L L a R* – A “Must Read” [#1]

[NOTE] As I state in the “About Me” section, I’m driven by an intense commitment to learn why those on the conservative side of the fence view so many matters of great importance to us all so differently than do those of us on the progressive side. Those contrasting behaviors, beliefs, and ideologies are contributing factors to the very problems we’re trying to solve—the ones we must solve if our own ambitions and our hopes for a peaceful and prosperous world we leave to our children are to be well-served.

I’d like to make a small contribution toward changing the context and content of public debate. Understanding the ideological perspectives, beliefs, and values of those with whom we disagree is a good first step to engaging in more meaningful dialogue—idealistic as that may be. But why not? Is what we’re “doing” now any better?

If we don’t recognize and accept that bitter partisanship is not always the wisest or most beneficial strategy, the goal of a better future will forever be as far away tomorrow as it is today.

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The spirit of compromise has been sapped from politics. Continue reading

Quote of Note

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An observation worth noting … and pondering, courtesy of Andrew Sullivan:

‘It is hardly possible to overstate the value, in the present low state of human improvement, of placing human beings in contact with persons dissimilar to themselves, and with modes of thought and action dissimilar to themselves, and with modes of thought and action unlike those with which they are familiar … Such communication has always been, and is particularly in the present age, one of the primary sources of progress,’ – John Stuart Mill, The Principles of Political Economy (1848) Continue reading

Looking Left and Right Begins – Pt 1

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[NOTE] As I state in the “About Me” section, I’m driven by an intense commitment to learn why those on the conservative side of the fence view so many matters of great importance to us all so differently than do those of us on the progressive side. Those contrasting behaviors, beliefs, and ideologies are contributing factors to the very problems we’re trying to solve—the ones we must solve if our own ambitions and our hopes for a peaceful and prosperous world we leave to our children are to be well-served.

I’d like to make a small contribution toward changing the context and content of public debate. Understanding the ideological perspectives, beliefs, and values of those with whom we disagree is a good first step to engaging in more meaningful dialogue—idealistic as that may be. But why not? Is what we’re “doing” now any better?

If we don’t recognize and accept that bitter partisanship is not always the wisest or most beneficial strategy, the goal of a better future will forever be as far away tomorrow as it is today.

~ ~ ~

Jonathan Haidt: Moral Foundations

Much of our intensely partisan and increasingly harsh, pointless, and ineffectual policy “debates” can find origins and explanations in the Moral Foundations Theory* proposed by Jonathan Haidt [author and currently a professor at New York University Stern School of Business]. I’ve been fascinated by his assessments since I first encountered his great body of work, and much of what will direct the discussions here in Looking Left and Right can be traced back to his writings.

Continue reading