Cory Booker on PC culture: Is censoring others really the best way?

The key to changing hearts and minds for a better world? Lead with love, says Senator Cory Booker.

  • When asked to comment on the debate surrounding political correctness on college campuses, Senator Cory Booker recounts a personal story of a gay friend who, many years ago, patiently endured Booker's naive questions as he tried to understand gay culture.
  • Having the freedom to ask questions—even dumb, ignorant questions—helped Booker grow and become an LGBTQ ally. His friend's patience and generosity in answering those questions helped Booker understand that you should always "lead with love."
  • PC culture may stop people asking questions and learning, out of fear of being rebuked. Censorship may not be the best way. Booker suggests that a better path forward, for people on both sides, is to ask: Is my question reflective of love, of empathy, of compassion? Am I being gentle in how I deal with this?
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#10: Become an intellectual explorer | Top 10 2019

The countdown is on for our top 10 videos of the year! Want to be smarter than you were yesterday? This video will teach you to have better conversations using 3 key design principles.

  • Big Think's #10 most popular video of 2019 will teach you how to expand your intellect through the art of insightful conversation. First up: What is a great conversation? They are the ones that leave us feeling smarter or more curious, with a sense that we have discovered something, understood something about another person, or have been challenged.
  • Emily Chamlee-Wright, president and CEO of the Institute for Humane Studies, details the 3 design principles that lead to great conversations: humility, critical thinking, and sympathetic listening.
  • Critical thinking is the celebrated cornerstone of liberalism, but next time you're in a challenging and rewarding conversation, try to engage sympathetic listening too. Understanding why another intelligent person holds ideas that are at odds with your own is often more enlightening than merely hunting for logic errors.
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8 logical fallacies that are hard to spot

From "if-by-whiskey" to the McNamara fallacy, being able to spot logical missteps is an invaluable skill.

  • A fallacy is the use of invalid or faulty reasoning in an argument.
  • There are two broad types of logical fallacies: formal and informal.
  • A formal fallacy describes a flaw in the construction of a deductive argument, while an informal fallacy describes an error in reasoning.
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Think you're right? How to test yourself in the battle of ideas.

Our opponents' objections to our ideas often contain insight as to how we can better refine them.

  • When we're convinced in the truth of our ideas, we often believe if we just explain it to others that others will immediately come onboard with them. However, what we see in practice is that we need some resistance from others to help refine those ideas. In doing so, we make them more marketable in the marketplace of ideas.
  • When we have debates, we have to not censor our opponents. We have to be confident enough to have discussions with them aimed at getting at the truth.
  • When we prohibit the expression of ideas, we lose the chance to prove our ideas right — we lose the chance to advance their legitimacy in the court of public opinion.
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Talking politics: A Thanksgiving guide to divisive conversations

A guide to keep conflicts from flaring up while you pass your uncle the pumpkin pie.

  • As American families gather around the table for Thanksgiving, there's no guarantee that everyone will have the same views when it comes to politics. This means that there's a lot of potential for conflicts to blow up as we pass one another the pumpkin pie.
  • The best approach is to not shy away from important conversations — yes, talk about politics. However, try to do so in a way that preferences understanding. In other words, instead of trying to change their position — as you beat them over the head with a drumstick — try to understand where they're coming from.
  • Chances are, just by asking them questions you will learn something new that you haven't considered before. That alone, intellectual humility, is something to cherish this holiday season.