Allen Brill has a

October 18, 2003

Allen Brill has a very smart piece on the recent comments by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir and American general Jerry Boykin. He points out the terrible irony in people who worship the same Abrahamic God claiming that other worshippers from the same religious family are evil. He then takes the comparison in an interesting direction, focusing on a speaker's duty to tell an audience what it needs to hear rather than what will make it comfortable.

It is a good sermon point, I have heard similar sermons before, and it is a point well worth repeating. Perhaps the most destructive intellectual impulse is sanctimony (is that a word?), assuring yourself that you are fine while those other people are flawed, so flawed that you need not pay any attention to their words, their wants or their needs.

Discourse within a closed circle often turns this way, and it turns badly when it does. Brill looks at speech within religious communities, but you can say the same thing about speech within political communities and within intellectual communities. If you are reading this, you probably read other web logs. Look at your blogroll and your bookmarks - is there a pattern to them? Do you link to people who you do not agree with but who do make you think? If not, why not?

And I hear the wife calling.

Posted by Red Ted at October 18, 2003 05:08 AM | TrackBack