The Importance of Thought In Conflict

So, I’m not a stranger to the social networking applications. For the most part, I use facebook, and the other day, I started a very long, semi-heated discussion with a conservative person from elementary school, about the United States and it’s new President. I wouldn’t have – I don’t like those arguments – but it really pisses me off when people make sweeping statements. “All pagans are crazies.” I don’t remember what his particular statement was, and I’m too lazy to look back, but it was something that irked me, and so I responded.

No, I don’t think our government’s intervention in GM is going to destroy us. What bugged me was that I knew he wasn’t seeing the simple idea of minimizing damage. He was standing on his high horse, and refusing to recognize the fact that what our federal government was trying to do was minimize damage.

The only reason the issue is close to me is because of what Kodak did to my city in the 1990s. Maybe early 2000s. Kodak, based in Rochester, NY, closed the majority of its factories, cutting tons of jobs, screwing people out of their retirements. Three close friends had fathers who lost jobs. None of them have really recovered. Hell, the city hasn’t recovered.

Imagine if GM went out? That’s not just one city. That’s…hundreds of cities in the United States. Full of skilled workers who are so specialized that they’re actually fucked if they try to find another job that pays as well.

And our conversation evolved from GM all the way to global warming, with routes through healthcare and education.

But the point is that both sides of the argument have the danger of falling into the Always-Never categories. And that sort of brash assumption is first of all, a weakness in your argument, and second, prevents open communication. If you’re going to sit there and tell me that we’re NEVER going to remove the domination of oil companies, so why bother trying – then what is the point of me continuing the discussion? You’ve made up your mind.

And when I call you out on it, I’m sure you feel embarrassed. For me, as a 21 year old (he’s the same age) – I find it ridiculous that he’s already lost the hope for change.

How can he look at me and say, “Things are never going to change?” What kind of generation is that?

And so, I request readers, please, be careful what you say. Don’t try to push your point so hard that you begin to look like a fool. Acknowledge your ignorance. Allow exceptions. The world is not black and white. It is this beautiful shade of gray.

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One response to “The Importance of Thought In Conflict

  1. That was beautifully written, and it gives me hope to think that others are thoughtful and humble enough to avoid absolute statements.

    I know you only mentioned climate change once (that’s why it came up in my “related blogs” page) but you may be interested in my blog – it has to do with climate change in the context of ideas such as credibility and risk management. The post “The Importance of Error Statements” deals with a similar idea to yours regarding absolute statements and context.

    You can probably just click on my username to get there. Thanks.

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