Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Oy Vey

Off the Youtube page:

"Published on Aug 15, 2014
We spend so much time listening to the things people are saying that we rarely pay attention to the things they don't," says slam poet and teacher Clint Smith. A short, powerful piece from the heart, about finding the courage to speak up against ignorance and injustice."

Speaking Truth to ...Oops

Smith makes a case for speaking truth to power, though it's his statement that you just had to speak "your own truth" that's gotten me feeling pensive.  I wonder what would happen when you speak your truth and it is dead wrong-- no, not socially wrong, but objectively wrong. Flat Earth wrong; reiki wrong; Moon Landing Denialist wrong. 

Should one speak it anyway and risk the pain of conflict, of being corrected-- however unfairly oppressed you may feel about it-- for your ignorance?

There's a diagnostic function that obviously gets achieved. Other people get to know who's got the bad ideas, where the bad ideas wind up spreading, et cetera. Speaking your truth, even if it's a misapprehension, allows these misapprehensions to get cleared up sooner. Any damage that they are causing or might have caused ceases. The human race marches forward with fewer people losing step.

In the best of worlds, there's a dialogue that happens as these ideas get critiqued, analyzed from outside perspectives. The bad ideas get challenged, corrected, refined, or ultimately abandoned. In the best of worlds, everybody can separate their ideas from their identities and take criticism in stride. Of course, what with people being people-- overly sensitive, gullible, biased, superstitious, afraid-- that doesn't always happen.

This isn't the best of worlds.

This is why there are still people today who believe that the Earth is flat.

I want to say that even the most backward, most damaging ideas deserve a forum. Against what will you compare your most sacrosanct ideas if you're not exposed to their antitheses? How will you know that what you know isn't BS?

The assumption behind the marketplace of ideas is that good ideas--true ideas--  can withstand being challenged, and bad ideas will prove themselves defective by their very natures, as people discuss them and test them.  

Sadly, this is usually around the time advocates of bad ideas begin opening their mouths, and by that action, threaten to make me eat my words. 

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