“There are two side to every question …”

We seem to have forgotten this age old bit of wisdom these days.

"There are two sides to every question" -- a quote from the Protagoras by Diogenes Laerius, Greek philosopher (485 BC – 421 BC)

The fashion these days is to grab a point of view, and cling to it, no matter what. We refuse, downright refuse to look at the other side – and there’s always another side. No, instead we stuff up our ears and open our mouths to scream ‘wrong!’ hoping that a big noise repeated loudly enough will  drown out the other view.

If our arguments fail, why then there’s always ridicule and personal attack. We’ll use intimidation tactics, belligerence and anger. There's always threats and name calling. We’ll say and do just about anything rather than see or hear the other side of the question.

A civilized exchange of differing views has become impossible.

Why is that?

“In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.” -- Walter Cronkite quotes (American Journalist well known for his role as a television news anchor, b.1916)

Name any issue. Go ahead and think of one. Can’t? Want some help? Here’s a small list to help you along:

  • The proposed changes to the medical insurance industry
  • The building of a mosque near ground zero
  • A woman’s right to choice in reproduction
  • Capitalism as a foundation for society
  • Illegal immigrants
  • The control of sex offenders
  • America’s role as ‘world police’
  • Israel and the Palestinians
  • The division of Ireland
  • Foreign outsourcing of jobs
  • President Obama’s performance so far

I’ll bet every one of you has a strongly held position on at least one of these issues. And here's the most interesting thing: no matter what your view on any of these issues, you will be both right and wrong. There are always two sides to every question. No one side has an exclusive on truth and reason.

Whatever your chosen stand, we hope it is an opinion based on independent thought, research and education on the situation, long deliberation, a review of all sides of the issue… In other words, it’s an opinion conceived of intellectual process.

“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.” -- Marshall McLuhan

We hope, but let’s face it, for many the intellectual process is a foreign concept.

Seems to me, many of us subscribe to a program, take on a label, and adopt what we perceive to be befitting that particular description. For example, let’s say I call myself a conservative. Now as a conservative, I must: vote Republican; support the ideal of America the land of free enterprise; espouse family values (i.e. the father is head of the household; the mother should stay home with the children) we should all go to church; be against government spending for social programs but pro government spending for military; pro for profit, private enterprise medicine and corporate entity medical insurance -- with no ground given; believe the poor are deservedly so, and it’s not my worry anyway; my favorite answer is, ‘Not on my dime.’ On the other hand, if I call myself a liberal, well then I’d …

We become caricatures of our belief systems. We dress the part, walk the walk and talk the talk. We absorb the role and accept the lines already written for us. It saves us so much work. No need to examine the issues; no need to question the sources; no need to think. There are many standing before us as our role models with ready made opinions for us. "Join us but only if you believe as we do..."

We like belonging. We like being led.

All of which is fine, providing we can still think rationally, and give ourselves the flexibility to consider all aspects of the issues, take what works for us, discard that which does not, and become fully functional. We will discover there is truth to be found on both sides of an issue. Neither is one hundred percent right or wrong.

Why do we then refuse to even look? As if to give a grudging inch means ceding all. In fact, we react with anger if even asked to do so. Are we so afraid of everything that is not ‘part of our program’ we can't acknowledge even a small truth despite the evidence before us?

“Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.” -- Mohandas Gandhi

A necessary part of life is that we make decisions and reach judgments. But decisions made “without due examination” or judgments reached “on other grounds than reason or justice” are evidences of a closed mind. Having an open mind, on the other hand, means to be receptive to new information and ideas. It means being willing to examine and to evaluate information without a biased attitude…

Are you open-minded enough to consider the possibility that you may not be? It will pay to find out. Whereas an open mind can serve to your advantage, a closed one will almost certainly serve to your detriment.

Before we “knew” so much, before we became attached to our beliefs as though they were truths, we had the ability to ask innocent questions, to view a situation from every angle with unbiased eyes and to selectively acquire beliefs from both sides of a problem.

Yes, illegal immigrants are taking jobs that may have given income to American families, and yes, as they have crossed with none of the normal controls, criminals may have entered, and yes, they may present a burden on the taxpayers if they fall sick. On the other side, we must also acknowledge, most illegal immigrants are law abiding, hard working, taking on jobs under conditions others may not, often exploited by employers, fleeing poverty and lack of a future in their homelands, seeking a better life for their children, trying to support families back home ...

