Depends on Where You’re Standing

5 05 2009

I’ve always found it hard to be ideological in any serious matter, like politics or religion, but find no problem in being an absolute hard-liner when it comes to more trivial concerns. Is Coke a better product than Pepsi? You’re damn right it is! When it comes to more complex matters, however, I have trouble committing myself to one option and instead tend to see both positive and negative in any proposed solution.

This is amplified by my somewhat skeptical nature. I need to see some kind of hard evidence before I believe something and even when such evidence is presented, I usually convince myself that there are facts somewhere else to dispute it.

However, I sometimes get in trouble when I allow this two tendencies to mix. The result is that I take my inclination toward opinionating and merge it with my affinity for considering all sides of an argument. Yes, I am one of those annoying people who will argue with you just for the sake of argument, especially if it someone who I don’t know too well. I view it as a kind of intellectual exercise, a way for me to evolve my analytical skills by attempting to convince someone of something I don’t even necessarily believe myself. Others have given it less charitiable descriptions.

Throughout my college years, my penchant for political discussion drove to usually espouse views that would be considered extremely leftist, even beyond my already liberal nature. College students in general are reliably Democratic and so when I would engage in random political discussions, I’d sometimes shift myself further left so that I could argue instead of benignly agree.

However, this dynamic changed in a surprising way when I arrived in Korea.

The population of foreign English teachers in Korea is overwhelmingly Canadian, so most of my new-found friends hailed from our neighbor to the north. It’s common knowledge that Canada’s political center, like Europe, is much more liberal than America’s. So, when I entered into the arena of political debate with acquaintances of Canadian descent and tried my usually my move to the left, I found it politically impossible. They had already beat me to the far left and I couldn’t really outpace them without entering the lunatic fringe of the political spectrum.

So, I took the opposite approach and tacked my arguments toward the right. While this ensured that the debates stayed lively, it made me wonder about where my political center lay. With my political perspectives thus shifted, I began to realize that I had always been more of centrist (pragmatic, if you will) than I realized and felt slightly worried about my lacking liberalism compared to my Canadian compatriots.

Now, back amongst my fellow Americans, my fears have eased away. I’ve found comfort in the acerbic rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh and the ignorance of Miss California, assuring me that yes, indeed, I can still be considered a liberal whacko.

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One response

5 05 2009
Becky

Welcome back!

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