Thursday, January 4, 2007

Why Heretic

Heresy is the crime of thinking for oneself and making one's own choices rather than just accepting what is handed down by authority. As a heretic I try to commit this crime on all issues. If I accept the conventional wisdom I hope it is because I have become convinced of the position on its merits and not because of some vestige of the herd mentality.

We are all too ready to accept authority in place of reason. We respond to appeals to emotion while disregarding those made to reason. We accept the baseless assertions of reporters and pundits that one candidate or the other is liberal or conservative without finding out his/her position on the issues that actually affect us. We accept it when it is asserted that the media is liberal even though it is owned by powerful corporate interests. We accept that liberals are the elite even though conservatism increases with wealth. We accept that we should decide which candidate to vote for based upon likability rather than policy positions.

“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
Albert Einstein

When questioning an assertion do not ask "Says who?" That is a request for an appeal to authority. Ask instead "Why do you believe that?" Accept only reason. Be a heretic.

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