Does understanding the other side change our view that illegal immigration is a problem that must be solved? Not at all. In fact, we now have a better understanding of the issue.

Why then have we become so confrontational when discussing the issues before us?

According to some experts in human psychology, we react from ego. Very often, especially when arguing, people focus on winning, or being right, which tends to mean that they are asking the other person to admit that he/she was wrong. We may also find ourselves reacting to the feeling that we are being told that we are “wrong” when arguing. When people focus on winning, others tend to experience this as having his/her feelings or perspective discounted or disrespected. This is only going to lead to defensiveness and escalation from both parties. Instead of focusing on understanding the perspectives of both sides we close our minds, and only concentrate on being right, on winning.

The sad thing is, none of us holds the truth. We are all ‘fed’ our views, and all that differs between us is which voice we heard, and how willing we are to be programmed. We are all wrong; we are all right. We are all dupes – let’s be honest.

“Appearances often are deceiving.” Aesop quotes (Author of a collection of Greek fables. 620 BC-560 BC)

What is this phenomenon that causes to react to a differing opinion with such antagonism. We stake our self esteem, our pride  on some idea we hold, acquired we’re not sure how, but kept sacred as some truth so special we dare not even consider any alternative?

It is our natural tendency to think that we see things the way they really are. But since we all see things from our own perspectives, filtered through those acquired beliefs we vest with such importance, it should be apparent that we see things as we are, not as they are. The inability to see things from another’s perspective is at the root of relationship problems everywhere: from personal life, to work, to conflicts between religions, cultures, and nations.

We need some shifts in focus to see the world through another person’s eyes. Generally, our resistance to do so comes from two sources: a) we “know” we are right and the other person is wrong; and b) we think if we attempt to see things from the other’s point of view, we might have to give up our own.

And that's how we lose so many opportunities to learn, to grow, to agree and cooperate.

"Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will."  -- Martin Luther King, Jr.


Deborah Tannen, a noted linguist, professor, and author of the bestseller You Just Don't Understand, decries in The Argument Culture what she considers our compulsive desire to use combative rhetoric when we communicate in public - in the media, in politics, in our courtrooms and classrooms.

The argument culture urges us to approach the world - and the people in it - in an adversarial frame of mind. It rests on the assumption that opposition is the best way to get anything done; the best way to discuss an idea is to set up a debate; the best way to cover news is to find spokespeople who express the most extreme example of any opinion.

And we feed on it.

Suddenly, it is not enough for for us to hold our blind beliefs, we now insist that everyone must believe as we do. We tout our causes, politic to change the laws of the land to suit our vision, fight anyone and anything that espouses views differing to our own. Do we stop to think of what we're really doing?

We are destroying freedom and restricting personal choice, knowledge, wisdom, all in the ego-driven belief we and we alone are right.

We must avoid even a glance at the other side. For surely if we acknowledge that therein lies the tiniest slip of a truth, our whole structure will tumble down.

If I am a staunch conservative, I can't admit there are real injustices that might be solved through a more accessible and publicly supported health care system. No, I can't grant even that much -- no matter how much evidence is piled before my eyes.

If I am a liberal, I mustn't agree that the influx of illegal immigrants has increased violent crime in the border states, and places an unfair burden on the already inadequate social services, even though the truth of such a statement is self-evident.

We must avoid looking at the other side. We avoid truth.

"The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding." -- Albert Camus

So what has prompted this essay on truth, Lynda? Why are you writing this now?

There are certain names that pop up in your inbox that as soon as you see them you already know what it is they’re going to say – none of which will have anything to do with the point you’ve made in your article. You know the ones. There’s Jon who spams any hub with political content with his raving, rants against the Obama administration; HisServant who reduces everything to his own rather peculiar interpretation of God’s law; Deb who spews hatred for gays wherever she goes and whose favorite refrain is “get your hands off my county!” You know ‘em.

Okay, we tell ourselves – the lunatic fringe. The only decision is whether to delete or allow the comment.

But they’re not the only ones who work from preconceptions and refuse to consider the other side. I know I’ve been guilty of that on some subjects . When it came to child sex abuse, I held very narrow views. I saw only the victims. Working on some cases, I turned a deaf ear to the rebukes of the social workers trying to keep that family together, trying to find a solution for both offender and victim. Not surprising, I suppose, for someone whose job was to connect with the child, gain trust, hear their words, lead them into treatment, advocate for them with the authorities, protect them…

Yes, to me , anyone labeled a sex offender was the lowest of the low, deserving of whatever punishment society chose to hand out – and hung, drawn and quartered sounded about right to me.

