What is there about informed dissent that scares the crap out of people? What is it about choosing to sidestep the herd of lemmings that are running over the cliff, that makes so many self-described “conservatives” lose their minds and their tempers?
I gave OPED NEWS' web address to an acquaintance and he lost his mind when he read some of the posts. It seems that some folk just can't stand those who make kinks, cuts and twists in the “party line”.
For some, to disagree with their closed arguments is 'spouting off.' In their minds, they are right and that is all there is. In their world, you either agree with them, or you don't and if you disagree, then your opinion isn't worth a hot bucket of spit because you are wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Around the world, the fate of human civilization depends on informed consent. It also depends on informed dissent. It is this tension between dissent and consent that drives a society toward justice and enlightenment. This combat and exercise by debate makes societies stronger, because vigorous debate exposes ideas to fine tuning by providing a setting for opposing parties to come together and defend their positions.
Unfortunately, these days dissent has become so acrimonious and vicious that many are afraid to pose arguments which don't agree with popular opinion. They've seen others verbally ripped apart for disagreeing and they want no part of the bloodletting.
What happened, America? What happened to the love of a good debate? What happened to the vigorous exchange of ideas? What happened to the great thinkers who love debating simply for the pure joy of learning from those who philosophically disagree?
We are losing a great deal today because there is no give and take in argument these days. No one wants to learn from others. Nobody wants to admit that they are not completely right. And, above all, no one wants to step up to the plate and 'agree to disagree'.
We live in a zero sum world where there are only 2 sides: right/wrong. If you do not agree with someone, there is no need to debate because anyone who does not agree with you is wrong, enuf said.
The late Richard Pryor once said, “Every one carries around his own monster.” Today, the monster is fear, and it manifests itself in the fear of dissent, the fear of competition, the fear of change, the fear of others and the fear of other cultures and religions.
We are living in a sea of fear, and the fear mongers around us are taking advantage of our fears and anxieties. Winston Churchill had it right: “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.”
Once we control our fears, everything else falls into place, because our enemies and those who would manipulate us have just lost their major weapon. In the words of former astronaut Mae Jamison: “Never be limited by other people's limited imagination....If you adopt their attitudes, then the possibility won't exist [for you] because you'll already have shut it out.”