tk coleman: the distinction between political and social philosophy14 Nov 2017
around 21:30 into his interview on the humancurrent he talks about the distinction between social philosophy and political philosophy. the terms are probably clear but, in his words:
a social philosophy refers to your beliefs about how a society ought to function, and how people within that society ought to behave. A political philosophy refers to your beliefs about the role of legislative force in implementing a particular social philosophy.
and a big problem with regards to race (and many other things) is that politics has dominated the conversation. this causes many people to not want to work together to solve the issue because we don’t make distinct our political philosophies from our social philosophies. we immediately can’t work with someone if they don’t support our political approach.
this. is. huge.
so much about why the world is broken seems to be because of our lack of separation of these two things. i’m not saying that having this clarity will allow us to immediately solve all of our problems, but it seems like an important upgrade to our sociopolitical system. there is potentially so much more common to work with than we realize.
to me, it seems obvious that the reason (or at least an outcome) of the lack of distinction between these things is division. tk’s example was that there are lots of people who want to eliminate poverty but because of the way our (broken and outdated) political system is structured, we spend a lot more time arguing about who to support to end poverty than actually making the systemic changes we need at a high-level to actually just end poverty.
a lot of this stems from the brokenness of our political system, which is based on the ways of being of wealthy, landed white men from 250 years ago, but i’ll have to discuss that at another time.
excerpt from episode transcript
… a social philosophy refers to your beliefs about how a society ought to function, and how people within that society ought to behave. A political philosophy refers to your beliefs about the role of legislative force in implementing a particular social philosophy. So to simplify it, let’s say you are a person who believes that poverty is a problem and that people who are wealthy have a moral obligation to help the poor. That’s part of your social philosophy. However, if you believe that the best way to get wealthy people to help the poor is to pass a law that perhaps raises taxes on the rich or forces rich people to hire a certain amount of poor people, or whatever it may be, that’s an expression of your political philosophy. Now it’s possible for two individuals have similar or identical social philosophies, but to have radically different political philosophies. But, because this distinction rarely gets parceled out, when people advocate a social philosophy that acknowledges the existence of racism, treats it like it’s a problem, and wants to focus on ways we can eliminate that disease, they often get attacked politically because of the association of those beliefs with certain political agendas… We miss out on the essence of what people are saying because we’re too busy fearing whether or not they’re an Obama supporter or a Trump supporter when those issues can be separated…
words / writing / post-processing
335w / 11min / 8min