Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Think For Yourself

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida

I hate it when people try to tell me what to think.   Does that really happen in real life?  Of course it does.  Politicians, media sources, bureaucrats, and even friends do that every day.   How can you resist?   Critical thinking.

Critical thinking means not necessarily believing what you hear.   You should listen to competing views.   Look around you for corroborating or countering evidence, and apply common sense.  Vigorously resist confirmation bias.

Sometimes, you stumble across very surprising things that rattle your foundations.  I just finished watching a very interesting intelligencesquared.com debate from Hong Kong entitled, "The World Needs Less Democracy, Not More." It is almost unimaginable for that subject to be debated in the USA.  But they did it in Hong Kong.  The audience appeared to be mostly British and American expats.  In the end, 24% of the audience voted for the proposition!  Do you think that is a biased result?  You should listen to the arguments first.

We once lived in Sweden.  Norway is Sweden's next door neighbor.  To outsiders, Norway and Sweden seem nearly indistinguishable, as do the USA and Canada seem indistinguishable (although the natives vigorously disagree).   But Sweden is neutral while Norway is a NATO member.   In Sweden only a madman would propose challenging neutrality.  In Norway, only a madman would propose embracing neutrality.

Democracy in the USA, and neutrality in Sweden are sacred cows. The legitimacy of sacred cows should be challenged regularly.

The bad news is what I read about the climate in US colleges and universities.  They appear to ruthlessly suppress any non-politically-correct views or speech.  Yes, I think critically about that assertion.  I've read arguments from both sides and I've listened the intelligencesquared debate on the topic. (embedded below).  I think that the problem is real and that it bodes ill for the future of this country.

But don't let me tell you what to think.  Watch the debate and do your own research before forming your opinion.  I promise, it is very entertaining.

Resolved: Liberals Are Stifling
Intellectual Diversity On Campus

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