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jerryking : polarization   9

The Dying Art of Disagreement
SEPT. 24, 2017 | The New York Times | Bret Stephens.

The title of my talk tonight is “The Dying Art of Disagreement.”.......But to say, I disagree; I refuse; you’re wrong; etiam si omnes — ego non — these are the words that define our individuality, give us our freedom, enjoin our tolerance, enlarge our perspectives, seize our attention, energize our progress, make our democracies real, and give hope and courage to oppressed people everywhere. Galileo and Darwin; Mandela, Havel, and Liu Xiaobo; Rosa Parks and Natan Sharansky — such are the ranks of those who disagree......The polarization is geographic.......The polarization is personal........Finally the polarization is electronic and digital, .......What we did was read books that raised serious questions about the human condition, and which invited us to attempt to ask serious questions of our own. Education, in this sense, wasn’t a “teaching” with any fixed lesson. It was an exercise in interrogation.

To listen and understand; to question and disagree; to treat no proposition as sacred and no objection as impious; to be willing to entertain unpopular ideas and cultivate the habits of an open mind ....uChicago showed us something else: that every great idea is really just a spectacular disagreement with some other great idea....to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say........there’s such a thing as private ownership in the public interest, and of fiduciary duties not only to shareholders but also to citizens. Journalism is not just any other business, like trucking or food services. .....But no country can have good government, or a healthy public square, without high-quality journalism — journalism that can distinguish a fact from a belief and again from an opinion; that understands that the purpose of opinion isn’t to depart from facts but to use them as a bridge to a larger idea called “truth”; and that appreciates that truth is a large enough destination that, like Manhattan, it can be reached by many bridges of radically different designs. In other words, journalism that is grounded in facts while abounding in disagreements.

I believe it is still possible — and all the more necessary — for journalism to perform these functions, especially as the other institutions that were meant to do so have fallen short. But that requires proprietors and publishers who understand that their role ought not to be to push a party line, or be a slave to Google hits and Facebook ads, or provide a titillating kind of news entertainment, or help out a president or prime minister who they favor or who’s in trouble.

Their role is to clarify the terms of debate by championing aggressive and objective news reporting, and improve the quality of debate with commentary that opens minds and challenges assumptions rather than merely confirming them.

This is journalism in defense of liberalism, not liberal in the left-wing American or right-wing Australian sense, but liberal in its belief that the individual is more than just an identity, and that free men and women do not need to be protected from discomfiting ideas and unpopular arguments. More than ever, they need to be exposed to them, so that we may revive the arts of disagreement that are the best foundation of intelligent democratic life.
assumptions  Bret_Stephens  civics  Colleges_&_Universities  courage  critical_thinking  dangerous_ideas  demagoguery  difficult_conversations  disagreements  discomforts  dissension  dual-consciousness  free_speech  good_governance  high-quality  identity_politics  journalism  liberalism  open_mind  polarization  the_human_condition  uChicago 
september 2017 by jerryking
Why I’m Moving Home
MARCH 16, 2017 | The New York Times | By J. D. VANCE.

" The economist Matthew Kahn has shown that in Appalachia, for instance, the highly skilled are much likelier to leave not just their hometowns but also the region as a whole. This is the classic “brain drain” problem: Those who are able to leave very often do.

The brain drain also encourages a uniquely modern form of cultural detachment. Eventually, the young people who’ve moved out marry — typically to partners with similar economic prospects. They raise children in increasingly segregated neighborhoods, giving rise to something the conservative scholar Charles Murray calls “super ZIPs.” These super ZIPs are veritable bastions of opportunity and optimism, places where divorce and joblessness are rare." ......“The sociological role [colleges and universities] play is to suck talent out of small towns and redistribute it to big cities.” There have always been regional and class inequalities in our society, but the data tells us that we’re living through a unique period of segregation....This has consequences beyond the purely material. Jesse Sussell and James A. Thomson of the RAND Corporation argue that this geographic sorting has heightened the polarization that now animates politics. This polarization reflects itself not just in our voting patterns, but also in our political culture...JD Vance has decided to move [back] home-to Ohio....."we often frame civic responsibility in terms of government taxes and transfer payments, so that our society’s least fortunate families are able to provide basic necessities. But this focus can miss something important: that what many communities need most is not just financial support, but talent and energy and committed citizens to build viable businesses and other civic institutions."
sorting  segregation  neighbourhoods  polarization  geographic_mobility  brain_drain  super_ZIPs  cultural_detachment  Rust_Belt  midwest  Red_states  whites  political_partisanship  political_polarization  working_class  J.D._Vance  highly_skilled  industrial_Midwest  Appalachia  cities  engaged_citizenry  talent  Charles_Murray  civics  social_mobility  self-perpetuation  values  opportunity_gaps  college-educated  geographic_sorting  regional  compartmentalization 
march 2017 by jerryking
On campus, it’s good to be bothered by a diversity of ideas - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Sep. 05, 2016

