I’m going to lightly touch on current politics here. Lightly. I talk with people on both sides of the political spectrum, and we try to find common ground and engage in mutual headdesking about extremists on both sides.
But therein lies both happy coincidence and part of the problem: I have people on the other side of the political fence I can talk to. As in, present a view, present reasons, listen to countering arguments, and say “Huh – hadn’t heard that side of it.” And we’re both trying to use logic.
Logic is sadly lacking on the TV news these days. And a bunch of other places.
I have my suspicions on why this is so.
You see, I commiserate with at least one person about the agonies that are current college freshman papers. I wouldn’t have gotten out of 6th grade writing that way. It makes me want to hunt down high school English teachers and ask pointed questions about what the bleep they think they’re teaching. Possibly with bamboo slivers. The tortured sentences, the lack of references, the paragraphs that are supposed to present a reasoned argument when they actually only give opinions….
If you can’t write coherently, when you’ve been given source material and a set range of topics to write on, odds are you can’t think coherently either. And if you can’t apply coherent, logical thought to a college class, what are the odds you can apply it to real life?
Combine that with the TV news going for ratings rather than, you know, investigative reporting, and apparently now at least two generations of people raised to believe someone who disagrees is not just wrong, but Evil – and. Well. Recent riots, anyone?
We need more logic in the world today. A lot more. I’m just not sure how to get it.
About all I can do is desk-check my own writing for logic and plausibility. And try to write characters who use reason, logic, and rational debate where they can; who don’t always agree with each other, for valid reasons; and who take the time to realize that even the most logical person is going to have that one Berserk Button, and there goes the neighborhood.
(I.e., do not send the person with a burning hate of the alien invading monsters to go negotiate with them. Save them for the negotiator’s honor guard, in case this really is a trap!)
And when reason and logic fail – then, indeed, there may be butt-kicking. 😉