Friday, September 02, 2005

Conspicuous in its absence

The critical habit of thought, if usual in society, will pervade all its mores, because it is a way of taking up the problems of life. Men educated in it cannot be stampeded by stump orators ... They are slow to believe. They can hold things as possible or probable in all degrees, without certainty and without pain. They can wait for evidence and weigh evidence, uninfluenced by the emphasis or confidence with which assertions are made on one side or the other. They can resist appeals to their dearest prejudices and all kinds of cajolery. Education in the critical faculty is the only education of which it can be truly said that it makes good citizens.

William Graham Sumner, Folkways, 1906

I wholeheartedly respect everyone's right to live their life and hold whatever opinions they see fit, in whatever manner they deem appropriate, to the extent that it doesn't endanger another's well-being. There are days, however, when the histrionics and the egos and the narrow-mindedness and the tendency to escalate and put on parade as opposed to moderate and find common ground and work toward understanding and practical solutions hits a point of critical mass. There are days when it happens again & again, and from loved ones who view a difference in perspective and an attempt at dispassionate or unbiased consideration to be a lack of fealty or support, or worse, outright betrayal. There are day when disbelief and disappointment make the brain hurt and the heart ache and tolerance shifts from
an act of love to an exhausting act of measured discipline.

I am thankful, even for these days, there is no question. But still. There are days.

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