I’m not sure about this self-interest thing. There is self interest as in we want our ideals to prevail through a political choice, but then there’s self interest as in I want what will benefit me and my family regardless of the cost to others. The first kind of self interest seems to be the kind talked about in this article, the second kind seems to fall squarely on the Milton Freidman type of political economy where if we all act ‘selfishly’ then we will all get what we need and there will be little need for government, beyond the protection of private property. I don’t think I’m being ideological here, but the self-interest of the Milton Freidman type seems to be what underlies the current iteration of Conservative politics which has been appears to increase inequality and social injustices. A self interest that seeks to build equality and social justice (even at the cost of one’s own social and economic position) is simply at odds with a self-interest that doesn’t have a vision beyond one’s own pay cheque and pension plan.
Therefore the statement “Whoever’s not on our side is only in politics for some twisted egomaniacal payoff!” to my mind does require us to look at why people will vote for a party, and some positions are simply more ‘egomaniacal’ than others. To reject this would assume that voting for a party who seeks equality through wealth redistribution (even when it means that I will have less money in my bank at the end of the day and will have to take a couple less all inclusive vacations or pass by installing my new granite counter top) is as egomaniacal as an already very wealthy person voting for more income tax breaks or a decrease in social benefits to the poor. It seems that the calculus is pretty clear and that the latter position is clearly more egomaniacal and self-interested in the bad kind of way (selfish at the expense of others), than the first option, which represents a person willing to sacrifice some of their own comforts for the betterment of the community. If making such a point is considered “turning up the heat in my own self-righteous chamber” so be it, but there are in fact many voters who could care less about a conversation on justice and fairness if such a conversation will negatively effect their pocket books (short term or long term).
I don’t think such a position is flippantly brushing “aside the beliefs of people who vote ‘against’ me ” rather it is taking a sober look at what kinds of life styles those people want to live and what kind of discourse and society they encourage. I continuously try to not take people at face value, sure just because you vote for a party that I don’t like it doesn’t meant that I will judge you about your values, perhaps you haven’t thought through some positions, perhaps I need to adjust some of mine, perhaps we can learn together. But when a person is willing to continuously promote political parties that have been found to be corrupt and unfair time and time again, who does not talk about fairness and justice, who is explicitly racist, who does not seek to support the weakest in society, but rather can’t stop worrying about their own pocket book, then there comes a time to let it be said — you are only voting in your self-interest (read selfishly) and you continue to put your pocket book ahead of justice and fairness. Sometimes it’s true.
On the upside, the Conservative vote last time around was only 39% of voters, so I’m glad to say that we have a population that is NOT swayed so easily by little morsels to tempt their pitiful self-interest…
All that said, I’m glad to have a conversation about justice and fairness, but I suspect there won’t be many Conservatives (yes capital C) in attendance.
Just some thoughts and open for debate.