This I Believe

Greg - Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Entered on April 22, 2009

The Greek Philosopher Aristotle once said: “It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it.” There are many things in life to argue about; many things that seem will never get resolved. Eternal paradoxes that have grown, faded, and reappeared in an endless cycle. But these fights wouldn’t last if there weren’t some truth to both sides of the conflict. If you entertain the other sides’ ideas and put yourself in their shoes, I think you would realize how trivial some things are.

The issue of pro-government and anti-government, for example, has been around for thousands of years. We’ve seen both extremes to this issue fail. For example, in dictatorships such as Nazi Germany or Britain in the 1700’s, there was an initial surge in success, but ultimately, with that kind of power comes corruption, and both empires fell. Without government, however, there is chaos. Iraq, for instance, is not a stable nation without a strong government. The law of the jungle develops without control.

My dad is a hardcore liberal, and I was too… for a while. Until one day, I got really tired of his constant ranting and hatred towards conservatives, and I took a look at the other end of the spectrum. I realized there were good people and ideas there. I saw that both sides had a lot to offer. I became more independent and listened to all of the ideas I heard, and realized I could achieve more with and open mind. I applied what I learned in that experience to life, and found myself to be a lot more accepting and easy-going.

Of course, one of the most passionate feuds around is between liberals and conservatives. Everyone has their own opinion, some stronger than others, and in many cases, also have very good points. For instance, one of the most important values to liberals is equality. One of the ideas that conservatives value very highly is freedom. That’s not to say the other side doesn’t value those things, but they aren’t necessarily at the forefront of their agenda.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to completely achieve both of those things. Generally speaking, increasing equality will in turn lower freedom and vice versa. For instance, more laws are required to increase equality, and allowing more freedom would increase the gap between rich and poor.

The key to these things is finding a balance. One must have an open mind to do that. No matter how much you think you are right, there is someone out there who thinks you are wrong. If you learn why they think the way they do, chances are you will find some truth in what they say. No matter how cut and dry things seem, you’ll find very few things in life to be black and white. If you find the right shade of grey to a problem, more often than not a solution will show itself.