Read on Both Sides of Current Issues

Do you sometimes feel unable to make some sense out of our crazy world? These are indeed “interesting times”, and this is something that’s been on my mind for the past while. Honestly, it’s a work-in-progress for me, but still, here’s my unsolicited advice on the matter:

Look for media sources outside your personal comfort zone.

The “echo chamber” effect–our tendency as human beings to seek information that we’re likely to agree with–is well known. It feels affirming to hear an opinion that reflects or reinforces our own.

However, I would suggest that in order to help mend the culture rifts around us, we need to engage positively with those who have a differing worldview. To converse well, we need listening skills and knowledge in order to enter into and sustain dialogue. To be well informed, we need to seek out and pay attention to sources of information that will offer new perspectives and challenge our own assumptions. This is easier (and ironically more difficult) than ever before, due to the enormous amount of news and analysis available on the Interweb.

The easiest way to move outside your information comfort zone is simply to range widely. Follow links in blogs you normally read, especially when they take you to sources that disagree with the author.

Whatever your worldview, you can find educated, articulate people who see things differently based on the same general facts. Sometimes they’ll have new facts that will persuade you that they were right; more often, no doubt, you’ll hold to the view you started with–but you may have more nuance on the matter.

Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh and other “conservative” pundits who believe in dictatorial government when it comes to security and personal liberty but have no patience for equal opportunities in life, infuriate me. Yet I regularly listen to and read their arguments, and occasionally learn something useful.

Going outside your comfort zone has many ancillary benefits. One of these is the knowledge that you can hold your own in a conversation with people who disagree with you. A very tangible added-value is the effort will help you to be intellectually honest with yourself, through this exercise in curiosity and self-challenge. That’s what learning is all about. You can’t understand the world, or even a small part of it if you don’t stretch your mind — even a little bit.

In no particular order, here are some of the most popular websites representing Liberal or Conservative ideology:

The 50 most popular liberal websites at RightWingNews

Top conservative websites listed at rightsmarts.com

Top liberal Political Blogs listed at FeedSpot

Top conservative Political Blogs listed at FeedSpot

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Father: "He never amounted to anything". Mother: "Who the hell does he think he is"? Former Teacher: "Smart as a bag of hammers". Former Boss: "Condescending". Brother: "Mom loves me more".
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