Many points of view make good governance

The polls are closed, the votes are counted and we are all deserving of a little rest.

No more lunging for the volume knob or remote when leaders of political parties commence to tell us of the sinister motives of the “other guy” instead of touting their own policy ideas. But despite our sporadic annoyance with a particular style or focus there is nothing like an election campaign to get a lot of us truly animated. Defending our cause can become downright visceral.

One of the more hopeful happenings of this election campaign occurred during the April 8 edition of The Agenda, a TVO current event program hosted by Steve Paikin.

Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, presented an essay on the visceral nature of party politics. He floats the idea that we might not arrive at our political point of view through research and study but through our specific biological nature.

Psychological research into the political being demonstrates that conservative folk tend to be conscientious, orderly and industrious. People with liberal leanings are open, creative and entrepreneurial and socialists are humanitarians concerning themselves with the plight of their fellow man.

Peterson develops his train of thought with the hypothesis that we all really need each other. The conservatives need the entrepreneurial flair of liberals for innovation and liberals need the management skills of conservatives to shepherd their bright ideas. In a troubled social climate produced by growing disparity between the rich and the poor, socialists are necessary to devise human, thoughtful ways of keeping our social fabric intact.

As we begin to deal with the results of the great federal election of May 2, 2011 let us hold the thought that all the many and varied points of view that went into our collective political decision are valuable, valued and just might naturally reflect who we are as individual human personalities.

It takes a lot of different types of personalities to tackle the complexities of society. Peterson points out that we will always have an array of conflicting ideas but the trick is to listen to each other and arrive at a respectful compromise.

With any luck the federal government that we have just elected will realize that “negotiation between valued partners” is the most constructive and democratic way to govern.

Now wouldn’t that be refreshing.