I didn’t want to hear anything else. I wouldn’t. Not only would I not listen – there was no other side to this issue.

In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t been so stubborn, so emotional, so one-sided. I would have been more effective in my work. I missed many opportunities to learn, to expand my understanding.

Now, finally realizing there is another side to the whole sex-offender story – in fact there are many – I felt ready to explore that. To this opening of the eyes, I can only credit some new people who have come into my life, workers on the ‘other side.’ I owe gratitude to a number of people, some from law enforcement, some in the legal profession, one or two in social services, a chaplain, and a few other brave and dedicated souls.

Some of us mature more slowly than others, and perhaps I am one. Part of wisdom -- which myth has it comes with age -- is the ability to see both sides of the question. Of this, I am sure.

I have now made a vow to look at all issues from both sides.

The Bible itself exhorts us to examine all things, never to take anything at face value, but to study, consider and judge for ourselves:

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thess. 5:21)

Sooner or later we all run into a closed mind. They don’t want to know whatever it is you are trying to explain – it makes no difference. Case closed. Might as well be talking to the wall; my aunt used to say.

For those who want to see for yourselves the kind of responses that inspired me to write this article, I urge you to study some of the comments on my recent article on sex offenders, the sex offenders registry and the idea there may be injustice in some cases. Yes, truly one-sided visionaries do abound.

I would share the contents of my email inbox with you, but hubpages would quickly yank it off as inappropriate content. Amazing -- I tried to write a very balanced account of the issues of the sex offenders registry, some of the social problems involved, the political ones -- an all round fair article. Now, apparently, I am lower than a female dog, evil incarnate, a turncoat, a witless dupe of the lying, moaning, self-pitying offenders themselves, deserve to be violated (in every way imaginable) by those I 'defend'...

Listen all -- there are indeed two sides to every issue, and whether you like it or not, both sides need to be understood before we ask society to make further decisions.

“Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either." -- Aesop quotes (Ancient Greek Author of a collection of fables. 620 BC-560 BC)

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Comments 44 comments

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Hence I love that Oscar Wilde quote so much: "The truth is rarely pure and never simple."

It takes a certain eye to see both sides I think. Experience can shape such an eye or not. Just my opinion.

A great blog you have written once again. Cheers!


resspenser profile image

resspenser 6 years ago from South Carolina

I like to think I have an open mind. I don't always agree with folks I talk to but mostly I keep my opinions to myself if I differ with them. Unless they tick me off, of course. I find the truth may be out there, but it's somewhere in the middle. Great thought provoking Hub, unless of course you are not open minded.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Mr. Happy, considering the life Oscar Wilde lived, I am sure he became on expert on impure and complicated truths. Thanks for the comment.

Hi resspenser, Having come to know you a little, I would suggest yes, you do have an open mind, and that you stand in the middle, but still open to thoughts from either side. Yes, I'm sure you are one of the wise who has learned there are no absolutes. Thanks very much for reading. Lynda


Hovalis profile image

Hovalis 6 years ago from Australia

How very true, Lynda. It's a pity that the art of looking at both sides of an argument seems to be dying, and if you try, there are cries of "See? You were wrong and I was right!" The world is rarely that black and white. It'd be nice if it was, but it just isn't.

I can't tell you how many times I've been told when I tell people I'm Agnostic, for example, "You're on the fence, you've got to make a decision. Are you Christian or an Athiest? You have to be one or the other. Being Agnostic is being on the fence. You can't stay there."

I say to them. "It's a nice place to be. My beliefs don't have to be yours."

I think, to an extent, that the polarisation you see today is because people feel more secure in a crowd. In a way I can't blame them, and I know I do it myself sometimes, but I at least try to attempt to see the other side most times. Sometimes more successfully than others. I don't think anybody's perfect in that respect.

