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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

No debate - Observe Instead!

from Frank Paynter writing at Listics comes this gem:

Just as it does us no good to question the timing of the story, it does no good to debate the framing. There are people of good and evil intention on all sides of any issue who would drive public understanding by means of a debate. Debate is a binary and competitive proposition that reduces complexity and channels an outcome to a winner take all scenario reminsicent of trial by combat. Debate is a primitive, competitive approach to channeling conflict that assures that there will be a winner and a loser. All too often truth is subverted by the process. Whenever a matter of importance is framed with champions on two sides debating an outcome, you can be sure that there are facts that will be ignored as inconvenient, truths that will be dominated by shifts in the binary positioning of the opponents. What we have to do then is observe and frame our own responses based on what we see.

Take for example the matter of hair product. I can see why the TSA would want to ban hair product from the carry on luggage of all travelers everywhere in the world forever. I can also see why this may be a ridiculous over-reaction. But the fact of the ban, and the mindset of fear that it buttresses should tell us about the leadership that fosters this kind of public policy. While millions of Americans have no health insurance, the great public policy debate of our time focuses on removing shoes before boarding and carrying hair products on board aircraft. See why debate is not really useful?

Read the full posting here.

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