Why I Recommend Seeking Out Viewpoints That Oppose Your Own

I came across this article on The National Review website the other day:

Professor: If You Read To Your Kids, You’re ‘Unfairly Disadvantaging’ Others

Now, I am a proud liberal, and I completely agree with this article. The professor cited in the article is, frankly, ridiculous. So I have learned a lot from reading National Review, mostly about how these political magazines’ stock and trade is in taking examples of the most radical behavior on the part of their opponents, criticizing and arguing against it, and implying — if not outright claiming — that this radical behavior represents the views of most of their opponents on the other side of the aisle.

National Review does it all the time, from a political vantage point I often disagree with or sometimes even despise. Mother Jones, Alternet, and Salon do it too, sites I find myself agreeing with much more often. The only difference is
which political viewpoints are being reinforced, and which are being disparaged and said to represent the other side.

The reason to regularly read articles written by people on the other side of whatever political aisle you are on is because you will find yourself saying, “Wait, I agree with you — that behavior you cited IS stupid.” As you’re doing that, you will realize that those same people, when you read an article pointing out stupid behavior on their side of the aisle, may well agree with you that the behavior was stupid.

So I recommend doing this.

BTW, it sucks.

I HATE when I see a National Review article come across my Facebook feed. I often have an immediate, strong, negative reaction to the headlines, and I often assume I know exactly what tack they’re going to take before I even read them. Unfortunately, they rarely surprise me. But once in a while I am surprised, like when I read an article on National Review a couple days ago actually defending the president against charges of sexism.

So it’s a discipline.

Then again, really listening — really seeking to understand points of view different from one’s own — always is.

And it’s worth it.


I am a licensed counselor in Michigan. I also teach for Spring Arbor University part-time and supervise post-grads during their 3,000 hours of required work under supervision.

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Posted in Politics

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