Thank you for writing such an insightful article. It's something that really needed to be said.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thank you very much Hovalis. Praise from you ... You're right people do feel more secure in a crowd -- some kind of herd instinct at work. But we don't have to accept the crowd's view as gospel without examination. We can align ourselves wherever we feel comfortable, but should still maintain the ability to judge for ourselves. Thanks again for reading this. Lynda


Nan 6 years ago

There are two sides to everything, positive and negative, they attract and bond together. Or, we can view the two sides as right and wrong. I appreciate your article, some people don't like gays and other foreigners in their neighborhood WHY, because they want freedom speech, etc., but not for everyone. They don't like changes, and are afraid of new things. They are not scientist! We don't have to all be the same.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Nan -- you just stated the problem -- labeling the two sides as positive and negative, right and wrong. They are neither and as long as we view things this way, we will never have understanding. So let's not call the two sides by these terms. After all, right and wrong depends on your personal point of view. Thanks for commenting. Lynda


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

immartin

In your example on illegal immigrants, it should be illegal aliens because they are not immigrating. They are actually avoiding the immigration process. By doing so they are getting preferential treatment in the US. At the same time tens of thousand of immigrants are being turned away from this country because of the immigration process. A process which that is expensive and time consuming. So these illegals are preventing the equal protection of the immigrants in the lawful immigration process.

Many of the illegal aliens are not law abiding and fill up our jails and prisons. The rest absorb many benefits and resources, including medical, legal and education. They also possibly vote in our elections, and participate in welfare programs.

The defense of our borders and countries is a serious matter. Not only from terrorists but also the drug cartels.

I didn't mention these to comment on immigration but just to show there are more than two sides.

The loyal political party voter is an example of looking at only their side.

Your bible quote is ambiguous

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thess. 5:21)

What is proof and what is good, these are all subjective, and they are shades of gray.

Having said this I think that the problem in the country is partisanship politics. If you figure out how to get congress to see both sides of the aisle, then you can really change the world.

~:}


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks Opinon Ducks, There is nothing ambiguous about the biblical quote -- it means just what it says -- examine what you receive and accept only what is good -- to you. Good and bad being a totally subjective measure. And this article wasn't about immigration, and that was only meant as an example -- but I'm sure you're RIGHT.

Nor was the article about the country -- any country, nor government, any government, but about individuals. All change must start with the self.

Thanks for commenting. Lynda


"Quill" 6 years ago

Hi Lynda.... love you girl... right from the hip and God bless you for taking the time to look at the two sides.

I for one love the place you are in life, love the fact that you are you. Your opinions do count in my books.

Stay true to the course girl... know that you are loved and appreciated...

Special Hugs and Blessings this day


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia

lmmartin - Many thanks for this hub. Voted up and bookmarked. It is one link that I will forward on more than I would like. I always try and look at both sides but admit I am opinionated. That said my opinions can and do change based on the evidence presented to me. I do get a lot of flak and I rarely touch the subjects of religion or politics. Thanks again.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

To put in a nutshell -- hyou certainly don't deserve any of these horrible names. The issue you broght out into open needs to be dealt the best it can and you done a wonderful job. Over here there is never week wher we done read about cases like that. I not normally like that but I still think there should be the death penalty. Today I read an article about a .............. who is only in his twenties and had done about 1000 cases. He got 8 years which means he will serve about half. Then what?


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks Quill, Good to get a virtual hug. Thanks for the support.

Hi Peter, the very fact you admit your are opinionated suggests you may have an open mind. I am also opinionated, but will still examine the other side of the issue. Thanks for commenting.

Hi Hello, and thanks for your support. Gosh a thousand cases -- would be one every day for three years (more or less) or every other day for six years, or every third day for nine years... Seems kind of unlikely, but then I'll remain open minded. Thanks for commenting. I always enjoy hearing from you. Lynda


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

Thank you Lynda. I prefer the idea that there are MANY sides to an issue, and the view we have of the issues is skewed by our experiences. I think the notion that there are only 2 sides feeds the compulsion to have to choose the 1 right side. There are 2 extreme poles to every issue, and unlimited points between the 2 poles. None of these is any more right than any other. There are a few things that I do take an extreme view on, but I don't feel compelled to convert others to my view. I could be mistaken! It does seem like extremist voices have gotten louder lately, and another crusade is about to be fought.


