Sunday, August 7, 2011

Opinion vs Agenda:

There's an interesting thought experiment that comes to mind here.

Imagine a 1000 people were giving the task of adding a column of a 100 numbers. Everyone turns in their results. We'll assume average math skills.

A certain percentage, maybe 70 percent(wild guess) will get their numbers right. Their results will be in agreement with each other.

A remainder will make errors here and there and get independently wrong results. Mistakes happen, and we should expect a random distribution of error results.

What would be really unexpected, however, is when/if you get a group of people who all make the same mistakes and all come up with the same wrong number--and insist it's right. This can't actually happen in the world of mathematics, it can only happen if you have some central outside influence, one that wants wrong answers, and that tells people what result they're supposed to get before they start adding and they make the necessary mistakes to get that desired and predetermined answer. Does this sound like Congress?  There's a hell of lot of this kind of figuring going on right now. The debt debacle and the resultant downgrade by S & P is a great current example, but plenty of others exist, and while they certainly don't hold a monopoly share, mostly this crap is coming from the same camp-- those who claim to believe in a "right to life," but don't give a shit about the biosphere. They believe there's infinite resources of oil in the ground but also believe the Battle of Armageddon is just around the corner and we probably don't have the time to use it all up like we should. They have invisible friends and expect the rest of us who grew out of that phase of development respect them for that. They think there's no evidence for climate change, but there is evidence of the "virgin birth." Right down the line, it's a very handy convenient world view that nicely absolves one of  any responsibility to the rest of humanity, or the planet, or even one's own children while maintaining a veneer of smug, entitled, self-righteousness. . .how nice for them!

I think that veneer has been about polished through, 'bout now.

See, I think people can tell the difference between "opinions" and "agendas." Opinions are positions based on one's current understanding of the applicable data. Opinions change on occasion. Agendas, on the other hand, are pre-conceived preferences defended by cherry-picking data or even outright fabrication. Here we have a pretty good track record of respecting each others opinions. Agendas, well, I think we're all a little chapped when it comes to hearing that stuff all over again.

Feel that one's opinion is unjustly labeled an agenda? Without a doubt, an honest, forthright, good faith willingness to look and discuss the facts at hand in a fair and objective manner goes a long way to creating the necessary good will to maintain a constructive dialectic.

Our society can exist with a difference of opinion. But sure as hell it's becoming increasing difficult to accommodate agendas, as they are inevitably --inherently-- divisive.

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