Are you a skeptic?
How much does your answer reveal about your character and temperament? Does your answer reveal much about your upbringing, about the spirit of time you live in or if your older, the zeitgeist of your youth? For example, when I was young, I remember reading, “Catch 22.” For young people of my generation, it was a comic cry of the heart. We knew the Viet Nam War was completely crazy. Yossarian, the WWII pilot and hero of the book, just wanted to survive his war. We were like him too. The thought of dying in a rice paddy, because our leaders were caught in a quagmire of their own making seemed absurd and pointless. For many of us our core beliefs are crystallized before we are twenty one. I, for one, have never been able to take the idealistic pronouncements of our leaders, including Hilary and Barack, seriously.
Many people claim they value critical thinking. I wonder if that’s true. Perhaps the Texas School Board refusal to approve adding critical thinking skills to their curriculum wasn’t completely off-base. The term critical thinker suggests a certain set of received ideas. For example, if a person calls himself a critical thinker, you can probably predict they will vote for Obama, support gay marriage, and disapprove of climate change deniers. Don’t worry, I plan to vote for Obama, am okay with gay marriage, and think global warming is a problem. But suppose I was a Republican, a social conservative, and a climate change scoffer, could I be a critical thinker at the same time? Does that mean the term critical thinking is synonymous with a certain viewpoint?
Recently, there have been theorists who state there is something called the conservative mind; that there is some core neurological difference between liberals and conservatives. I think where you live and your profession are more important. I lived in New York all my life and worked mostly for government social agencies. Guess what? I’m a liberal and vote Democratic. If I lived in Texas and worked in finance, I would probably be a Republican. Many of our political beliefs are of course inherited from our parents. But this inheritance is not genetic; it’s more the force of circumstance. Most of the people I know are liberal democrats. Are they all wonderful open people? They like to think so. I’m not so sure. I don’t think there is really that much of a correlation between personality and ideology.
We’re all agreed that Romney and Ryan have a deeply flawed world outlook. But what about Obama and his administration? On March 5, 2012, in a speech defending targeted assassination, the Attorney General quoted John Kennedy, “In the long history of the world only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger.” When I first heard these word when I was fifteen, I thought it was hyperbole. Now reading Eric Holder I think it’s total bullshit. Hopefully Eric Holder realizes this too.