Monday, April 7, 2014

Room For Thought

When I was a child, my family took politics very seriously. They purchased newspapers and actually read them front to back. Not just the sports pages. The national and international news, the op-ed pages, everything. There were broad sheets for the elite. there were tabloids for the blue collar class. 

This was before TV, so people didn't get the predigested pap that passes for news today. The big cities had multiple papers of both genre and each paper had multiple editions from each. Evening newspapers were different from the morning papers. For those willing to read, there were reams of information to be had.

When we went to my grandparents house for a family Sunday dinner, the after dinner entertainment was usually a pointed political debate. My grandfather and my uncle were union liberals. By today's standards, that would be middle of the road conservative. My father was conservative. I sat and listened.

I don't know if I was just being loyal to my father or not. It was a long time ago. But I felt that my fathers arguments made more sense. The crux was that I grew up conservative. But, more to the point, the arguments were civil. Everyone got their chance to speak. No one was ever persuaded. No one ever got angry. Nothing ever changed.

Later in life, when I had my own family to raise, the times when I was with my grandfather, we had our own political debates. I value those memories of him and I'm proud to say that, today, my own grandsons challenge me in the same way. Great fun indeed.

Today, many people no longer accept debate. Once they form ideas, the debate is over. Agree with them or they will endeavor to destroy you. Brendan Eich the shiny new and suddenly ex CEO of Mozilla certainly found that out. Six years ago, Mr. Eich donated a thousand dollars to a group opposed to same sex marriage. He did this from a point of moral belief. It was not that he hated gays or wanted to hurt anyone. He believes in traditional marriage and used his First Amendment rights to express his feelings. But the haters on the opposite side of the question went for the throat as they usually do. Mozilla showed no spine and caved like a wet paper bag. For that small donation six years ago, Mr, Eich lost his livelihood. 

It's happening every day. Paula Deen, Duck Dynasty, Robert Bork. The list goes on. Those that tout global warming as settled science want those that disagree arrested and thrown in jail. Ask any scientist, they will tell you that there is no such thing as settled science. Anyone that says there is is scamming you.

Far too many of our population allow no room for thought. They have a position. In their eyes it becomes a moral truth akin to natural law. But they unite and scream and threaten and in too many cases get their way. It is neither good nor healthy. There is not a subject in the universe that doesn't need more room for thought. Tomorrow I will write more on this. I have to go into areas that are difficult and I am sure the hate mail will follow. So be it.

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