On the Front Line of the Culture War — Give Me Some Real Examples, Not Just Theories!

Ken Wilber Perspectives, Politics, The Ken Show, Video 11 Comments

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fter a series of episodes that focused on a more comprehensive theory of politics, and several others exploring the rampant polarization and extremism of today’s political culture, we thought it was a good time to drill down a bit more and offer some more concrete policy proposals.

Watch as Ken and Corey offer their views on some of the most controversial policy debates of our time, each of which has become a battle line in our constantly escalating culture wars.

Most of these questions were generated by the Integral Life Community. Come say hi, and let us know what you think of this episode!

Issue #1: Abortion

As Alan Dershowitz said, “everyone is right when it comes to abortion”. Our job, of course, is to figure out who is more right, and what to do about it. When do rights start, and is there something between “pro-life” and “pro-choice” stances?

Issue #2: The Death Penalty and Assisted Suicide

How much power over life and death should the state be allowed? How much should the individual be allowed? Watch as Ken and Corey offer an integral consideration of the death penalty and assisted suicide.

Issue #3: Universal Health Care and the Profit Motive

Should some things such as healthcare or prisons be exempt from the profit motive, due to perverse incentives? Should universal health care be afforded to all American citizens?

Issue #4: Vaccinations

We are currently in the midst of a dangerous resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough, largely due to states that allow “personal exemptions” for vaccinating their children, as well as an epidemic of misinformation about vaccines on the internet. Should people be forced to be vaccinated, even if some believe it can cause autism?


Issue #5: Drone Warfare

One of the most controversial military issues of our day, here Ken and Corey discuss the positives and negatives of using robotic drones instead of live soldiers in the battlefield. How do we reconcile the inevitability of the militarization of this technology with the moral considerations around how the technology is actually used?


Issue #6: The Draft

For decades Americans have enjoyed a 100% voluntary military force, even though the laws around military conscription are still on the books and can be re-enacted at any point. Here Ken and Corey discuss the merits of mandatory enlistment, and how some sort of mandatory service might help Americans overcome their collective cynicism, apathy, and polarization.


Issue #7: Mandatory Voting

Some nations like Australia are famous for making voting mandatory for all citizens. Considering how poor the voter turnout tends to be in the U.S., should America do something similar, or find other ways to incentivize civic participation?

Image: The Fifth Sacred Civic by Android Jones [+view gallery]

Music by Stuart Davis

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Learn more about the major and minor scales of the integral political model in Ken’s eBook, Integral Politics: Its Essential Ingredients, available to download for free.

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Ken Wilber

About Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber is a preeminent scholar of the Integral stage of human development. He is an internationally acknowledged leader, founder of Integral Institute, and co-founder of Integral Life. Ken is the originator of arguably the first truly comprehensive or integrative world philosophy, aptly named “Integral Theory”.

Corey deVos

About Corey deVos

Corey W. deVos is the proverbial "man behind the curtain". He is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of KenWilber.com. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996.

Notable Replies

  1. Hi everyone, we want to hear your own views about these incredibly complex and controversial issues. Let us know what you think of the discussion here!

  2. Hi, Corey - Today I posted a comment about Ken’s theory of the rights of holons. You will see it on the master list. I plan to post at least one more about your conversation with Ken about abortion.
    Thanks to you and Ken for the great series on politics and culture.


  3. @corey-devos, is there a reason climate change wasn’t included in that list? It seems to me that all the other issues in the list should be secondary; after all, if Earth is uninhabitable, none of those issues really matter. If there is any current world-wide problem in need of Integral solutions, it’s climate change. And climate change is absolutely subject to the “culture wars” given the same Amber groups that are anti-abortion are also likely to be climate deniers. It’s the same cognitive dissonance that’s being triggered, psychologically speaking.

  4. I thought this Ken Show fulfilled its promise well–going beyond theory to the nitty-gritty of actual position-taking on these select issues. I was glad to see that Ken and Corey agreed with me on these issues :slightly_smiling_face: and was a little surprised about at least one of them–I thought I was the last hold-out being anti- the death penalty.

    Perhaps the topic that most caught me unaware was National Service; I haven’t been tuned in to this, but I am now.

    I appreciated the wide-ranging discussion on abortion; from Bible to feminism to viability, it covered a lot in a relatively short amount of time, and came to conclusions that, whether one agrees with them or not, were arrived at in a holistic way.

    When I’m not learning something new during these shows (and I usually am), I’m always learning more about my own thinking; that is, sometimes I have just an intuitive “stance” on something, but haven’t systematically worked through all the actual thoughts and nuance of thought that support that intuition. This show always helps me do that.

    Ken mentioned at the end of the show a piece of writing he had done on the “politics of consciousness.” I know I’ve read that, but I don’t remember where. This would be a good topic for a future Ken Show, addressing not just drugs and entheogens, but an array of subjects–e.g. hatha yoga and mindfulness practice are pretty mainstream and yet they are often divorced from any spiritual ‘root.’ I think there is a politics around shamanic spirits as well as vision experience. Ditto, OOBs and NDEs. The recent Daily Evolver episode on “taking aliens seriously” brings other topics to mind as well, some of which I already had on my “list”–crop circle phenomena, abductions, ghosts, and such. Of course, separating out what is politics from what is unclear validation of some of these phenomena would have to be figured in.

    Finally, at some point in the future if it seems appropriate and there’s a readiness to (temporarily) leave the culture wars behind, a program on 3rd Tier structures/stages would be welcome. Thanks!

  5. Dear Ken and Corey,

    I would love to see a deeper dive into the vaccine issue with an analysis that utilizes the quadrants? Corey offered his summary position which mirrors the conventional meme found in popular media and introduced us to the very dangerous yet popular position of herd immunity as reasoning for everyone being vaccinated. A deeper dive would require a more weighted understanding of the risks and benefits as well as an actual appreciation for the individual as an inviolable holon with respect to the injection of anything into our bodies. Thanks.

Continue the discussion at community.integrallife.com

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