Friday, March 03, 2006

In praise of actual thinking

Babble on.

After reading him for almost two years now, first at the now-defunct PolSpy, and now at The Urban Refugee, I can testify that Sean McCormick will reliably show up on whichever side of an issue you least expect him to. Just try to pigeonhole him. I dare you.

Look, most of us living out here accept that the world economy is powered by hydrocarbons and will be for some time. We accept that we need to keep pumping this stuff out of the ground to keep everything going. But those of us who live in the communities where the oil and gas is being produced would appreciate it if people stopped bullshitting us about how safe we are. We see the damaged fields and pastures. We get sick every time the wind blows in from nearby flare stacks. We see the crap that gets spilled on the roads and in the ditches. We know better.

Reasonable, honest, grounded. And extremely unusual.

There are at least two sides to every issue. That's not to say each side is of equal merit. But shutting out any argument other than your own means your contribution to the understanding of any given problem declines rapidly to nil.

The Amazing Wonderdog illustrates this time and again. Read his brilliant post on gun control. Or on the LAVIII. Tell me you don't come away with a better understanding of the subject because he chooses honesty over loyalty to a particular side.

Some folks are all about the party line. You know who they are. They've tied a tourniquet of partisanship around their own necks, with the expectation that it will cut off the blood supply only to the section of their brain that processes doubt. The truth is that it cuts off the blood supply, period. Apparently being completely brain dead is not an impediment to blogging. A crying shame, that.

I'm not immune to the affliction, although I try my hardest to innoculate myself against it by reading intelligent contrary views. I tolerate hacks on my side of an issue much better than hacks on the other side, it's true. But like junk food, you can only scarf back so much before it starts to make you ill.

I wouldn't go so far as Skippy does, suggesting that "life isn't a team sport." I look into my kids' eyes and hope to God they have more happiness, more prosperity, more of a life than I do, and if that means giving up the rest of mine, so be it. No matter whether they're on my team, I'll always be on theirs.

But while life might be a team sport, blogging at its best certainly isn't. His point is well-taken as it applies to political discourse: independence for its own sake is immature and pointless, while blind partisanship is downright stupid.

Babble off.


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