Valigator 6 years ago

Lynda Martin is obviously introverted this am and eludes to the social commentary about "people refusing to acknowledge other points of views" she is surprised that others would admonish her article (Interviews with Four sexual predators) and lumps Conservatives, Gay bashers,Obama dissenters and forgot who else and uses the term "Lunatic fringe" in the same paragraph. She sprinkles a few memorable quotes from Martin Luther King, Albert Camus and Aesop to validate her post for good measure.(I always love when they do that) It looks like they want to appear more enlightened than they actually are and what's better to insert in one's opinion but famous quotes from famous dead people??? I am sure Lynda M. Martin is not a bad person and some of her writings have some very valid opinions and observations that one would be hard pressed to disagree with. Many others, I doubt.. and when those public writings have an impact on people looking for "truths" and or information on a very real very dangerous social issue? Then admonishment is called for.The fact she doesn't respond well to dissent on her views is as obvious as it gets by this latest version of her "There are two sides to every question" piece. Where She and I differ is I would have titled "there are two sides to every argument and the truth most likely is in the middle"..MMartin is a liberal who lives in a world in which she wants it to be" and thinks policy should reflect that perception. ""liberals have a pesky habit of that" "I live in a world in which it is and am very speculative of policies that don't reflect that" MMartin is very disturbed and makes mention of it that her e-mail box has been on fire since her Predator article "some even threatening" OH MY!!! well Ms. Lynda I sent you one e-mail and that was a reply to your article that you refused to post and there was nothing threatening in it. Try living as one of the "in the trenches" real child advocates (without fancy credentials) who attempts to clean up their neighborhoods as you precious LE "sources" keeps dumping them in and hopes the neighbors don't notice or make noise about it so they don't have to do more paperwork. Try violating a violent offender who was dropped in your neighborhood again because the PO didn't check the "residency restrictions" before she gave the ok and the rent was doable. Try calling down police chief's in your city because they couldn't be bothered to notify the surrounding neighbors that a convicted Predator with a horrendous history just moved in (as they are required to do by law).Try understanding how a guy who served less than 2/3 of his original sentence for kidnapping and rape can be free to walk the streets and be "released from supervision" Try walking in those shoes for one lousy day when a person like myself has to position herself between the bad guys and the cops who resent you when you demand they enforce the most basic of Laws that have already been written with the Blood of our kids. Yea, my heart bleeds for your disturbing e-mails and your morning epiphany that people are so narrow minded..PS here is a very enlightening quote for you: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and is on the sex offender registry 9 out 10 times "its a duck"


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks kimh039 -- of course there are many sides to any issue, and the term two sides is merely a quote. Yes, extremist voices have gotten louder, no doubt. Thanks for commenting here. Lynda


kkalmes 6 years ago

Hello Lynda,

Excellent hub, excellent insight into human nature and nice try to get people to read the words on the page as they are written and not as they are read, but for those who cannot admit being wrong or being closed-minded or suspect they are somehow being disrespected... and absolutely cannot give an inch of their opinion to gain a mile of knowledge... your article read:

YOU JERKS WHO CAN'T ALLOW FOR ANOTHER SIDE OR ANOTHER OPINION ARE ALL @## WIPES!

It of course said nothing of the kind, but you will never convince "them" that it didn't. A real shame because respect and consideration trump truculence and ignorance any day!

Bring it on guys... you know who you are!!!

thumbs up and awesome because we don't have an excellent rating.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks kkalmes. Always a pleasure to meet you here and enjoy once again your quiet voice of reason and refinement. Love ya, babe. Lynda


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

Lynda

my opinion on changing people, a person at a time is not possible.

people today are the same as they were in BC.

people can be controlled and manipulated but not by the same thing and not for long. New forces change the dynamics, still bad but different.

good and evil are subjective and every culture has their own idea.

Thanks


FloBe profile image

FloBe 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for writing this article, Lynda. I'm sure it took courage to look within. It is sometimes hard work to see both sides when it would be so much easier to just follow what we want to believe. I try to look at both extremes of an issue and conclude that somewhere in the middle lies the truth.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Opinion Duck, I think changing people is not the goal here so much as changing yourself. Really -- all we can ever stand responsible for is ourselves. And that's all that really matters. Thanks again. Lynda

Hi FloBe, Sounds like you've found the way to wisdom. Some of us learn later than others. Thanks for the comment. Lynda


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

This was vey inspiring and insightful and truthful. Very refreshing read.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks JannyC -- how goes the freelance? Lynda


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Oops, your "wisdom" is showing. To learn, to become more "aware" is an awesome experience. I am still trying to learn to ask the "right" questions... to enable my understanding of the polarity of "... two sides to every question." It is a process... Great hub, Flag Up and awesome...


