What I would term a dangerous precedent has found its way into modern American thought. Where once we sought differing opinions and viewpoints, thereby learning from the beliefs of others, now it seems this country is more comfortable with listening to and following only those persons who proffer opinions they already agree with. They learn nothing.
A small example could be made of my previous post about the "Mosquito" device which I based upon what knowledge I had. A very dear friend, ED, by his more-informed view, and laden with facts, gave me to see a more accurate side to the issue - so I've come away with a better idea of what is involved. I've learned something. Dissention breeds the act of further learning, I'd say, if the mind is open and willing.
What's happening now is what author Susan Jacoby calls the "Age of American Unreason" (the title of her book which I recommend). If we agree with certain tenets,, we seek others of like mind and listen to their dictates, giving way only grudgingly to those of dissenting views. So how can we learn if such an unwillingness to change exists in our behaviors?
Dissention brings argument, which fosters discussion, meaningful dialogue, and hopefully, the changes which are parent to eventual broadening of viewpoints.
Robert Ingersoll, the great agnostic and speaker, always found his audiences filled with those who disagreed with his views and said so. A fertile field for thought. In the last several decades, however, more people have insisted on retaining their comfort level of simply believing what they always have. All that's accomplished is the reaffirmation of the same principles over and over. Where lies growth in that? I already know what I know, tell me something I don't - better still and more especially, about what I think I do!
I will always court different views. Continual learning is the avenue to real growth, I believe, and so long as we're honest, we'll disagree. And grow. Evolve.
Did you know there are people who still insist the sun revolves around the earth? A dangerous example of where the unwillingness to change can lead.