Maybe I’m the crazy one, but I actually believe that the way it’s supposed to work is that you listen to all sides of an issue before making up your mind about it. That’s why I watch a nearly equal amount of Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC as well as reading articles from a number of sources from left to right. There are things I like and don’t like about each source of information. My opinions may or may not be the most popular ones, but I believe that no one can call me ill-informed.
To that end, one of my central beliefs is that the big reason that our republic and representative democracy is in the state that it’s in, is due to our inability as a society to engage in productive discourse. What passes for discourse today is where two people try to shout each other down to create a winner and a loser. I believe that true discourse involves listening to what the other side has to say and to decide whether or not to incorporate those ideas into your own thoughts. Then, learning and mutual respect take place, both sides would have gained something, and society moves forward. We have stagnated in the United States because there is far too much talking and not nearly enough listening.
In this six-minute clip from March 7’s episode of Tucker Carlson’s show, Middlebury College professor Jay Parini crystallizes my thoughts on discourse eloquently– particularly the ideas of “modesty” and “insufficient knowledge.” I really believe that if society were to adopt the ideas that Parini speaks of, our country would be much better off. If you have thoughts on this topic, watching this will be well worth your time.