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Metapluralism

One of the guiding principles of my political philosophy is a concept which I will call metapluralism, meaning “beyond pluralism”.

Pluralism is the political or philisopical stance that there is no “one true way”, and that the best outcome can only be gained through the interaction of competing ideas or organizations, depending on whether you are speaking of political pluralism (competition between interest groups) or philisophical pluralism (competition between theories.) James Madison was one of the earliest proponents of a pluralistic society. He felt that having many different factions rather than just a few would prevent destructive infighting.

True pluralism requires that these competing entities are able to coexist without attempting to destroy or harm one another – it requires a tolerance for other ideas and ways, and an intolerance for intolerance.

My own view is that it is necessary to take the idea of pluralism one step farther, and have competition between different pluralistic systems which all coexist in the same space – moreover, it may be that some of these “systems” are more pluralistic than others.

As an example, the free market is a pluralistic economy, in which there is no clear “winner” possessing an absolute formula for success. Some would say, then, that even though within the market there is no “one true way”, the idea of the market as a whole is the “true way” that we should follow.

I feel instead that the “system” of the market should compete with other, non-market systems, and there should be a great many such systems which all coexist are are accessible to everyone. So we have a free-market system, a regulatory system maintained by government, a system of non-profit and non-governmental organizations, a judicial system, an academic system, a system of competing religions and other worldviews, and so on.

Thus, in a capitalistic free-market system, even though the participants of the market may be diverse and distinct entities with their own unique characteristics, the logic of the market often constrains them to be have in a similar way. Once they step outside the pressures of the market, however, those contraints are lifted, and others put in their place, which means that the characteristic behavior will be very different. A typical businessman will be like other businessmen in that he is concerned about cash flow and profits, whereas a typical scientist will be concerned about citations and journals.

So in short, there is no one true system, let alone one true entity within any system.

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