Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

Open-mindedness and “Taking it personally”

Posted by Tony Listi on February 2, 2008

Some people think I am so mean sometimes because I have very strong opinions and am willing and able (I think) to argue for them. Yet I try my utmost to stick to the issue and not attack people personally. I don’t understand how so many people find wishy-washiness a virtue. People shouldn’t take critiques of their opinions so personally sometimes, especially when mutual criticism is the very purpose of the discussion!

In my humble opinion, you can often tell how open-minded people are by how personally they take criticism. If you take it personally, it’s likely you are closed-minded and won’t change your mind. Which is really ironic when I hear liberals tout how “open-minded” they are and yet how “personally” they feel about certain issues.

The fact is of the matter is that no one values wholesale and unlimited open-mindedness, especially not within our own faction. That is because it is self-contradictory: Open-mindedness apparently is not open-minded at all towards closed-mindedness.  No, rather, we advocate open-mindedness for those who disagree with us! We all want a politician who is closed-minded in the direction of our opinions. Of what use to us is a politician whose views and actions we cannot predict? We elect someone on the basis of their current positions hoping they will not change. Indeed, Benedict Arnold was quite an “open-minded” fellow….

Therefore, liberal double-talk about open-mindedness is a hollow and spurious ploy to make conservatives feel guilty for having strong opinions. The tragedy is that this sophistry sometimes has an effect on people who don’t think critically. Now there may be something to be said about style and prudence with regard to how and when to argue. But it is ridiculous to criticize someone merely for holding fast to an opinion! Are liberals close-minded because they hold fast to their opinions?

One Response to “Open-mindedness and “Taking it personally””

  1. Ryan said

    I wrote a post about something similar. I think people get defensive when criticism is directed at something that they feel defines who they are! A person should be secure enough to discuss, defend, and attempt to see an opposing view but too often politics and religion strike at areas very sensitive. In essence, such criticism is saying you aren’t valid as a person. Of course, that is not the intended meaning, but how often when we are “being attacked” do we stop long enough to ask, “Are they meaning to attack me?”

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