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  1. #1
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    Default Calling all Conservatives and Liberals -- A Reading Assignment?

    We've had some real head-butting sessions on this forum. How about getting together and trying to figure out some common ground, and find out why we think so differently? I'm pretty liberal. I have friends who are pretty conservative. We manage to talk with civility. Maybe it's because we know each other outside of the written word, have seen the many facets that each of us has and have had the opportunity to see that, in spite of the fact that we are all different, and all flawed, there's more to like than to dislike.

    We have so many people of great intellect on this board. I wish we could use that intellect to create more understanding, rather than more divisiveness. What I'm going to propose is not a way to solve the problem, but, maybe, more of a way to create a better understanding of what, and who we all are, and how we got this way.

    My cousin told me about a book -- "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America." http://www.amazon.com/American-Natio.../dp/0143122029 She said that it really helped her to understand who we are, and why we are the way we are. And, I believe, understanding is a good first step towards healing. I bought the book, but I will confess that I haven't gotten very far into it, because I keep getting distracted. However, it does seem to be an interesting and unique way of looking at our country.

    I'm willing to settle down and read it. What I am suggesting is that others do the same. Then, the next time we have Off Topic Days, we can get together and discuss what we have read, and what it means. The only rule will be that we all must behave with civility towards each other. Political viewpoints won't matter, we just must all respect the points of view of others, in the context of what this book says, and what, if anything, it teaches.

    Anyone game?
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
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    Default

    I'm game! Don't know when the next OT day/time period will be, so can't guarantee I'll finish it, but love a thought-provoking book and discussion.



  3. #3
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    Default

    One problem seems to be that so many today consider themselves an expert on stuff they clearly are clueless.

    What do we think when someone posts about, say, "should I call animal control on my neighbor's white horse that is dying laying there across the fence with blinders on?"
    You try to convince them it is a horse napping in the sun with a fly mask on.
    Ever read what comments those anti carriage web sites present as truths?

    We do the same here, hear sound bites in the news, read about something in a blog and now we already know all about that, yes sir, don't confuse me with facts, I can google someone disagreeing in a second, that also doesn't know any better.

    We used to form ideas and when debating with others, if it was in our field, we were listened to, if we were winging it, we did so with an open mind and listening to anyone that really knew.
    We could tell the difference and would honor it.
    Not so today with many, as is reflected in forums.

    I think that attitude came about with today's explosion of the information age, that started about the middle of the past century, where anyone is given so much to filter thru they don't have the background to understand.
    They then end up with the equivalent of describing an elephant by touch AND don't realize they are blind.

    Soon we are going to have to call the way we are going the mis-information age, if this trend continues.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Default

    So, Bluey, are you game to read and discuss this book?
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    Default

    DH and I would be considered conservative, but not rabidly so. :-). I/we also vote for the person, not the party. We just don't like government doing our thinking for us.
    I will read the book...thanks for the reference. And I do agree about social media and people getting insane with total strangers. Oh, and yes grammar peeps (of which I am one), I did start a sentence with "and". Not enough coffee yet....


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  6. #6
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    Default

    How about reading "Guns, Germs, and Steel" for another's OT one day, too?


    2 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Looked interesting enough that I just bought it for my kindle.



  8. #8
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    Default

    I have an appreciation for other points of view...even the ones I don't agree with. I was called a bigot yesterday. I looked it up just to be sure I was clear on what it meant. I was surprised to learn the it meant "stubbornly held opinions and prejudices". A synonym for it is "partisian".

    I have "stubbornly held opinions and prejudices". I believe everyone does. Mine come from my core values and belief system and those values will never change. They are deeply rooted in my faith.

    So while I can discuss, agree and disagree, I find a lot of people can't. As soon as an opposing opinion or viewpoint gets put out there, he or she feels THEIR value system has been attack and become defensive.

    I love the diversity of thought on COTH and the wealth of information and life experience here. I wish conversational manners were as plentiful. I have lived with a person who, when in their own upset world, was looking for a fight and would accuse me of attacking. I knew I wasn't but he had to believe I was. Instead of being reassured that no, she's not attacking me, thank God, he insisted I was until the fight broke out; which then proved his point.

    Until he learned that he did this, there was no amount of talking that could change it.
    Ride like you mean it.



  9. #9
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    Default

    The book looked interesting. I like to read various points of view. One problem we have in this country is that people tend to read only things that reinforce the opinions they already have.

