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HONEST DEBATE (OR THE LACK THEREOF)

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 13, 2014

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

– Our lack of tolerance has a lot to do with it.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Like any other red-blooded American male on a Sunday afternoon, I like to exercise my right to surf the television channels using my remote control from the comfort of my easy chair. Years ago, when there was only four channels on TV, such a device wasn’t really needed, but now with the hundreds of available channels, it would be unimaginable to live without one. Nonetheless, I was flipping through the channels and started to notice something…

CLICK – a show describing the men and women serving in our military. The show highlights their spirit of teamwork and sacrifice for the betterment of all.

CLICK – a documentary describing the proliferation of street gangs and how people become territorial and find ways to beat the system for personal greed and vice.

CLICK – a Wall Street report on the virtues of the free enterprise system and how the entrepreneurial spirit of small companies promote job growth.

CLICK – a show describing the plight of the homeless and why it is necessary to redistribute the wealth in this country.

CLICK – a report on the Tea Party and 9.12 movements.

CLICK – a community talk show featuring a college professor discussing why conservative values are no longer valid in the world today.

CLICK – a variety of shows providing a forum to worship God.

CLICK – a program discussing the point of view of atheists and agnostics who want to have “In God we Trust” removed from American currency.

It struck me there were extreme opposites for just about everything in our society. The incompatibility between extremes is such, you start to wonder how this country survived for over 200 years. Then again, I guess it is not surprising as America’s melting pot represents a heterogeneous society, most definitely not homogeneous. This is nothing new and has been with us a long time. Also, think how boring our society would be if we all thought the same.

The only difference is we no longer practice tolerance and have forgotten how to engage in honest debate. For example, on the Internet, rarely is there any respect for other opinions and beliefs. Instead, people are inclined to viciously attack others and slander their character, a sort of “attack mode” of operating. I guess this is the price we must pay for becoming a technology based society.

French writer Voltaire is credited with saying, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I don’t think people feel this way anymore. Instead of talking through a problem or issue, as all of the great civilizations have done before us, we have to suffer through spin and attack. Plain and simply, we no longer know how to practice the art of honest discourse, which I interpret as a sign of deterioration of our culture.

We may not always agree with each other, but we must find ways to work together, not apart. This requires tolerance, respect, and the need to be a heck of a lot more articulate than just saying, “Up yours!”

Originally published: December 11, 2009

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

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timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  GANG MARKINGS – Gangs exist because parents fail.

LAST TIME:  WHAT DOES CORPORATE ‘INFUSION’ MEAN?  – Or is it a misnomer?

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6 Responses to “HONEST DEBATE (OR THE LACK THEREOF)”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    A B.H. of Boulder, Colorado wrote…

    “In addition to the contrasting VIEWS you noticed on the sundry channels while surfing at random, at this time of year you should also notice the “overabundance” of POLITICAL advertisements in comparison to anything else. Many times, 8, 10 or perhaps more ads of this nature being aired on a “commercial break” in programming.

    MOST of these are not simply stating the position of the individual aspiring to office (or asking for re-election), but they spend time (and thus dollars) besmirching the opponent(s) most often with misleading information or dubious “conclusions” that such-and-such WILL be the outcome if you elect the other guy.

    It’s sickening. And, it explains a lot about why some of the electorate have simply disengaged from the process. And it also explains WHY they think that their vote doesn’t matter. In point of fact, most of these ads are funded not by the candidate or LOCAL resources, but by the national parties or PACs run by extremely wealthy persons who want to foster their agendas. Of course, the other side of the coin is that the creators of the ads are simply saying that they BELIEVE in the candidate and that there will be dire consequences if the other person is elected, and thus they defend the tactics by saying they’re “only attempting to get the word out to the electorate.”

    I say this because it is true regardless of whether you are republican or democrat, or perhaps even libertarian (although the libertarians and other minor parties don’t seem to have the deep pockets that are associated with the two MAIN parties).

    The other thing I’ve noticed over the years is that a successful politician is one who will tell the electorate what they want to hear, KNOWING that he won’t be able to follow through on his own and perhaps even knowing that he won’t be able to garner the support from the rest of his colleagues to actually fulfill the promise. Many times, candidates for the presidency have derided the incumbent, trying to second-guess him, and only when they sit in the hot-seat themselves and get the FULL detailed briefings that a sitting president gets will they finally come to the realization that the job is a LOT bigger than they thought.

