Sunday, December 20, 2015

What is it to "offend"?

What is the harm in offending someone?  Everyone seems to be up-in-arms about language or actions that may offend a person or entity, but what is the real damage being done?  I was taught that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”…did I miss something? Do I have the saying backwards?

It is true that words can be powerful, and if said with the right cadence, timing and to the right audience, can illuminate the mind and call the body to action. But have our minds as a collective become so weak that any word or phrase can illicit such a hub-bub?

Today we do not strive to answer the question in what is the offense in offending, we simply pose the question for your consideration.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Rules of Engagement

In the wake of campus “reform” movements taking place at various universities across the country, it is important to make honest debate once again the structure of these conversations.  We have written and spoken often about engaging in honest debate and the importance in dealing in facts to drive discussion.

Two students at UC Berkeley, have written a piece suggesting three rules of engagement for campus protest/movements to assure these become discussions where people can speak but, as important, listen to the other points of view.
  1. Use your speech to ignite principled engagement with the issues, not to extinguish the voices of others
  2. Respect the diverse ways people use public spaces, and refrain from monopolizing them with bodily blockades or disproportionate noise
  3. Scrap the inane chants in favor of compelling arguments, aesthetically presented; protest with an eye to the history books and the creation of culture
These points may seem obvious and commonly practiced, but they are worthy of note, as much of what is referred to as debates or political discourse today is nothing more than preaching a message for consumption into a 5 to 15 second sound-bite for use by a partisan media.

Read “Toward a Freer Speech onCampus: A Perspective from the Concerned Student of 1791” by Nicolas L. Jaber & Nihal Singh by following the link


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Into the Light

In light of the recent tragedies that have struck people worldwide, we are reminded of what we hold most dear.  It is a shame that terrible events are the ones that make us think the most about what we hold dear.

Parents worry of the world they have brought their children into, and children worry about what the world is becoming. In wanting to leave and make this world a better place for ourselves and our posterity, we must continue thinking, speaking, and acting justly.

The relative few that commit these horrible acts should not silence the voice of the many that oppose such violence.  Do not let your voice go unheard; and when you do speak, do so with a steady voice, virtue in your heart and reasoned thought – one might refer to this as vigilance.