Quote of the Day

The truth is, we live in an age of astonishing conformity. I grew up in the 1950s, supposedly the heyday of conformity, but there was much more freedom of opinion back then. And as a result, you knew that your neighbors might hold different views from you on politics or religion. Today, the notion that men of good will can disagree has disappeared. Can you imagine! Today, if I disagree with you, you conclude there is something wrong with me. This is a childish, parochial view. And of course stupefyingly intolerant. It’s truly anti-American.     ~Michael Crichton

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6 thoughts on “Quote of the Day

  1. I don’t mind (sort of) if people disagree with me, or if I stand at an opposite end, compared to another person.

    What I do mind is the disagreement stemming from a lack of listening. If I say that I don’t believe God is [fill in the blank], and am told that No, I really do, and the other person knows I really do because of an interpretation of the Bible, then I do think there is something wrong with the other person, because s/he isn’t listening to me. And calling me a liar.

  2. OneSmallStep,

    I think that in that case, yes, they aren’t listening. It’s like Crichton said, if we disagree, the other person thinks we are automatically wrong. It is indeed childish and pretty narcissistic I think.

  3. Because of the idea that there’s a terrorist behind every bush (no pun intended), everyone is very scared of any kind of radical view, particularly if it’s expressed by radical young people. I was a student in the 60s, and it was customary then for the middle classes to flirt with radicalism before getting down to the serious business of making money. It was quite an exciting time, probably, in fact definitely, less dangerous than using only chemicals to fill the vaccuum in your head, and it cured me of revolutionary politics when I thought of some of the jerks who might be holding the gun.

    By the time I did some teaching in the 70s and 80s, the young people I met seemed to have lost all appetite for politics, and the pall of conformity was upon us. Kids are always complaining about having “nothing to do”. I think they have somehow been bereft of radical ideas, and they confuse that lack with inactivity, as if life should be one big amusement park.

    This is an absurd generalisation of course for the sake of brevity. Young people are supposed to be full of zeal and enthusiasm, whether practical or not. Much better to be enthusiastic about radical politics than crack!

    Reg

  4. Reg,

    Yes, drugs seem to be the easiest route to take to relieve boredom. The ennui is killing them. I’m sure the disillusionment comes from not being able to change the “system.” I know when I was a teen, none of us in our small high school cared what was going on in the larger world of the Vietnam War and Nixon politics. It didn’t affect us one whit. I spent most of it drinking, dancing, and makin’ love! Not that that was a bad thing!! 🙂

    Personally, I think our country has moved beyond the time when anything people do affect change. I know it’s cynical, but I can’t see myself working my nerves into a lather of excitement for this or that candidate, this or that idea, when nothing ever comes to fruition. I guess I’m a product of the 70s!

  5. But, he said desperately, even if you’re absolutely right, don’t we have to go on believing that change is possible? If we woke up to find ourselves living in a police state, and had not lifted a finger to stop it, we would have only ourselves to blame surely. Asserting the superiority of pointless effort over apathy may be one of the stupidest propositions you’ll hear today, but the people of Romania rose up against a vicious and determined dictator, possibly against the odds. The bookmakers can be wrong!

    Reg

  6. Reg,

    I applaud your optimism and hopefulness.

    Oh, I’m sure if it came to that point, yes, apathy wouldn’t be a good thing. But what can one person do? I used to work myself up into a tizzy about this or that political point or this or that political candidate, but to what end? Make myself stress out? Beating a gong that no one hears? Voting when our political system and its end precludes popular opinion?

    Some people create music that changes people’s lives. Some write books or treatises. I’m not here to do any of that. I write a blog that maybe 10 or so people read in order to voice my opinion. So are a million other people. Does it affect change? I don’t think so. But the point is that I am in no position to affect change about the national scene. If push came to shove in my small town, yeah, I’d do something. But I’m just one of the masses in a podunk village that no one cares about and where work, home, and back to work again is the norm. This may be what what government wants us to do and think, but what other alternative is there?

    Depressing, eh?

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