Liberty of Thought and Discussion:
I read a very logical and convincing work today by John Stuart Mills entitled "Liberty of Thought and Discussion". Mills makes the argument that society should promote discussion and debate, because "the only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion, and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind." The biggest evil is to silence opinions or brand a differentiating opinion as "evil", because it inhibits discussion.
Sadly, several examples of this occur today in our society, especially in politics. President Bush's chronic characterization of Iraq war critics as "unpatriotic" and "weak" is prohibiting debate on the best course of action that America should take. "All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility." It is wrong for any President to act in this way. It is even worse to permit this type of demeanor given all the mishaps his leadership has already committed. Unfortunately, most of politics is now ran on a similar behavior. In our world of short attention spans and 30 second media ads, are we doomed to fall prey to propoganda and ignorance?
Mills' logic is very provoking and hits the heart in today's society. I urge everyone to read the mentioned chapter by Mr. Mills. The link is displayed below as well as under the links section of this blog.
Liberty of Thought and Discussion: Chapter Two