Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Major Fail: Fear Over Reason

Logic is no recourse over fear, especially in America.

About the only thing Americans seem to love more than guns is righteousness, usually, their own. We don't exactly despise logic and reason, we usually don't even give it room at the table. It takes too many steps to get them into the conversation, so how can we expect them to even get an invitation to the party? Righteous indignation and rationalization is quick, it's easy, and permits shouting as the primary tool to defend it's primacy as the first tool of discourse - though discourse is seldom the outcome. "I feel this way, and therefore I am right." Likewise, "I have a right to free speech," has become the de-facto excuse for unreasonableness, invective, and opposition, regardless of the position one is taking on a topic. All too often of late, the right to be unreasonable is its own excuse. It seldom if ever matters that a position might be worth re-thinking - that, it seems, is a sign of weakness, of "flip-flopping." And heaven forbid we re-think anything - we are Americans - we don't have to reconsider our points of view!

But history - remember that little inconvenience? - has a way of operating according to the law of reconsideration - not always positively, certainly, but there it is. The path toward democracy, whenever and wherever it has developed, has followed various approaches through a thicket of reconsiderations. Who should lead; how will we permit ourselves to be led; how will we make change when change is needed; who will determine the course of said changes; how will we measure the success of such changes? All such questions require conversation among reasonable people if they are to produce a reasonable - positive for the majority of citizens that will be impacted by such changes - results. Not that we as a Nation have always had reasonable conversations, clearly we have gotten mired in unreasonableness many times. But the best changes have occurred when we have been the most reasonable, used our better angels to keep us focused on the problem rather than on the opposition-as-the-problem.

America today seems locked into the more unreasonable demons of our nature, not just across our political divides, but within and across all of our communities. The depth and breadth of this unreasoning is breathtaking, and may bode ill for the Republic itself. Ideology, always the worst of all our demons, has become hardened into cement in some quarters, a phenomenon that has often preceded great upheavals in our Nation. The question we all should be asking ourselves today is, are my beliefs based on any real information? Are they likely to serve not merely myself, but the community around me? It is more critical than ever, I feel, that we permit ourselves and those around us the right to reconsider - our beliefs, our positions, our alliances, our attitudes. Just because we have a right to do something does not mean we should take that as a directive to do whatever we think we want to do, if by the doing of that we cause great suffering to the community that we live in.

There is a law which supersedes even the great Constitution of The United States of America, and it is worth keeping in mind today: what goes around, comes around. It can be put in many ways - karma, do unto others what you would have them do unto you, give respect and you will get respect, etc. Our grandparents knew this law. Its time we all started to remember it, as well.

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If its not rational, well-crafted, on point, and civil, fugedaboudit. I will delete all comments that abuse, are obscene, or refer excessively to how right you are.Otherwise, have at it.