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Education Matters: Open your ears to the opposition

July 07, 2011|By Dan Kimber

Editor's Note: Numerous instances of plagiarism have been discovered in Dan Kimber’s “Education Matters” column, which ran in the News- Press from September 2003 to September 2011. In those columns where plagiarism has been found, a For the Record specifying the details will be appended to the piece.

Last week I wrote about our fat-laden government — national, state, local — causing a few of you to comment on the conservative tone I took, and that brought a smile to my face.

Even occasional readers of this column over the last 10 years have likely noticed that my views are, in general, slightly left of the political center. When I say, “in general,” I’m going to try to make a point that I think people on both sides of that spectrum would agree to, if they were honest with themselves.

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We’re all conservative, we’re all liberal, and we’re all moderate despite how well practiced we are in staking out positions and maintaining consistent profiles. Even when we’re holding firm to our convictions, we are aware that people with opposite convictions have reasons why they believe what they do. Even when we’re done blustering and blathering away, adding yet another layer of concrete to that part of us that believes inflexibility is a virtue, there is that other part of us that wants to keep an open mind.

And there is that persistent inner voice that speaks to us intermittently and it tells us (or whispers to us) that the other fellow may just have a point. It tells us that we all regularly confuse/interchange fact and opinion, that our assumptions, our logic, our premises are often faulty or simplistic or incomplete or ill conceived. In short, there’s two (or more) sides to everything.

Just a few brief examples:

Along with believing that we need to trim the size of government, I also believe that we can’t ignore a more painful economic reality of today — which is that the wealthiest people in our country and the largest corporations are doing phenomenally well while the middle class is collapsing and poverty is increasing.

I think there are a lot of lazy, undeserving people in this country who take advantage of public assistance programs, but I find the entitlements for the rich and white collar crime even more despicable.

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