Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A plea for compromise

Political discourse today seems to be dominated by polarized arguments and emotional appeals.

I got a message the other day promoting offshore drilling titled "Liberals block effort to help solve the energy crisis." The message closes with: "It is time that our 'leaders' put our families first!"

Wait a second. Preventing offshore drilling is an attack on the family? The sitting 8-year Republican president just now issued an executive order authorizing drilling, but the liberals are to blame for why we didn't do it years ago?

I have no idea what the right solution to the offshore drilling problem is, or even what the most important tradeoffs are. But I'm pretty sure it's not a vast left-wing conspiracy to attack the family.

Before I support an issue, I want to know both sides of the issue. I want to see the 2 pundits on the news show say things like:

pundit 1: "well, I support offshore drilling, but I know it comes at a significant ecological cost and so I can see why you'd oppose it"

pundit 2: "but you're totally right about the horrible human costs of importation from the middle east! So I'd like to see the 30% of the sites that have the lowest environmental impact be opened up, since they also happen to be the biggest ones."

pundit 1: "yeah, I think that's a great compromise. I'd set it higher, but now we're just splitting hairs."

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