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home : opinions : opinions August 28, 2015

4/23/2014 6:00:00 AM
COLUMN: Who's 'open-minded'?
Bob Weete, columnist
Bob Weete, columnist

Bob Weete

With the current emphasis on political correctness and the "me-ism" value system, we have also found that one of the major blocks to any kind of true progress and peace is the constant prevalent method of closing any kind of cooperation and solution to problems is by changing the opposition with lack of "open-mindedness".

And I must honestly say that this label is most frequently applied by the liberal side of the discussion. Being close-minded is supposed to be a real put-down. It's convenient, at any rate. The assumption being that being "liberal" means to be open to new ideas; out with the old and in with the new.

It's amazing how the actual practice shows the fallacy in this thinking. The reality seems to be that only "new" liberal ideas have value. Yet, in truth, again, the beginning ideas of this great country were pretty solidly "new" in that age. And, as history has clearly shown, this thinking has served this country pretty admirably.

How many times have we heard the President say he "would not negotiate" on an issue? How many times have we seen and heard the leader of the Senate use manipulative measures to avoid any kind of even token willingness to accept any real compromise? Yet they and their captive media outlets constantly present the other side of the aisle as the stubborn, relentless opposition.

It seems sensible, at least to me, that if we were truly intending to work for "the people", we would be "open-minded" enough to abide by the one document that is responsible for our growth as a world-leading nation. Instead, it is clear that there is a determination to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Open-mindedness is not only commensurate with the liberal point of view, as some are prone to believe; it is certainly within the realm of conservative point of view also. It is the individual's choice as to how he goes about his thinking and acting. Unfortunately, over the years, our leaders in Washington, who have made government politics their life-time careers, find power in maintaining the pecking order within their party. On both sides of the aisle.

Open-mindedness learning is begun early in our lives. Remember when you were little, and wouldn't eat liver? Or spinach? How awful we just knew they were going to taste? How did we ever get over that? We gave in and tried it. Then we could speak with authority, because we had actually experienced it. Some of us like liver now; some of us don't, but our decision is made by trying it.

Being open-minded is being open to new ideas. It doesn't mean that you should agree with the given ideas, but it means you are willing to honestly listen in order to understand the point of view and respect it. I like liver. I am the only one in the family who does, so I have to go out someplace to eat it. But, if I had never taken that jump to really give it a chance, I would have missed out.

If you haven't tried escargot, or oysters, or you haven't ridden the rapids, or gone up in a balloon, maybe you are a bit close-minded yourself, you know. Now, I'm saying if you haven't tried these things, you automatically fall into the category of the close-minded. Just examples.

We are all too judgmental with no real justification. "Take the log out of your own eye before you tell someone to take the splinter out of their eye." Great advice, not often followed these days. Probably because it is not a "new" concept. My goodness, it even goes back as far as Biblical times! That automatically makes it close-minded, doesn't it?

Albert Einstein said, "The measure of intelligence is the ability to change." Smart man, old Einstein. But should we put his statement and him, personally, down because his brilliant idea is not hot off the press? I think not.

You, know, there's really not that much in our world that is new, anyway. I don't know all the details about Communism, but I have read, I have seen outcomes, and I am strongly opposed to a philosophy that, to me is akin to slavery. Anyone who is an avowed communist is not someone who could convince me communism is "the way".  It "sounds" great. But it is a con, in my book. And the "idea" of communism is nothing new.

I, like most people my age, have pretty strong views about life and its conduct. It's taken 79 years of experience to develop my ideas. Way before Fox News ever came on the scene. I believe that we should all stay true to what we believe in, but having strong beliefs doesn't mean we have a "closed mind".

"Judge not, lest ye be judged." Hmmm. That sounds pretty good to me. "To thine own self be true" is also an "old" thought that deserves a revival. But, more "modern", Richard Dawkins has advised: "By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Article comment by: From Afar

Sounds like the House of Representatives. Voted 50 times to repeal Obamacare. Will not compromise? Will not present a better Idea only ideology, no longer working for the common good.
I think you are trying to hard to blame the wrong side of politics.
Or maybe it is now the Party of the "Tea Party".

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