A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Monday, July 30, 2012

You're Wrong vs. I Disagree

I shun conflict.  I flinch from controversy.  It is entirely possible that I am the worst debater in the history of the world, which is why I rarely engage in political debates.  While I may try to pass it off as a calm parsing of other's positions, it is really cowardice and the fear that I might harm the cause I support which prevent me from entering the fray of political debates.  I know that, inevitably, I will get flustered and make a mistake that will expose me to ridicule (see Perry, Rick).

One theme that seems to emerge from this blog is that my cowardice often manifests itself as a plea for civility.  I was reminded of this as I listened some friends recently.  They were tearing apart a political pundit - saying "He is so wrong!  Can you believe that?"  It was not facts that Mr. Pundit was discussing, which, of course, you CAN be objectively wrong about.  No, it was the interpretation of the facts and the prescription for fixing the problem that Mr. Pundit was pontificating  upon.  For purposes of this discussion, it is not relevant whether I agree with Mr. Pundit's proposed solution. The point here is that these individuals choose to say "you are wrong" instead of "I disagree."

When we transform political arguments into moral ones with only one right answer, we risk demonizing those on the other side.  So often, political views are value judgments.  I support Obamacare, for example, because I value the social goal of universal health coverage over the loss of individual freedom related to the individual mandate.  Others value personal freedom over health care.  The point is: there is no "absolute right" in that situation - if you think otherwise, you have carried the idea of universal truth too far.

So, my plea is for humility.  For a willingness to admit that YOU - yes even YOU could learn something by listening to others without judging.  Of course, if I take my own medicine, it means that I must admit: I could be entirely wrong here.

No comments:

Post a Comment