Monday, July 03, 2006
Bring on the Kool Aid...
Today I've read 50 blogs, easily. I am doing a post on the culture of blogging. A little history, rules, observations and the like....(tomorrow is launch time). I wanted to gather as much "diversity" of thought as I could before rendering my final arguments; but before I post that little diddy, bear with me as I re-post a rant I wrote about 2 months ago. It is a good primer for what is coming.
KOOL AID MAN KNOWS NO POLITICS...
You've heard the phrase, haven't you? "You're drinking the Hannity Kool Aid!", or the Limbaugh Kool Aid or the Mathews Tang..... What does it all mean? To me it means opening up our pie holes really wide, digesting without prejudice what anybody, any book, any talk show or any news blog shoves down our throat and finally taking it all in as truth beyond reproach.
It is human nature to preach to our own choir, to associate with like-minded individuals, to listen and learn from entities we admire and to see ourselves in the image of that which we most yearn to be like. But when does this become a self-fulfilling prophecy of one's philosophy? Are we really enlightened by just listening to the sounds of our voices? or does it behoove us as a people to at LEAST consider opposing viewpoints no matter how across-the-grain to our own preference they may be?. This is my yoke in life. As a self-described libertarian information junkie I do two things as daily ritual. One is easy because I love it, ... the other is like walking on glass on my way to a backstroke swim in volcanic lava.
An example of my daily dose of mental food. 6:00 a.m., I jump to the CATO institute's web page and various government, military and independent news journals for updates. A quick scan of MSNBC, FOXNEWS, CNN and DRUDGE REPORT to see if I missed anything while I slept. During my mid-day break at the office I stroll into some hi-tech and music sites for my right-side-of-the-brain snack, as well as other more specific information places that give me deeper insight into whatever it is that interests me that day.... Finally, as dessert I have a heavy "favorites" list I gauntlet through, which enforces and re-enforces my beliefs, my credo,... as Neal Boortz says, "my daily dose of the church of the painful truth". But then, it happens. Like a monster coming out of the closet when all is dark and quiet..., at around 9:00 p.m. comes the dreaded homework,... doing the other side of the coin. Reading up on websites, blogs, journals and op-ed commentary... all of which are diametrically opposed to everything I believe and hold as my mantra. Why do I go through this torture? Don Rumsfeld's favorite word, to CALIBRATE.
Reading extremist agendas, far left or far right diatribes, and socio-liberal rants give me conviction. If I am afraid to calibrate my beliefs against what MAY be a logical counter-point to my own idea, then my idea is not in very firm soil. If I am afraid to navigate the blogs of hate, racism, fear-mongering, socialism, supremacists, communist thought etc, then I cannot, in truth, calibrate the status of my moral spine. Such tasks are not easy,.. I read blogs all day and in most of them, you look at the far right column where they blog-roll THEIR favorites sites... with most of them it's all about drinking the KOOL AID, listening to the echoes of that which they already believe. Anchoring their shaky (or strong) beliefs with yet more of the same.
I encourage my fellow conservatives and liberals, independents and partisans, to venture out into the land of the unknown. You don't have to "embrace diversity" if you don't care to,...you only have to acknowledge its existence, respect that it has a right to share the opinion spectrum with yours, and -if at the end of the day-, you are not of the same mind. you can then say , "thanks but no thanks,... I've decided NOT to embrace YOUR idea of diversity". You may have walked the gauntlet of venom, but you will be a better person because you have CONSIDERED thoughts that diverge from your own.
There is a saying..."that which does not kill you, makes you stronger". To know the ingredients of a soup that is not in your kitchen is to be a better cook for your own "recipes" of thought. We should all consider not drinking the Kool Aid of choice... and get a little TANG instead. We may hate the taste and spit it out quickly, but coming back to our favorite drink will give us a new-found appreciation for the person in the mirror.