Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Do you have a right to an opinion?

"I love mankind. It's the people I can't stand."
- Charles Schulz

It sounds like a joke. But it's not.

To love mankind means to have respect for our species as a whole and to hold concern for its weaknesses and failures as well as for its successes.

Everyone knows people they can't stand or at least can't respect. Anyone who doesn't is not in touch with a broad spectrum of people, no matter where they live.

The difference is in the object about which one is making comment. One is the whole, of which we are each a part, whereas the other refers to individuals.

The trouble that each of us has at some time or other is that the number of people who have characteristics we disapprove of may seem to outweigh our feelings for the whole of our species. In those instances, numbers count. That focus changes with time.

What matters more is not our individual opinions about people or humankind as a whole, but what we are prepared to do about it, or to avoid doing. Anyone who is not prepared to do anything to help humankind should not have any right to express opinions about it.

We don't need destructive criticism that does nothing but make life worse.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to put other people into focus so that we don't see too much of what we don't like.
Learn more at http://billallin.com

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