Before we get to the main subject, we first need to know what a philosophy is. Most people think that a philosophy is a very complex thing that’s difficult to understand, something so unworldly, strange, and complex as the meaning of life. Well, a philosophy is nothing but an idea, a point of view, you don’t need to study philosophy in college to be a philosopher, do you think Diogenes, Epicurus or Socrates went to a special school to study how to be a philosopher? no, they didn’t. When ever you think about a subject or you reflect upon something or you question an idea and apply logic to it, that is exactly what a philosopher does. Now, knowing this, we can move on to how this is connected with politics.
Pretty much every democracy in the world is a two party system (where only two parties really rule): in Spain it’s PP (Partido Popular) and PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español), in the U.S. it’s Democrats and Republicans, etc. and you will notice that most people will identify themselves with one or the other, nothing else (unless there are other parties that still have some influence, like in Spain IU [Izquierda Unida]). In this you can already see a lack of diversity in opinions, how most people will stick to the norm which is center-left or center-right. Now, the problem isn’t this, it’s that people will define what they believe by their philosophy, they will say “I’m liberal, therefore I need to believe this and vote this.” The problem with this is that then you ask for their opinion in a not so political conversation and they might say different. The problem is that instead of deciding what you believe in on each subject and then saying which popular political ideology you are closest to, people will choose a political ideology and believe whatever that political ideology says you must believe in.
So now you might ask what you should do. Well, what you should be doing is instead of choosing sides on something as big as what political philosophy you have, choose on smaller things. For instance, in the U.S. we are having referendums (or had depending on when you are reading this) on whether or not we should have voter ID’s to stop voter fraud (for those of you that live in the rest of the world, yes, I know that you solved it decades ago, but most people here don’t like to learn from abroad). Now, at first, if you never really thought about the subject, if you were a democrat you would vote no, and if you were a republican you would vote yes. However, what you should do is to think, how does this affect my community, after all, we are trying to stop voting fraud in the country; and after thinking about it, you might want to vote the same thing, or the opposite, or something else entirely. For instance, my opinion on the voter ID is that we should have a voter ID in the U.S., but the government should also do a census to see who is going to vote and assign them a place to vote; when the voter goes to his/her assigned place to vote, there will be a list so that the people at the voting booths (who are chosen at random) will check you off the list of people who are supposed to vote based off you ID.
So, as you can see, you don’t need to base what you believe in on an individual subject, off of an already existing ideology. Now, as to how this connects to philosophy, everyone has their own philosophy, you have your own. Now, does that mean we are all philosopher, no, only those that actually stop, think, and choose independently of which popular ideology they supposedly follow, are philosophers. But that does not change the fact that you have your own philosophy, you might not use it in reality, but you have it.
Moral is, think for yourself; even though your personality is made by your community, you are still an individual being who can think for itself, you still have power as an individual to make your own decisions. So instead of making decisions based on what your popular ideology is, make decisions based on what you think is right after thinking about it thoroughly. You are not limited to what the system gives you or wants you to believe, your mind is always free to think what it wants, you are always in control of your life and you beliefs. So next time you are going to vote on something or make a decision, stop and think for a minute before you do, you might find that even though your popular ideology says one thing, your personal logic says another.