Monday, June 1, 2009

Civil Politics - Helping Students with the Dialogue

Despite which side of the political fence you fall, one thing we can all use (myself included) is a more balanced approach to the political dialogue we find all around us. An interesting op-ed piece by Nickolas Kristof led me to this website: Civil Politics.

You cannot "win" an argument without listening, which is something that we rarely do. But there is another important aspect of this: To listen, we need to understand the ideology and logic behind our opponent's perspective. Civil Politics is a group of people who are trying to understand the ideology.

Why am I bringing this up in a library blog? Easy!

I work with students, students who are being asked to defend their believes - political, spiritual, etc - for the first time. What I have noticed is a surprising inability to see that behind most arguments there is logic, there is a life, there is an understanding, however flawed, of the world.

I think that this site, especially the helpful links in the Resources section, would be a great way to get them to dive into their papers, speeches, and lectures a little deeper. Though they may not get the person to change their opinions or have their opinions changed, any discussion where there is a bit more understanding between the parties can only be helpful.

(If you are interested: the Kristof's piece, "Would You Slap Your Father? Then You are a Liberal," is well worth a read!)

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