Re: How do we divorce the personal from the political?

Question: How do we divorce the personal from the political?

Stephen Carter: If we were to raise the level of public dialogue, it starts with humility – with our own personal humility. It starts with a sense of ourselves; recognizing the possibility that no matter how passionate we are, we could be wrong. We could be wrong. And maybe each of us should have one or two things that we think it’s impossible to be wrong about – genocide, for example. That’s not a debatable issue. But you know what? The problem is that most of us have 20 or 25 issues on which we think we couldn’t possibly be wrong, and that’s where the problem arises. We don’t just have one or two. Apart . . . separating out the one or two issues in which we think there is no possibility of error, I think we have to be very humble about other things. And humility means recognizing in everyday conversations like this one the possibility of error; and therefore listening to what the other side has to say, and listening to it in a serious and thoughtful way. But we can only raise the level of our dialogue if we’ll do little things like take the bumper stickers off our cars. I really mean that very sincerely; that the bumper sticker world is a world of slogans, and is a world that doesn’t care to hear debates. It is a remarkably wonderful symbol that bumper stickers are on the back of the car; that the person driving the car is facing away from the person reading the bumper sticker as though to say, “Here is my view. It is not debatable. You read it. I’m through discussing the matter.” That’s very dangerous, and it’s very scary. I think if we take the bumper stickers off our car and take it out of our voices, we will already have taken a big step toward improving our public dialogue. ___________ fantasy in which then all those talking heads on the news just report the news anymore, but that’s just a fantasy.

Recorded on: 7/25/07

 

 

 

We must move away from bumper-sticker dialogue, Carter says.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Videos
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less