The Importance of Pluralism

So why is pluralism important?

Pluralism is important because we (America) are a big, messy country, containing in our citizenry all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds who disagree with each other over just about everything.

Think about a political hot button issue where 1. there is deep disagreement, and 2. neither side seems willing to compromise. Abortion seems to fit the bill.

Are you willing to compromise on the abortion issue?

If your answer is no: Are you willing to kill the people who disagree with you on the issue BECAUSE they disagree with you on the issue AND act on that disagreement?

Say your state legislature, or the Supreme Court, outlaws abortion completely. Are you willing to have the doctors who provide underground abortions and the women who seek underground abortions arrested, convicted, and executed for participating in underground abortions?

(If you are not willing to use lethal force to force compliance with the laws you prefer, are you really unwilling to compromise?)

This is the point that I take from Slate Star Codex. Pluralism and liberal democracy are a way for us to live in a large, diverse country filled with people from wildly divergent backgrounds with wildly divergent beliefs and convictions without killing each other.

The only alternatives are civil war, unstable circumstances that will lead to civil war (e.g., minority rule), or majority rule that uses force (including lethal force) to ensure conformity. Fascism. A complete rejection of the pluralistic constitutional democracy the founders envisioned.


By the way: it has become common in my lifetime to say “We are going to take our country back.” They’re going to take their country back from whom? Belgium? Mexico? Of course not. People who say this are saying that the REAL Americans are people who think what they think, and the people who disagree aren’t real Americans.

It’s a nonsensical statement at best.

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