    I’m not advocating sympathy for anyone in the seat, merely observing that they “did what it took” to get there, and subsequently found that it was bigger than they were. And, of course, the “job” of representative and senator (and other politically based jobs) were NEVER intended to be careers, they were intended to be opportunities for the people to SERVE and pay back for the benefits they have received for being citizens of the republic.

    You are correct. Civility and compromise are two words MISSING from the vocabulary of today.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • What this greatest of our American Presidents said this? “And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorry, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and t recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. And insomuch as we know that,by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in his world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity…may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that make us! It behooves us then, the humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace. IN WITNESS THEREOF, I HAVE HEREUNTO SET MY HAND AND CAUSED THE SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES TO BE AFFIXED.” By the President: Abraham Lincoln. If we did this today, is there no boundary that we could climb, is there no thing we could not have, it there no peace that could not be achieved? It think not. P. Kathy Kleiman The Editing Chair: An Established Research Company, San Antonio, TEXAS!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In political advertising, I believe that it’s the resort to almost nothing but ad hominem attacks that disturbs and sickens me the most. There is rarely any attempt at an issue-oriented campaign, although, of course, given the incivility of nearly all discussion of issues, that would likely bear little fruit in any case.

    So far as the overall quality of public (and even private) discourse is concerned–as we’ve moved away from a concern for fundamental unity and toward a focus upon ‘diversity’ as some sort of virtue in its own right–‘tolerance’ takes on a new operational definition. Since we always seem to allow self-styled ‘progressives’ to define the terms of any debate, that new definition is of their choosing as well. ‘Tolerance,’ which used to refer to one’s willingness to ‘live and let live’ (or even to “fight to the death to defend”), when it came to ideas with which we personally disagreed, now requires that we recognize the equal validity of an opposing point of view. No argument of ‘right vs. wrong’ or ‘truth vs. error’ is countenanced, and all positions must be accepted as equally valid on their face. Otherwise the label of ‘intolerance’ applies to the person arguing for the greater right or truth of his own position. Does this seem an Orwellian use of language to anyone else?

    The obvious rational defect in such an approach (not the least that such a view renders the issue of personal liberty and Voltaire’s moral imperative to respect one’s opposition entirely moot) goes absolutely without saying. Forced to operate within these new parameters, there can really be neither meaningful debate nor any real compromise–especially when the imperative is to translate the discussion into public policy. Although both ‘sides’ of the political spectrum deserve criticism for allowing civic dialogue to deteriorate to this level, the Left has somehow managed to also claim a moral ‘high ground’ in the process, based upon its assumption that diversity is an end unto itself, no matter how bankrupt or spurious any opinion may be.

    Those who prefer to engage in debate under more traditional conditions, where either some compromise or, at least, an agreement to disagree would be the outcome, now are faced with a new reality. Now we are pressed to accept a resolution of this sort: “Okay, there is no superior position on this issue. So, let’s ‘compromise.’ We’ll legislate our position and allow you to cling to your outdated views in a private setting…so long as you do not voice them vociferously enough to offend anyone of the opposite view. After all, our position is now ‘the law of the land.’ Fair enough?”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tim Bryce said

    A W.A. of the Dominican Republic wrote…

    “You hit the nail on the head with this one. Being an avid conservative, I still enjoy hearing the other side and how they think. However, the other side seems to never feel the same. I can say this, as my wife, 1 of 10 children is the only conservative in the family. They can send us all kinds of stuff on the liberal progressive thinking process, but if you send them one thing on conservatism, they literally go bonkers. My wife was in Wisconsin, her home state, a couple of months ago to celebrate her Dad’s 95th BD. Her 1 sister showed her where the birthplace of the Republican party was, but refused with a vengeance to have her picture taken in front of the sign stating such. She took my wife’s picture, but would not get in the pix to let someone else take a shot of them both in front of the sign. She cannot, and I mean this literally, understand how she became a conservative and told her she was brought up better than that. Soo… you are right, debate and discourse is over, civility is done, but I lay it squarely at the feet of the progressive liberals, and unfortunately, the seem to be winning for the moment. “

    Like

  4. […] HONEST DEBATE (OR THE LACK THEREOF) […]

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  5. […] – June 24, 2015 “Bed Bugs & Our Changing World” – June 1, 2015 “Honest Debate (or the lack thereof)” – October 13, 2014 “More Evidence of Technology Addiction” – April 23, 2014 […]

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