Sunday, November 22, 2015

Resurrect the Conversation

Conversation (noun): an interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons.

Conversation, by its definition, requires more than one individual and the interchange of information.  From this definition we purport that conversation, especially political conversation, is largely non-existent on college campuses and beyond.  The basis for our position is that there is no interchange of thought between people.  We argue that feelings are not thoughts; and an interchange requires an exchange of thought.

For example, a baby cries when she is in discomfort, it is a one way exchange of a feeling but not a conversation.  This is the situation we see as students shout demands about their feelings of discomfort, a la, safe zones against macroaggression or how to dress for Halloween.  For these students, feelings substitutes for fact, discourse and conclusion.  Their feeling is absolute and is the end of conversation, not the beginning.  Thus, there has been a death of conversation in that only one person shouting or making a demand on another is necessary.

But good society requires good discourse; without discourse what good is society?  Good discourse begins with critical thinking, identifying sources of fact then agreeing on a set of facts.  With a set of common facts, good discourse can critically explore good policy – and the perspectives on what makes good policy can differ greatly.  But it is the differences, when honestly debated, which can produce exceptional results.  Case and point, the Constitution of the United States!

Let us resurrect conversation, and in turn, be vigilant and be free.

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