consider the advice U.S. President Barack Obama gave last spring to the graduating class of Howard University, a historically black college in Washington, D.C.

“Don’t try to shut folks out, don’t try to shut them down, no matter how much you might disagree with them,” Mr. Obama said in May. “There will be times when you shouldn’t compromise your core values, your integrity and you will have the responsibility to speak up in the face of injustice. But listen. Engage. If the other side has a point, learn from them. If they’re wrong, rebut them. Teach them. Beat them on the battlefield of ideas. And you might as well start practising now, because one thing I can guarantee you, you will have to deal with ignorance, hatred, racism, foolishness, trifling folks … at every stage of your life.”

Better yet, students should, in Prof. Levinovitz’s words, see university as a “boot camp, not a hotel.” You’re there to toughen up for real life, not shield yourself from its infuriating injustices, painful conflicts and, yes, even the Donald Trumps of this world. Because they’re everywhere.
Konrad_Yakabuski  Colleges_&_Universities  diversity  ideas  intellectual_exploration  political_correctness  censorship  political_orthodoxy  free_speech  hate_speech  safe_spaces  civility  polarization  intellectual_diversity  disagreements  argumentation  heterogeneity  core_values 
september 2016 by jerryking
Medicare Debate: How Obama, Paul Ryan Fooled Themselves -
June 02, 2011 | TIME | By Joe Klein.

Why, in a media atmosphere dominated by infotainers and telecharlatans, have our politicians suddenly gone all high-minded on us?

The answer is, they haven't. They just define "the public" differently than we do. Their public is smaller, and also plural. One of those mini-publics is their base: the diehards who show up for every primary and midterm election. Because of gerrymandering, those elections usually yield a crop of Congresspeople who reside on the left and right wings of their respective parties. And Congress itself constitutes a second, crucial public. If a President wants to get things done, he has to pay close attention to what the congressional members of his party want. And so Obama, who didn't even propose universal health care in 2008, finds himself enslaved by the desires of Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman. And John Boehner finds himself the servant of the Tea Party and hermetically sealed ideologues like Ryan. "It is a serious structural problem that has developed over the past 40 years," says William Galston of the Brookings Institution. "Both the electorate and the political parties are growing more polarized — but the parties have moved farther and faster to their respective sides of the spectrum than the public has." The result has been a series of public rebellions in reaction to ideological overreach by both parties.

There is a cure for this disease, but it's not high-minded. It is called politics, especially the sort of pragmatic politics Clinton practiced after he had his own hubristic, near-death, health care hallucination. It is an ugly process, involving compromise and small-time bribery for the public good — the slathering of pork on recalcitrant Representatives, the trimming of ideological sails.
Obama  Paul_Ryan  Bill_Clinton  Medicare  polarization  public_goods  gerrymandering  high-minded 
august 2012 by jerryking
A retail class divide
Dec. 04, 2010 | The Globe and Mail |MARINA STRAUSS — RETAILING REPORTER
retailers  Marina_Strauss  polarization 
december 2010 by jerryking
Our New National Divide
Wednesday, September 12, 2007 12:01 A.M. EDT WSJ op-ed by OWEN
WEST America's soldiers are committed to the war. But they're not going
to lie about its progress.
security_&_intelligence  Iraq  inspiration  leadership  war  polarization  USMC 
march 2009 by jerryking

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