Hello, future readers! I’ve decided to create my own forum to communicate to the world. Previously, I wrote for the Iowa State Daily as a Science Opinion writer – look for those articles posted under links. However I felt constricted by some of the parameters set forth by the Opinion Editor. In addition, many of the subjects I wanted to write about either did not fit into the editorial scheme of the paper or the subject matter involved deeper thinking than 140 characters. I also felt that in order to grow as a thinker and a writer, I needed a different format to explore and expand my ideas and positions, and that’s just something the ISU Daily could not offer me. Of course, I’m not saying that I dislike the paper or the people who write and work for the paper. No! I still read the paper in the morning during breakfast. However from time to time, I will be posting rebuttals to some of the nonsensical rhetoric that is published in that paper. For that matter, I will be rebutting other opinion writers and selected pieces of news as well, including politicians, scientists, academics, liberals, conservatives, etc…
I will have three main objectives in my writings. My first objective is to provoke a response from the reader. If you are offended, supportive, or experience some manner of sentiment somewhere in between love and hate from my writings, then I have accomplished my first objective. It is not my intention to drive you off as a reader or to assassinate your character or the character of other readers, public figures, etc… Rather, it is my intention to provoke some sort of feeling either good or bad and to provide an opportunity for you to step back and say, “I really hate, Matt. But maybe he has a point.”
My second objective is to provide an opportunity for you to think about a particular subject in a different light. As you know, the internet has provided a median for political bubbles to emerge. For example, read the comments section of an article published on a left leaning website or a right leaning website and you’ll see just how supportively biased those comments are for the writer and the argument and position being presented. Facebook is also a great example of this.
To elucidate and support my point, Jonathan Haidt, pyschologist and professor at the University of Virginia, wrote about this very subject in a terrific book called The Righteous Mind. In his book, he discusses the increasing rift between the right and left and why political discourse is becoming more and more difficult in this country. In other words, there are right leaning bubbles and there are left leaning bubbles. Needless to say, I highly recommend the book. And if you happen to pick it up and read it, at the very least, it will confirm your political leanings, albeit right or left.
My final objective is to provide a different perspective; a perspective that is neither right nor left, although some of my writings may seem a bit to the right at times and a bit to the left at other times. This is because according to the Implicit Biases exams created by Jonathan Haidt and his team of fellow psychologists and salt mine workers (graduate students), I am more liberal than liberals and more conservative than conservatives. Obviously this is a claim and I will need to provide you with some evidence to help convince you that I am being truthful, but in the mean time, and until I can provide you with the adequate supportive material, will you accept the notion that I am a curious person that enjoys reading and learning about other people’s ideas and propositions? I can certainly provide immediate examples.
I have already mentioned and recommended Jonathan Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind, but I would also recommend Jason Riley’s book Please Stop Helping Us: Why Liberals Make it Harder for Blacks to Succeed. I know, right? I would also suggest you read economist and conservative writer Thomas Sowell and Anti-Racist writer and speaker, Tim Wise. Yes, I have some range when it comes to reading. I have been known to read Scientific American and The National Review in one sitting.
To illustrate this dichotomy even further, I’m not going to say that conservatives don’t believe in science. What I am going to say is that there are many conservative politicians who think the Earth is 6,000 years old, and that’s a problem when it comes to science policy. But I will say this as well, I’m not opposed to providing other types of schooling options for children other than public schools. In fact, I think Jason Riley in his book puts forth a really good argument for why parents should have the option to send their children to Charter schools. But those are topics for future essays, postings, and blogs. My point is that I can hold both conservative and liberal views at the same time while critizing both conservative and liberal views; and when you read my writings, you should expect no less.