July 28 WEEKENDER: Second Opinion – The curse of being open-minded

It is a horrible curse to be able to see both sides of arguments and appreciate multiple points of view.

  • Jul. 28, 2012 2:00 p.m.

It is a horrible curse to be able to see both sides of arguments and appreciate multiple points of view.

Rabid supporters of extreme religious sects or radical political parties don’t know how lucky they are.  Life is simple when everything can be categorized and then either loved or hated, praised or vilified, believed in or denied. It is even simpler for anarchists, who hate, vilify and deny everything.

I wish I could be an anarchist. Unfortunately, I see the other side, the side that reveals the depth of their lack of understanding, the weakness of their myopic world view, and most importantly, the silliness of the spectacle of a society, in which skinny people run around all day spraying graffiti and smashing windows.

Likewise, I wish I could be a neo-conservative, a slavish follower of Harper or Clark.

It would be wonderful to bask in the belief that lowering taxes, eliminating unions, de-regulating banks and businesses would result in universal prosperity.  Unfortunately, I have persistent memories of newspaper accounts of banking malfeasance, corporate double-dealing, outlandish profits and bonuses, along with personal memories of working for wages in large factories, in kitchens and in ditches.

The neo-con world view, alas, is bogus.  The pure love of profit and free-market values it so highly regards encourages greed, self-interest and materialism to a degree that is detrimental to society.  Plus, the super wealthy tend to be egotistical, self-centered and generally obnoxious, even more annoying than university academics.

That reminds me; I once attended an event at UBC attended both by members of the Philosophy department and by wealthy patrons of the university.

The disdain the two groups had for each other was palpable. The wealthy thought the academics were snobbish bores while the academics thought the wealthy were superficial boors.  I, of course could see both points of view.

I tend toward liberal politics, the traditional home ground for those who see multiple points of view, the wishy-washy according to neo-cons and old-time socialists.  I support the NDP, but as usual find some of their attitudes, the ones most vehemently held by the hardliners, as being misguided.

The capitalist system they often criticize is, after all, what supports the pensions that they feel everyone deserves.

At the same time, of course, the neo-cons who so avidly criticize the pensions sought after by hated unions have to realize that those huge pension funds are the backbone of the stock market our capitalist system relies on.

See what I mean? Seeing both sides is such a curse.

– Jim Holtz is WEEKENDER columnist and former reporter of the Grand Forks Gazette.

Grand Forks Gazette