Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Using Tolerance as a Weapon
from the mind of  Zeke_Wilkins.

I had an interesting exchange with one of my coworkers today which illustrates how we in the conservative community can use the rhetoric of progressives against them.

During my office hour today, a colleague caught me planning out a response to an article I had read in the student newspaper of the community college I teach at. The author was using the straw-man technique of misrepresenting the position of his opposition (in this case, those who oppose some aspects of stem cell research) and then dismantling the misrepresented arguments. I decided to work on a reasoned response to show that there was an intellectual voice of opposition, when my coworker walked in. Here is a paraphrase of the conversation that took place:

Coworker (CW): You've actually found something worth reading in the student newspaper?

Me (ZW): Actually, worth responding to.

CW: [reading the article's title] "Stem Cell Research a Modern Holocaust?" Oh, boy.

ZW: Yes. While I think that calling stem cell research a Holocaust does nothing productive, I do think this article could have been better written. The author basically believes that there is no reasoned argument to oppose some aspects of the research and calls any attempt to do so "garbage".

CW: [stunned look]

ZW: I think it is important to be intellectually honest and confront the best arguments of the opposition, rather than attempting to brush them off as not worth mentioning. It's not very open-minded or tolerant. It'll be interesting to see if they print my response.

CW: I'm sure they will.

Now, it was a rather brief exchange, but I was able to use three things that progressives pride themselves on (intellectual honesty, open-mindedness, and tolerance) to ellicit an agreement from a progressive coworker that there is a possibility of logical arguments against some forms of stem cell research: a position that moments earlier my coworker would have probably denied.

It is important to realize that I wasn't just saying the above for the sake of mental gymnastics: it really is intolerant, dishonest and close-minded to ignore the arguments of your opposition. Sometimes we as conservatives are handed perfect opportunities to call the bluff of progressives and make them "walk the talk" of open-mindedness. My coworker left my office with two things: an interest in what my response would say, and the uncomfortable feeling that she had just committed herself to a position that she had wanted to avoid. For the time being, that is all we can hope for.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

With my new job, I surf the web alot. I bought my oldest son an Apple Ipod for his birthday. But now my daughter wants one too. On another site I found out about an advertising scheme that gives them away for free. Sounds to good to be true, I know. But after googling for an hour it looks legitimate. So I thought I'd pass along the info for anyone else on a tight budget.


2:36 PM  
Blogger audience said...


Our play, Guns, Shackles & Winter Coats, by M. Stefan Strozier, will be performed for a full week at Where Eagles Dare Theatre (347 W. 36th street, NYC; all shows are 8pm), from July 4th-10th. Guns is a very powerful play about an American soldier who, after fighting in Iraq, returns home; but must face a second onslaught from post-traumatic stress disorder. He seeks help from his wife, family, the VA hospital; but all for naught, as he ends up homeless.

Audiences love Guns; and, each time it is has been performed, people have reacted very emotionally and provided firm commentary of the plays merits. Guns has undergone extensive revision; and, has been performed at: The Workshop Theater Company (312 W 36th Street, NYC); The Producers Club (358 W 44th Street, NYC); twice at a homeless shelter called Peter’s Place (123 W 23rd Street, NYC); and, Rose’s Turn Cabaret (55 Grove Street, Greenwich Village, NYC).

We will be continuing our play at Where Eagles Dare, as our acting troupe, La Muse Vénale, Inc., is affiliated through this theatre; and, the owner of WED, John Chatterton, is a board member and the secretary of our non-profit organization.

Please visit our Web sites for information: http://www.lamusevenale.org and http://www.mstefanstrozier.org. Or, please call: 917-902-6017. Tickets are $20, available at http://www.smarttix.com; 25% off for seniors and students and military. Alan Kanevsky—Director; Jean-Claude Villaréal—Artistic Director; Sound/light Technician—Leck Dzie; Chris Sorensen—Sgt. John Brown (Lead); Anita Anthonj—Cara (Sgt. Brown’s Wife); Penny Bittone—Spec4 Michael Planski; Johnpaul—Spec4 José Rodriguez; Damian Ladd—Pvt. Thomas Johnson; Yza Shady—Dr. Ellsinore Zinn; (Sgt. Brown’s Psychiatrist); Joe Wissler—Homeless Vietnam Veteran.

We sincerely appreciate you interest in this important, relevant, American play.

– 30 –

11:10 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home