Ye Olde Swimming Hole

current, insightful, yet nostalgic

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Arrogance or Earned Understanding?

A few days ago, Victor Navasky, editor of the liberal magazine The Nation, was interview on The News Hour. Navasky has recently written a book on the importance of opinion. One of his statements during the interview stuck out to me. He said, "you've got to be able to state your opposition's point of view better than he or she states it him or herself."

Is that really possible? That statement implies that you fully understand your opposition's point of view, or position, better than they do. Or course he could be saying you can just articulate their position better than they can, but I don't think that's was he's saying. Navasky's comment assumes that he understands the conservative position better than conservatives do and therefore is in a position to refute it.

One of the problems with this idea is that you cannot fully understand another person's point of view until you've walked in their shoes. You can try to understand it, by finding out all you can about them and imagining what their life is like, but until you've lived by the principles by which they are living, you cannot fully understand them.


Post a Comment

<< Home