Conscience, critical thinking should guide voters | Inquirer Opinion

Conscience, critical thinking should guide voters

/ 05:01 AM April 07, 2022

Democracy, a very precious gift, can easily be misused. This is especially apparent during elections. When we don’t think carefully about our choices, or worse, sell our votes, we throw away this gift and disempower ourselves while steering our country’s future in the wrong direction.

Thankfully, we have resources to help us use our gift well: our conscience and critical thinking skills. By listening to our conscience, which is God’s voice in us, we will be able to discern faithfully who the best leaders really are. And by using critical thinking, we will be able to carefully analyze the pronouncements and platforms of those who wish to be our rulers and see whether they’re telling the truth or not.

To sharpen our consciences, or our ability to tell right from wrong, we must cultivate the habit of prayer. We pray for ourselves and for others, that we may all be guided in our choices and that we may have charity toward each other. We pray for our country because it’s our home. The habit of prayer leads to piety, and pious men and women are what our country need.

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To develop our critical thinking skills, we need to learn the importance of arguments. I don’t mean having a quarrel or emotional disagreement with someone. An argument is a technical term in logic. Simply put, it is a set of statements one of which is the conclusion, and the rest the premises given in support of the conclusion. All this may sound fancy, but logic is essential because almost all forms of persuasion involve arguments.

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When a politician says, “Vote for me because I will bring about economic prosperity,” he is making a claim, and when he cites reasons for his claim, he is providing premises for his conclusion. In other words, the politician is trying to persuade you with an argument. Critical thinking means analyzing arguments, whether good or bad, or whether they’re even arguments at all. And this is important because ideas have consequences. Not only is it nonrational to believe something we have no good reason for believing, or to do something we have no good reason for doing. It can also be harmful and disastrous, as history has shown us over and over again.

In a word, we need to learn how to assess arguments and make good arguments of our own. It’s healthy for ourselves and our democracy. Critical thinking helps us avoid bad arguments, but more than that, it helps us discover truths as well.

Our conscience and critical thinking skills will help us use our gift of democracy well. They can guide us in discerning who best to vote for in the coming elections—because our country deserves no one less than the best.

DANTE CUALES JR.
[email protected]

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TAGS: #VotePH2022, conscience, critical thinking, Dante Cuales Jr., Voting

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