I believe in science. More specifically, I believe in using the scientific method to understand the world around us. This procedure of posing a question, hypothesizing, systematically observing and measuring, analyzing collected data, and formulating a theory works pretty well for all of our practical purposes. I would even argue that it is the best tool we currently have to model reality. With this belief in the scientific method comes my effort to be as objective as possible and not make conclusions with incomplete data. When I think I am biased, I call it out. When I think I don’t know, I admit that I don’t know.
One among many areas where I think we lack objectivity and complete data to answer questions is politics. Firstly, many individuals have strong emotional attachment to their political beliefs. These beliefs are no longer just theories about how to best govern a society: they become people’s identities. I feel that in such a passionate environment where people’s goal is no longer to find truth but, instead, to be right, it’s hard to remain objective. As a result, I often stay away from charged political discussions. Secondly, in my understanding, politics is mostly social science, and social science is complex. Innumerable variables influence human behavior, many of which we do not understand and many more of whose existence we are not aware. I think there is just too much that we do not know about humans, societies, and countries for us to make good choices about governing them. We lack knowledge about what is the most effective public policy, so how are we justified in asserting one political school-of-thought over another? I don’t think we know enough, therefore, I refrain from drawing conclusions about politics.
I think in politics, we are often biased and make assertions without evidence. I strive to remain objective and make conclusions only when I have complete information, and that’s why I am not political. To clarify, I do believe in the importance of civic engagement. I also recognize political decisions have to be had whether we have complete information or not. So I advocate for further studying the social sciences so we can draw conclusions about politics and make public policy decisions that are better supported by evidence.