varying political views face even if they do not always recognize it. Most of these differences reside between individual social views and their own economic interests.
I will seek to explore all of these differences within this Hub. The differing views upon inclusivity and exclusivity will be examined first domestically followed by the global realm. I will then examine the contradictions that Liberals and Conservatives face with these issues. Finally I will describe my own opinions on these subjects and how I reconcile these contradictions.
Liberals have traditionally embraced inclusivity in regards to their views on racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual preference equality. They have championed this stance unwaveringly. Labor unions in the United States have usually been allies of theirs. They have also voiced these same egalitarian views. Unfortunately, exclusionary tendencies rear their ugly heads when economic pressures pervade their world views. The current immigration reform debate has revealed this exclusionary stance.
Labor unions have voiced strong reservations against giving undocumented immigrants a legalized status. Their arguments have stressed that these new workers would threaten the jobs of many of their union members. This may be the case but this is an extremely exclusionary policy. Is it not true that many of these new workers are likely to become union members in the future? The bottom line is that these unions tend to look at the short term economic impacts on their current members and not on the long term inclusionary benefits.
Most opponents of immigration reform are Conservatives that look at this issue in a similar way. They claim that these immigrants steal jobs and get free benefits. Conservative businessmen are all in favor of immigration reform. They need and want this cheap labor to run their businesses more profitably. This is an inclusive stance. Self interest creates strange bedfellows.
Do not get me wrong. Most union people have very inclusionary views on most issues including race and ethnicity. Many people of all different political and philosophical stripes change their views when their economic well being comes into play. Interestingly this same tendency has been witnessed over the last few decades regarding white flight from the cities after integration policies were introduced.
I would now like to examine the complexity of views on the global scene regarding inclusivity and exclusivity. First I would like to view the varying opinions on foreign relations with other nations and organizations. Most Liberals believe in our membership and participation in the United Nations (UN). They believe that it is one of the best ways to promote peace and understanding among nations. Solving global problems such as poverty and disease are also positive influences that the UN promotes.
Conservatives are much more hesitant about UN membership. They fear that our government may become much more globalized. They also consider United Nations funding to be a waste of time because of its perceived ineffectiveness. United States foreign aid is viewed by both Liberals and Conservatives in a similarly skewed fashion.
A second global area that reverses these inclusionary and exclusionary tendencies is trade policy. Republican and Democratic administrations have all pursued free trade policies for the past sixty years to lower trader barriers and create and sign trade agreements. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was negotiated by the major western nations following World War II to promote the lowering of trade restrictions and elimination of preferences among the signing nations. It was replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 but retained these same purposes and goals. 159 nations are now members of the WTO.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was agreed to and signed by the United States, Mexico, and Canada. It took effect in 1994. These and other trade agreements have been vociferously opposed to by Liberal groups on the grounds that they cause American workers to lose their jobs. I consider this to be a very exclusionary political stance because it props up American jobs artificially over foreign jobs in certain industries. This policy may not be overtly prejudiced but it does exclude other groups for economic reasons. Therefore it is still exclusionary.
Furthermore this policy ignores the economic reality of lower paying jobs continually moving to underdeveloped countries with inherently cheaper wage rates. These liberal labor unions would be much better served by stressing increased educational funding both for young students and older displaced workers. This way we can expand our higher technology job base and ensure that we grow and retain these lucrative jobs.
The differences between Liberal and Conservative groups regarding inclusivity and exclusivity show a marked dichotomy in both their tendencies and their influences. Liberals are naturally inclusive in most areas. They believe that all people and all groups should be included in any organization public or private.
Conservatives are much more libertarian with their views in this area. They feel that organizations and people should be left to satisfy their own needs and desires. Furthermore they feel that government should have no role regulating any organizations concerning their memberships or staffing. Unfortunately these policies often set an atmosphere that leads to segregation, removing services from minority neighborhoods, restriction of minority rights, and many other harmful effects on society.
The tide of American Constitutional history is generally on the liberal side of this issue though there have been many ebbs and flows. Conservatives are often more inclusive when it comes to certain business issues. Primarily this involves trade policy. Business leaders are color blind when it involves promoting advantages for their companies. Freer trade policies open markets and lower wages in most areas. Liberal trade unions oppose free trade policies because of their fear of a flight of jobs to other shores.
Immigration issues offer similar differences. The bottom line is that both Conservative and Liberal camps will often deviate from their usual inclusivity and exclusivity norms if the economic interests of their main constituencies are potentially effected.
Let me begin my final analysis by stating that I consider myself to be politically liberal. I am left of center but not on the extreme left of the political spectrum. Inclusion of all different types of people and groups in all different aspects of society has always been a liberal cause and it is certainly one of mine. My examination of my past Hubs revealed to me a very interesting dichotomy of views that I felt deserving of further investigation.
People of varied political philosophies often have their stances on inclusivity and exclusivity changed due to personal economic circumstances. These changes often remain unrealized to the individual. For example, Liberals consider themselves quite inclusive. Their views change when their pocketbook is effected. Conservative businessmen are often very exclusionary when it comes to many of their political philosophies. These views change on both sides when the subject of immigration reform comes into play.
I was intriqued with this subject and thus I felt an incredible need to explore these contradictions regarding views of inclusivity and exclusivity. Liberals are fierce in their defense of inclusivity. Conservatives are fierce in defending liberty and patriotism. Both of these conservative ideals often promote exclusivity.
As a person who tries fervently to promote inclusivity, I must as a man of integrity examine my own life and political views. I believe that my political views have almost entirely been inclusive. My Hubs portray this inclusivity in my opinion. This includes my stances on racism and bigotry, immigration, trade policies, foreign policy, and many others.
However when I look at my private life it is not quite as inclusive. I seek and often succeed with including people of other groups in my life. I am not as successful as I would like. Society is structured in ways that make inclusivity difficult. I find that these difficulties allow me to fall back into complacent ways. This examination has caused me to see these deficiencies and I vow to improve greatly in this area.
The bottom line is that we all should examine our lives continually to see if we are truly being inclusive in both our political views and in everyday life. Many people will not care to do so and that is their prerogative. Those of us who call ourselves liberal, progressive, and inclusive should be honest with ourselves. Many times self interest and complacency take over and we do not even recognize it. That is why we should conduct these self examinations and adjust accordingly. This is the intellectually honest path. I have done so and I will continue to do so. Hopefully this Hub has opened up some people's minds and hearts to this difficult and confusing subject. I know it has opened my eyes.