Protesting Summit High School students need to keep open minds |

Protesting Summit High School students need to keep open minds

I am generally loath to get involved in political discussions, especially when it comes to the subject of war. So, having said that, I’ll wade right in.

My comments are directed primarily toward the Summit High School students who have strong feelings about the war in Iraq. I urge them to keep their focus but to maintain an open mind.

If you carefully read letters to the editor, you will find glib quotes and caustic and vituperative comments, surrounded by a glaring inability to engage in a rational discussion.

You will be in an exceedingly rarified group of people if you can honestly listen to opposing points of view and let valid counter-arguments shape your philosophy.

Of course, as you read many of those letters, you can become, as have I, resolutely cynical about the ability of the general populace to rationally discuss much of anything.

Reading those letters to the editor, one is reminded of Sir Winston Churchill, who once said that the best argument against democracy is a 10-minute conversation with the man on the street.

So, go home tonight and listen to the 1960s war protest songs of Bob Dylan, Barry McGuire and Glenn Campbell, or to the patriotic songs that recall the proud names and actions of our nation’s war heroes.

But when you engage in discussions, acknowledge a valid point of view of someone of a differing opinion. And always keep your mind open to change.

For those who oppose the war, taking a stand with no basis in reality is not rational and is sheer folly. Is war ever necessary? If so, when? For those who support the war, what do you think about the quote attributed (by James Boswell) to Samuel Johnson, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”?

Revel in a challenge to your philosophy, no matter how well-grounded you think it is. It’s all about the free flow of ideas. 

Plato said, “The danger of becoming misologists is one of the very worst things that can happen to us. For as there are misanthropists or haters of men, there are also misologists or haters of ideas, and both spring from the same cause, which is ignorance of the world.”

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