    It's like when people read a news paper (or online equivalent) they either only read the liberal versions or the conservative versions. You need to read multiple from different perspectives to get the true picture.
    "I couldn't find my keys, so I put her in the trunk"


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post

    ---"David Montgomery's review May 31, 13
    3 of 5 stars
    Read in February, 2013

    An intriguing but flawed book. Woodard's thesis — that America is best understood not as a single culture, or a handful, or a multiplicity, but a discrete 11, whose different values have shaped the country's history — draws on good scholarship and is compelling. The execution is highly uneven, however. Much of the book seems too polemical, as Woodard's contemporary liberalism colors his takes on the virtues and vices of the various cultures. Moreover, the book is most interesting in the distant American past, until the Civil War. As he nears closer to modern times Woodard annoyingly abandons his thesis altogether, condensing the 11 rival cultures into two warring alliances (reflecting, generally speaking, the Democratic and Republican parties) and those caught in between. There's about half of a great book here, and half a shoddy mess. I'd like to see another author take up the idea in a more diligent manner."---

    If we are not careful, we bring out own biases to the discussion table, even when we think we are being even-handed.


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  11. #11
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    OK, Bluey, I guess you just saved me some time



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
    OK, Bluey, I guess you just saved me some time
    Not really, you may have something else to say about that book, that is the idea behind this, I think?

    So what if someone doesn't like how he took off with his basic idea.
    You can decide if you agree or not.



  13. #13
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    A similar book is Albion's Seed, which was extremely thought-provoking. Thanks for the tip, I'll check this one out, too!

    You are exactly right that we have a number of regional cultures here; and why would we not, the country's enormous! They certainly have different "tribes" in places like Mongolia or the former USSR.

    Common "trigger" words like Liberty, Justice, Freedom, Responsibility--mean very different things depending on whether your part of the country's thought was once informed by Puritans, Quakers, Cavaliers, or Back-Country Scots/Irish.
    In many ways, all the groups who immigrated later merely appended their ethnicities to these main thought patterns.

    A lot of why we're still fighting the Civil War idealogically has much to do with this; along with the Slaughter Wars on COTH, opinions on hunting, etc. Fascinating topic!



  14. #14
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    Good idea as long as I can still be right 100% of the time and we all agree that anyone who disagrees is just plain stupid (and I can prove it by statistics and polls).


    3 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
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    LOL...as long as you choose the correct side of the argument. You are brilliant!

    Quote Originally Posted by happymom View Post
    Good idea as long as I can still be right 100% of the time and we all agree that anyone who disagrees is just plain stupid (and I can prove it by statistics and polls).
    Ride like you mean it.



  16. #16
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    ---"David Montgomery's review May 31, 13
    3 of 5 stars
    Read in February, 2013

    An intriguing but flawed book. Woodard's thesis — that America is best understood not as a single culture, or a handful, or a multiplicity, but a discrete 11, whose different values have shaped the country's history — draws on good scholarship and is compelling. The execution is highly uneven, however. Much of the book seems too polemical, as Woodard's contemporary liberalism colors his takes on the virtues and vices of the various cultures. Moreover, the book is most interesting in the distant American past, until the Civil War. As he nears closer to modern times Woodard annoyingly abandons his thesis altogether, condensing the 11 rival cultures into two warring alliances (reflecting, generally speaking, the Democratic and Republican parties) and those caught in between. There's about half of a great book here, and half a shoddy mess. I'd like to see another author take up the idea in a more diligent manner."---

    If we are not careful, we bring out own biases to the discussion table, even when we think we are being even-handed.
    That could well be the final conclusion. But, I think I'd rather see for myself than take someone else's word for it. And, you can sometimes draw insight from even flawed material. I think, for instance, that we always bring our own biases to the table. We just have to be aware that we might be doing that.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by happymom View Post
    Good idea as long as I can still be right 100% of the time and we all agree that anyone who disagrees is just plain stupid (and I can prove it by statistics and polls).
    I think you may do just that.
    I don't think taking a stand and disagreeing with others is against the rules for posting here.



  18. #18
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    Bluey

    I think you may do just that.
    I don't think taking a stand and disagreeing with others is against the rules for posting here.
    You're 100% right.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by happymom View Post
    You're 100% right.
    Sure hope so, or I would be in deep trouble.



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