The Preening of Partiality

Freedom is always the freedom of dissenters. — Rosa Luxemburg

As social animals, humans exhibit a propensity for group association, interpersonal acknowledgement, and a sense of belonging. The sociologist William Sumner brought our attention to the concept of in-group bias and the inevitable phenomenon of favoritism through identification (later embellished by Erving Goffman). Furthermore, competition for limited resources exacerbates any propensity for group conflict and the reclaiming of our childhood capacity for self-centeredness can become a perpetual source of invidious interaction whenever the “other” is perceived to encroach on our exclusive space. Fear and the misplaced compensation for fear often results in the oppression and subjugation of those who are willing to express dissent in lieu of majority rule. Seeking solace in the consensus is additionally experienced as an extension of one’s identity while securing the desire for inclusion. Group identity provides a sense of self-satisfied empowerment―even if it’s manufactured, ephemeral, or imposed without criticism. However, no proposition should be above scrutiny and no individual should be below consideration.

In the realm of North American politics, self-aggrandizement under the guise of public servitude exposes the cultural value placed on personalities as much as, or even more than, the value of effective and sustainable policies. Legislation and judicial concerns are replaced by theatrical displays of partisan identification and reinforced by the momentum of mob psychology as manipulated by special interests and various factions of the media. Rather than being partisan or bipartisan, I would propose that all matters of jurisprudence should be filtered through a decidedly non-partisan lens. Every suggested policy must be adjudicated for its own logical substance, ethical merits, scientific credibility, and consequential outcomes rather than being accepted as a mandatory injunction based on party affiliation. Political sectarianism does nothing to alleviate universal deficits in human flourishing because it begs for favoritism instead of advocating for the necessity of humanitarianism and social justice.