American Highlander

The many musings of an American Celt

Knitting the discussion…can you take the challenge?

Posted by Reid on March 31, 2009

Most people who know me personally understand that I love a good discussion, even the uncomfortable kind. I think that dissenting conversations are great when managed correctly and good for solving problems. It is one of the ways we strengthen our own beliefs, thoughts, premises and positions–defending them strengthens them.

I have long considered it healthy and quite amazing to be able to knit the strands of a dissent and conflict filled discussion to a positive outcome even if the parties agree to disagree.  It is the friction that propels us forward to good solutions– if we are good knitters.

When these discussion are politics, it is important to keep the  “personal and emotions” out of it. Using the “unwritten rule” to not take it personally,  save the personal and emotional moments for Oprah, your psychologist and your hairdresser.

During the 2008 Presidential Election there was a flood “political “rhetoric” and skewed perspectives on each of the candidates. This influenced the discussions people were having. I felt many of these these discussions were quite unproductive because of the media bias,  incomplete information and passages being taken out of context etc . One of my liberal friends and I decided that it would be best to go to the actual source and then sort out what we thought rather than relying on the cut, past and merge talents of the media . This helped us come to the table with complete information and helped facilitate some excellent “dialogue knitting”.

I was reminded of this when I read the LA Times: Take the Limbaugh Challenge by Andrew Klavan. I have often wondered how some people pass  harsh judgments about Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh et all when the information for their critique was presented an incomplete and out of context message.  Klavan is challenging the mostly liberal audience of the LA Times to actually listen to Rush Limbaugh (in his context). He asserts that many who have formed harsh opinions have never listened:

…And, whatever you claim, you still haven’t listened to Rush Limbaugh.

Which leads to a question: Why not? I mean, come on, the guy’s one of the figures of the age. Aren’t you even curious? I listen to all your guys: NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, The Times, the New York Times, the New Yorker — I check out the whole left-wing hallelujah chorus. Why are you afraid to spend a couple of hours listening to Limbaugh’s show and seriously considering if and why you disagree with him?

Let me guess at your answer. You don’t need to listen to him. You’ve heard enough to know he’s a) racist, b) hateful, c) stupid, d) merely an outrageous entertainer not to be taken seriously or e) all of the above.

Now let me tell you the real answer: You’re a lowdown, yellow-bellied, lily-livered intellectual coward. You’re terrified of finding out he makes more sense than you do.

I agree with him. Because if you are strong in what you believe listening to Rush (or reading Ann) will not change or convince you otherwise. The only reason many do not embrace  types in context is being afraid that they will make sense.

I know this is true because I am always excited that a new Ann Coulter book is out. I have shown certain people the book and they reel backward in hatred, like a cat who has been thrown in a bathtub. So I ask them “what book did you read of hers that let you to that conclusion?” … the response is predicable “I haven’t,  I just don’t like what she says, she is mean” … Sooo crazy, they don’t like the message only to turn around and say I haven’t really listened/read their message.

I like the challenge that he presents, let’s expand it.  You can either listen to Rush radio show (in its entirety) or read an Ann Coulter book (in its entirety).  Let me know if you can do that I will meet you at the table for some sane knitting and discussion.


6 Responses to “Knitting the discussion…can you take the challenge?”

  1. Peggy said

    Andrew Klavan is right, the liberal viewpoint is pushed by 99% of all news agencies. Fox News has liberal shows but you won’t see that reciprocated by any of the liberal stations and you don’t often see the liberal newspapers (which are, for the most part, obsolete anymore) carry anything that disagrees with the liberal agenda except as part of an article to ridicule conservatives. Liberals are just scared of the truth and that’s very sad.

    • Reid said

      We sometimes have people on the right do the same thing, but I admit I have noticed it is a larger problem on “the left”

  2. Kimberly said

    How can you not come to a conclusion without understanding opposition? That’s another vital aspect to debate. You can’t counter an argument without understanding it. You don’t have to agree to understand.

    And I would disagree on the “leaving emotions out of it”. It’s my emotions that make my stance on abortion so very strong. My emotions drive me to want to end this world of the barbaric practice of ripping an unborn child out of a the womb. What I try to do is keep the emotions respectful. But to want no emotions, I think is not only impossible, but counter-intuitive to the debate. Emotions are what drives us as humans. Denying that is denying our humanity.

    I think too often though each side is shouting so loudly they can’t hear the other side at all. It’s just as important to listen as it is to shout.

    • Reid said

      Good point about emotions, I never looked at it that way. I suppose we wouldn’t debate if we did not have the emotional side to it and were not passionate about things.

      Keep the emotion, lose the ad hominem?

  3. Jay C. said

    Old bags Margaret and Helen on (oh Google for them I will not link them) read through Guilty. Her reaction was, for the most part, nothing more than an emotional outpouring of frustration.

    • Reid said

      Jay, you are right… they do not offer a real counter to Ann’s 3rd chapter, merely mad at Ann’s premise in it.

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