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks dallas, all of life is a process, or so it seems. No sooner do we catch up with where we are, and we're off again in a new direction. Keeps it fun. Lynda


ocbill profile image

ocbill 6 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

2 sided question 2 sided answer. It depends on one's perception.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

If you say so ocbill. Perhaps those two sided answers are simply those attempting to view both sides of an issue. Let's hope that perception is generous.


elliotm 6 years ago

There is wisdom in knowing that the argument of the other, whomever they may be is always worth an open ear but in this world, when dealing with some issues, there are facts and there's ignorance. For example, when dealing with the issues of evolution or global warming, there's reality and then there's the other point of view and if we approach the issue with a middle of the road, let's hear everybody out attitude then people with no education or real knowledge are to be considered as equal to experts and scholars. Some times as a society it is wisest to differ some issues to those with the expertise to make the right decisions and for everyone else to listen and learn.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

No doubt Elliotm, there are times where the ignorant should defer to the knowlegable, but that assumes we're smart enough to know the difference. As I'm sure you're aware, the idea of hearing everybody out on absolutely every question is not what I'm suggesting here. Lynda


Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

Tatjana-Mihaela 6 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

Beautiful and so inspiring. Nothing to add or comment, you have told all what matters.

Thank you.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thank you, Tatjana. Lynda


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

You have made many excellent points. I'd say this is fairly well balanced as well. I think this changes with age. I know that my world view is different than it was thirty years ago on many issues, and the same on some. Part of living is observing and figuring out how things work.

I am a conservative but I know very few conservatives who would accept your description that conservatives don't think women should work. There are many conservative women running for office right now who have worked plenty themselves. So, part of the problem is when either side decides what the other side thinks without hearing what they really think.

Conservatives believe more in private charity than government largess, that is true. But not that all poor people deserve to be poor at all. There are mentally disabled people, physically disabled people, widows, orphans, and those temporarily down on their luck. Private charity is able to discriminate between those and others who are simply lazy, or have made terrible life choices.

I think the rise of progressivism and atheism has divided the country greatly.

On one side are those who believe the founding fathers were awesome men; that free enterprise has created a country of unimaginable wealth, in which we all share to some extent; that virtue and civility should be promoted, as well as strong families; that there is a God who created and is active in the world; that achievement should not be punished nor sloth awarded; that America is flawed but overall a great nation; that it is detrimental to split the country into identity groups through multiculturalism instead of promoting unity; that immigration should only be allowed through legal channels, which is why we have borders; that people who commit crimes should be punished; that innocent life in the womb is precious and should be protected; that marriage is the foundation of the family which is the foundation of civilization; that people should be free and have the liberty that is inherent in their God given rights; that a small government has little power to coerce and therefore is most desirable; that people should be self-reliant under most circumstances; that as much government as possible should be local, or regional, but not centralized; and that collectivism has proved itself a creator of human misery on every scale in which it has been tried.

On the other side are people who disagree with all or some of that worldview. That's a big gap to bridge.

There is no reason to insult people, as you say. People will not naturally agree on everything. Cooperation, compromise and most all: persuasion, are needed. I don't think this means that there is no such thing as Truth, however.

And for many policies, there are now concrete results we can all see. But there again, it is human nature not to announce that one has been wrong all of one's life about an issue. Some folks went to their deaths still defended Josef Stalin, despite overwhelming evidence he had murdered over 20 million people. Why? Because they had defended him before, and to some it is humiliating to ever admit they were wrong.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

I am confused. I said all conservatives believe women should not work? I don't think so. There are fanatic fundamentalists with very public voices who say so, but I don't think all conservatives are fundamentalists. Fundamentalists are far from conservative, which by very definition avoids extremity. I simply paraphrased a well known self-proclaimed conservative pundit. "Women -- your families need you at home..."

Another part of the problem is when people don't hear (or read) what is being said, but instead argue what they think you meant... Or as I quoted from Deborah Tannen, 'The Argument Culture.' Which I think you nailed completely in your statement, it is humiliating for some to admit they were wrong.

Personally, I think all are free to believe as they choose, but are not free to insist we all believe as they do, and this attempt I see happening more and more. This spells the end to freedom. Freedom of thought automatically spells diversity of opinion. This is a strength, not a weakness.

As the title of this article reads, there are two sides -- although it might be more appropriate to say there are many sides -- to every issue. And we are all free to find that particular truth that fits with what we have experienced, learned or been programmed to accept.

Therefore, it behooves all of us to think twice before suggesting, or worse yet, insisting that our view is the truth. Many of us are far too vested in suggesting ours is the only true path.

