I Knew I’d Disagree With It. That’s Why I Read It
To me, it would be the height of intellectual stagnation to follow only the websites, news sources, books, magazines, radio stations, podcasts, or political commentators that I know in advance I’ll agree with. People have fallen into the intellectual trap of confirmation bias to the point that they will only believe the “news” that they want to be true. Then they repost it on whatever echo chamber is their social media of choice, for the people who already think exactly like they do. To quote Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth:
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
Larry Winget is one of my best friends. A part of our friendship that we both absolutely value and appreciate is that get into spirited (to say the least) disagreements on a regular basis about politics, what’s right or wrong with society, and maybe even on occasion, but very rarely, what the best bourbons are. The head-knocking might get heated, but it’s never disrespectful. At the end of any disagreement that we have, we come back to some basic values that we share.
Larry’s got a new book out – What’s Wrong With Damn Near Everything!: How The Collapse of Core Values Is Destroying Us and How to Fix It. I just finished reading it and I can tell you without reservation that 1) I recommend it and, 2) I disagree with a lot of what’s in it.
What I agree with are the values he talks about, such as honesty, work ethic, adding value through your business, doing the right thing every single time, and just plain old being nice. So what do I disagree with? Get the book (link to Amazon below) and see if you can guess.
My point is that I read Larry’s book knowing that I’d probably disagree with a lot of his positions. But how on earth can I engage with him, talk about it, and show him the error of his ways if I have no idea what he’s said? We shouldn’t seek to avoid the ideas and perspectives with which we disagree. We should listen, seek to understand the other person’s position and the reasons behind it, and then respectfully engage those people with our own ideas.
Who knows, if you intentionally really listen to positions that you think you are 100% opposed to, you may have the same experience that I sometimes have – that realization of “Wow. I never thought of it that way.” And then maybe constructive conversation and points of agreement can be discovered.
If it’s all “hooray for our side,” from all sides, we’ll never move forward, make progress, or solve problems. We’ll be stuck.
Let’s get unstuck.