Monday, May 18, 2009

In Defense of Offense

I can't find any articles that I want to write about, but want to make up for last week (I was on travel). I want to encourage all of my readers to do something that I seek out in my own life: Find fun in argument. Those that share a viewpoint with myself will often find themselves out of the "cool crowd" of political enthusiasm. Many of our social groups encourage a backing of Obama, but discourage what I would consider to be a healthy challenge to those in power. This is concerning.

What I want to encourage everyone to do is be more open about your ideas. Our society was founded in public discourse. Before televisions, entertainment was often found in public debate. In my own life, I've found a tremendous benefit in engaging others in a respectful argument over ideas that are either important to me or those that I don't subscribe to, but want to defend in order to find the dimensions of such foreign ideas. I can say without reservation that you do not know what you believe unless it has been actively and passionately challenged. I think this may be why so many "conservatives" (the term is used loosely nowadays, and in my own usage I mean those in favor of less government intervention in the day-to-day lives of its citizenry) may find it easier to say what they believe now than when Bush was President.

I am not suggesting you "pick a fight", I'm only saying that you don't let the next opportunity pass. Don't let your emotions get involved. Don't tell the other person they are ridiculous, stupid, dumb, or suggest they "don't know what they're talking about." If you tumble across such thoughts, I've found the best approach is to ask them "Do you mean..." and more often than not you'll find out that you have misinterpreted their view.

In light of a post showing shades of condescension, please let me know of any topics you'd like me to post on. Maybe this will be your opportunity to "pick a fight" with me.

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