This blog is my cry... my cry for a return to reasoned based argument and discussion in politics and public policy. So much of what we hear, read and see in the media is driven by emotion that facts simply get trampled.
Of course emotion has a role to play in any discussion: but when emotion, ideology and partisanship trump reason we risk the very foundation of our system of government. Why? Because fact-based reasoning is literally the foundation of a democracy.
Theocracy, dictatorship and communism and the like differ from democracy is that the former are all based on a belief in the right of the ruling class to rule (in the case of dictatorship, it may be only the ruler who believes this) while the latter is based on informed consent of those ruled. As the electorate gives up reason -- in favor of an abstract (or religiously based) belief in a leader's "mandate" – we put ourselves on a path of LESS accountability for our leaders.
When we forego reason and analysis we are really giving up democracy. This is really the basis of Thomas Jefferson’s statement: "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." This statement and countless others by our founding fathers demonstrate that it’s our duty, as citizens of a democracy, to analyze and speak out about how we are being governed.
But today we find ourselves in a very different situation. For a variety of reasons dissent to current policies is labeled un-American. The justification: we have troops in combat; we are fighting a war and need to support our government/troops; our society is loosing its moral compass and we need strong “moral” leadership to restore it; etc. etc.
Of course, this is precisely the time when its important for citizens to critically analyze what their government is doing: Who’s morality is being pushed by the government? Who’s interests are being served by our foreign policy? If we abrogate that responsibility, we are simply on the path to tyranny.
Criticism for its own sake should not be the goal: but criticism based on an informed opinion should be encouraged, not denigrated. But today, we find ourselves in a society that judges ideas based on who (or what group) proposed them instead of on the merits of the idea or criticism itself. We need to return to reason – to a discussion of facts and their implications. Does this leave room for emotion: you bet… but emotion based on critical analysis is a far cry from emotion based on empty labels (liberal, neocon, etc.).
These thoughts form the basis for this blog. From here we can discuss the role of religion in society and government; the media’s role in keeping the public informed of its governments actions; etc.
Let me know what you think…