In the scientific method there one of the most important concepts is refutability. It is so imperative to have a falsifiability in your theories that if you do not include one, one might as well consider them as having no credence.
A very simple way to define refutability is to ask oneself “What would it take to prove my theory/idea/phislosophy wrong”. Once you ask this, and you are being honest with yourself, you should have a few conditions which, if they are met, will show you that you might be wrong and, at the least, need to rethink your theories.
The lack of refutability is the easiest way one can tell science from crackpot theories and woo-woo. How do you prove that Homeotherapy does not work? You can’t. How do you prove that ghosts do not exist? You can’t. How do you prove that the theory of evolution is wrong? Rabbits in the Precambrian.
This lack of refutability is also the main reason why religious belief cannot be awarded any factual standing.Is there any way to prove that Jesus did not exist or was not a deity that has not been done already? And yet the religion persists.
So basically, in very simple terms, it is all about asking oneself “What would it take to convince me I’m wrong” and it is the most powerful in any skeptic’s arsenal. However science and philosophy are not the only places one can apply this very powerful too. One should seek to apply this question to any and all beliefs they hold. And one of them that many people do not is Politics.
It has become the rule rather than the exception that people associate themselves with one party and stick with it no matter what. I have very rarely seen people seriously considering the question “What would they have to do to lose my vote?“. People simply choose one party and make excuses on why they need to keep supporting them. Simply because this question has never been set, one can keep supporting a party long after most of the core values he or she holds have been overrrun.
I can’t think of any more obvious example than the US Democratic party. The party that what passes as “left” in the US, endorses. The reason most often than not is “Because they’re not as bad as the Republicans”. How many of these liberals have asked themselves this simple question? “What do they democrats have to do to lose my vote?”. Support the Iraq war? Done. Support Wall Street Bailout? Done. Increase military spending? Done. Lie? Done. Oppose Atheists? Done.
So what values exactly is the Democratic party sharing with you again? If you still have any, how many of those do they need to step on before you stop supporting them? If the only threshold you place is “They need to become worse than the republicans”, doesn’t that condemn you and your society to erosion? All the Republicans then need to do in order to achieve the agenda is move more and more to the right and the Democrats will follow (so as not to be labeled as “extreme left”) while their supporters create excuses for them. Eventually you end up with Democrats simply being the republicans of the past, as is what has happened now. You no longer have left and right, simply extreme right and lunatic right.
And all the people who voted them into power don’t have anything in common with them anymore.
Do yourself this favour. Set your political refutability and stick to it. Do not simply move the goalpost whenever they bypass it or else you’re simply deluding yourself into the illusion of Democracy.
So tell me, what would it take to lose your vote?