Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Conversations: The Other Side

I owe a large debt to Dr. Greg Baer for instilling in me a conviction that people are always good, though they may be lost or misguided ("drowning" in Baer's terminology). Professor George Lakoff , in his book, Moral Politics, applies a similar lesson to politics by suggesting that both the progressive and conservative political movements have the same goal in mind, in the broadest terms. The main streams of both movements want peace and prosperity, though the means (and trade-offs required) to arrive at that utopian end differ starkly.

I'd like to use this edition of "conversations" to invite TBD readers to submit a person, idea, or organization with sharply contrasting views from your own. Along with a sentence about why you find this entity to be so wrongheaded, write another sentence or two affirming the existence of common ground. I'll start:

Dennis Prager. One of the most ubiquitous conservative Jews in the American media, Prager constantly frustrates my naive desire to think of Judaism and progressivism as natural bedfellows; he lands on the "other" side of nearly every issue I care about, including immigration, Iraq, the Middle East, capital punishment...the list goes on.

In his recent "Letter to Our Soldiers in Iraq," Prager argues that "a society unwilling to fight for its values does not have values worth sustaining," thereby implying that the war in Iraq was necessary to the long-term protection of "freedom and democracy." While I flatly disagree with the assumption that acts of aggression are the best path to ultimate peace - and strongly believe that punitive warfare is nearly always counterproductive - I also believe that Prager's support for the war is based on a genuine desire for "good." Mr. Prager, if you are reading this, I would be happy to have you over for tea to discuss these matters as adults. :)

Ok, your turn!

1 comment:

Mark said...

My biggest frustration with views that differ from mine is the Westboro Baptist Church. Their site, http://www.godhatesfags.com/, aptly describes why I have problems with the organization. A church with only 200 members, they acquire attention by condemning people to hell. It is just a bothersome thought.