Friday, July 07, 2006

Can We Talk?

In a free society, rational discussion is an important part of the political and social process. Rational discussion means to be able to present one's views, in a way it is heard by an opposing view, and can be countered by a similar presentation. We may never agree--there are as many opinions as there are people--but it is important to us to let our point of view be heard. Meaningful questions must be asked, and meaningful answers must be presented in a rational manner. If we resort to attacking those we don't agree with, those persons will stop listening to our point of view, and we will end up "preaching to the choir."
Preaching to the choir is usually counter productive to the formulation of new ideas. Rather, it feeds a consensus among those who agree, and shuts out those who disagree. A politician who loses track of a rational discussion and begins preaching to the choir is merely seeking votes based on ideology and not on performance--that politician is no longer an effective representative of the electorate. This is happening way too often these days.
Important issues that desperately need new ideas are basically ignored, except to create headlines and sound bites. Where there is no rational discussion, the end of reaching a rational solution is lost.
There are many issues on which many disagree, and which, in the present state of affairs, have been reduced to sound bites, or worse, ignored, due to an absolute refusal to debate them. Prohibition is one example of this. Anyone who wishes to speak out against prohibition is accused of being on drugs themselves, or otherwise being dismissed as "disingenuous." Yet, without reasonable discussion, the status quo remains, and the results are often not desirable to anyone except the criminals who ultimately get the money.
My policy on "Lift That Torch. Ring That Bell," is to avoid, or to attempt to avoid, digressing into personal attack on those with whom I disagree. There are some bloggers whom I want to flame, but, so far, I have avoided doing that. Instead, I try to present my views in a non-confrontational manner. For example, in my article, “Winning Iraq,” I largely avoided political arguments, and presented my views from a military viewpoint of strategy and tactics. I hope that there would be some who would care to discuss my presentation, without attacking me for my point of view. Otherwise, I would just be preaching to the choir, and, in relation to “Liberal,” “Conservative,” “Republican,” or “Democrat,” I don't think my choir is all that big.