There is no universal truth. Sorry -- but here we part paths. You see a truth -- THE TRUTH. That you think instead of insult we need persuasion is commendable, but unfortunately, you still see one belief as THE truth. There are so many varying beliefs and views in the world, I cannot say with certainty those I have been taught, or have long accepted makes a truth. I doubt all things. I grant no human as 'holder of the truth', and all humans as holders of a part of the truth.

So much of the generally accepted truth in our society amounts to little more than ingrained legend and myth -- another 'halls of Valhalla.'

All beliefs are hallowed to some.

Thanks for commenting, James. Your input is always welcome. Lynda


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Congratulations on a most fair, and enlightening article, which I have voted up. But I am afraid I do have to ask you a question. This is a comment that you made on another thread.

"Some people have far more wealth than they deserve -- that's my first thought. Pretty baubles as they are, what they represent is not pretty, and should be kept in mind. "Royal blood" -- what a farce!"

If you are so certain that the opinions of others are so important, how is it that your own opinions, as reflected in the above quote, are so polarised as to be almost verging on bigotry?

Forgive me, but I really did have to ask that.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Is one a bigot for viewing the idea of royalty as archaic and not conducive to equality and fraternity among humans? Is it polarized to suggest the 'blooded' families of our world have, through a mere accident of birth, far more of the world's resources than any one group should? Or perhaps the world has moved so far from those wonderful ideals of equality, that aristocracy is the theme of the day.

You may think someone is your superior due to pedigree alone, but I do not. The Crown Jewels, which was the theme of that hub, represent generations of greed, power and exploitation of fellow humans. They do not belong to the public, but too a family who's only claim to merit is genetics.

Certainly, there are two side to every issue, but any positives to the idea of 'royal blood' belongs in times past -- in my opinion, which has every right to be heard as anyone else's, no matter your opinion of it.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

You are of course perfectly entitled to your opinions, but you really ought to learn a bit about a subject before you pronounce so vehemently on it.

The crown jewels do not belong to The Royal Family, but to the country.

and the most stable democratic countries in the world are the european constitutional monarchies. At the end of World War 1 that pernicious meddler Woodrow Wilson destroyed the monarchical system in Europe. The results of his interference was to open the door to Hitler, and the later scourge of communism. No country has really prospered once they abandon monarchy, and that includes the one that you live in now. If you really study your history you will see that I am right.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

The trust that holds the Crown Jewels is not a public trust... I am British, though took Canadian citizenship and now live in the U.S. The most stable democratic countries are European constitutional monarchies? Says who -- you? I've said all I'm going to on the subject, but don't accuse anyone of BIGOTRY simply because they don't support the idea of monarchy.

End of subject.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Thats the problem with "libertarians" they are so intolerant of anyone who might dissent from their own narrow views. Take comfort. You belong to a proud tradition, starting with Robespierre. I can almost hear the tumbrils roll across the cobbles as I type.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

That's the trouble with the narrow minded, whether they be far right, far left, far out or what. Anyone with an opinion that differs from their program is a bigot.

Like I said, there's two side to every issue. Strange how you've decided those who stand on the other side of yours are dupes of prejudice. I haven't been intolerant; merely know the futility of arguing with cement heads.

For the record, suggesting that ideas like aristocracy are outdated in this world doesn't imply revolution. One can hold opinions, such as the Crown Jewels of England represent the rapine of much of the rest of the world and the misery of millions, without suggesting the descendants of such should be decapitated. Where would we be without the antics of the royal family to fill our tabloids? We'd be left with only Brad and Angelina -- the American substitute.

Cheers anyway. Lynda


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Have a nice day. I can't keep this up for ever. I,ve made my point.

Best wishes.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

Thanks for writing such a thought provoking hub. I will think about the things you wrote for a long time after. Excellent hub. Rated up and awesome.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks toknowinfo. Always the best words a writer can hear: Your words made me think. You made my day.


Mark W 5 years ago

Another great article Lynda. I find all your articles thought-provoking, I just wish for 2 things: that some would actually allow their thoughts to be provoked, and that I had found this article sooner.

On a side note, Valerie Parkhurst, who you know as Valigator, will never listen or read anything that remotely resembles a challenge to her thinking.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thank you Mark W. Though provoking is the best compliment a writer can receive. As to those who do not wish to be provoked -- their loss. Thanks for commenting here. Lynda

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