In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

Argue!

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Should vivisection on animals be universally banned?

California’s gun control laws are the strictest in the nation and do not need tightening.

Costa Rica’s Preventia policies are unjust and inhumane.

The papparazzi need to be reigned in from their reign of destruction.

Coed education beats same-sex education miles high.

Long Beach police officers are doing a great job despite the public outcry against police brutality.

The higher divorce rate among military families compared to non-military familes cries out for resources.

Street art is not graffitti!

Torture has its place in terrrorist prevention.

Inception is not a coherent thriller.
 

It’s end of the summer semester research term paper time. So many arguments, so many readily available resources, and so many fallacies.  My students, weaned on the Internet, both master and destroy logic. Familiar with the bounty that is the network–social, educational and otherwise–they can research. They find stuff. However, likewise products of the world wide of webbings, traps for the unweary, they believe without discernment. 

Teaching young minds to think in verticals and horizontals tasks the impatient and weary. Entitlement does not only measure ownership attitudes; the right to be right falls in the heap of our stuff. Ours. Mine. Not yours.

How else does the abounding madness of polarizing non-sense stop: me vs. you, right vs. wrong, with us or against us? Isn’t that the major premise of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals--keep the pressure on with conflict so power can slip in its agenda? 

I responded to a social media prompt on a relative’s Facebook page about the minimum wage not being about bickering over which unskilled worker should get two dollars more than the other. Two good responsive posts about the issue over dignity of work, skilled vs. unskilled worker…and then it came: the post about me, me, me and what I do and don’t blame me for trying to work and make money. 

Buzz kill. There is no response to a hijacked discussion of a public issue by someone’s feelings about his or her life or imaginary persecution–a failure to read and understand a public forum’s purpose in the shades of meaningful and polite interaction. 

Teach a mind to think, reason and discern: rule one of a civilzed nation.
 

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