What to aim for in a perfect society (No mention of capitalism, socialism, or communism)
A perfect society?
There seem to be a fair amount of people, both here on Hubpages and out there in the wide world, who honestly do enjoy spending time discussing society, especially what's wrong with it and how to improve it. Yet conversations often go in circles, misunderstandings and conflict are more common than coming to an agreement on any given point, and today's society is slowly muddling through in the background.
Why are these conversations not more productive? In part, it's very much due to the political atmosphere today, which combines bitter partisanship and selfish politicians. Not exactly the best combo for productive politics. However, I believe even that is more of a side effect than a cause. Here's the ultimate cause behind all of those political conversations that never go anywhere: we don't share a common goal.
Did you just sarcastically ask "REALLY?!"? Bear with me. I don't mean on specifics, like health care reform, or gay marriage, or taxes. I mean in the scope of all of society, we don't agree on what we should aim for. Or in other words, we don't agree on an ultimate society to work towards.
And how can we measure a society's success if we don't agree on a goal? Some seem to view a perfect society as impossible, and for others it has basically been ignored and forgotten. Well, I believe in human potential, and I'm certain what we have now is not what we potentially could have. This hub is not a detailed blueprint for a utopia; it's simply meant as a clear explanation of my basis. Even if you don't like it, perhaps this article can at least get some productive discussion going again. Comments are warmly welcomed!
Start from the bottom
I'm gonna start from the basics. What do we want out of a society, as individuals? To answer that, I think we first need the meaning of life. Though most views would certainly differ in specifics, I think we can agree that our goal in life is to be happy. (You can see my hub discussing that in greater detail here. Please keep in mind that I am secular in my beliefs, so the afterlife doesn't factor into my worldview very much.)
And what is society? Basically, it's a network of bonds we as human beings forged under the assumption, which I believe has proved true, that working together we can all be happier than if we were only looking out for ourselves. If we didn't, that would lead to conflict for everyone with everyone, and resources could only be divided through violence. With society, everyone can focus on what they do best, benefit from the skills of others, and avoid the conflict that would otherwise occur.
To know how to improve our society, first we have to agree what the purpose of society is. Like I said above, the purpose of society is to allow greater happiness for everyone. So it follows that the ultimate goal of society is the happiness of everyone.
Now that we have a goal, if only a vague one. The next step should be to figure out how best to allow that to happen. But here is where I find another round of diverging bases takes place. Often, there are disagreements on fundamentals, and without addressing this, misunderstandings will take place often.
So clearly stated, these are what I base my worldview on.
1.) Every individual is worth the same. I don't mean to say that they are the same. Different people are just that, different, in interests and preferences and tastes. What I mean to say is that individuals are worth the same in terms of the world, in that every individual has rights (to quote, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness") that must be respected for a happy society.
2.) Rights belong to the individual. By this I mean pretty much exactly what I said. Rights belong to the individual, not "groups" like race, age, or sex. I elaborated on this in my earlier hub Why sexism and racism are wrong. (Clearly wrong, but why?).
3.) People essentially are happier when others are too. In other words, people are essentially good at heart. This is likely the one that causes some pause. I, like many others I assume, have seen greed and selfishness, and how it destroys happiness. But I sincerely believe we as humans have the potential to overcome this.
These form the core basis that I believe can logically be used to build a society. I've noticed in discussions that misunderstandings seem to be caused by divergences in the founding assumptions. Some might disagree with my foundation, but at least we can both clearly see where our disagreement might lie and resolve it . I hope to write more specific hubs about politics and society in the future, so I figured, to save myself and readers some time, I'd better lay out this first.
That said, even with this basis, there are a variety of conclusions that can be drawn from it. If you are in agreement with my base, I elaborate more in specifics in my hub Why capitalism works and socialism doesn't . Yes, I am a capitalist; I think, with several major adjustments, it will ultimately be the system that incorporates the ideals that I stated above the best. (If you think that's ridiculous, please read my reasoning from the link above before tracking me down and pelting eggs at my home.)
Was that shorter than you expected? This hub wasn't meant to provide a 32-point plan to solve the world's problems, just to lay down a foundation so further discussion will have less misunderstandings. I don't think political philosophy is or should be complex. So long as the the thinking is clear and open-minded, I don't see any reason why we wouldn't be able to address the world's flaws. But I'll save that for another hub; hope you enjoyed this one!