Are We Too Afraid to Fail?

by The Augustan on 08/18/2014

Meaningful progress generally involves a willingness to take risks, embrace uncertainty, and acknowledge our shortcomings.

Experimenting with new ideas, asking questions, and seeking guidance are all a part of our growth and development. Interestingly, these acts can invite public scrutiny. To what degree does shame and the fear of ridicule prevent people from taking the necessary steps to better their lives and the lives of those around them?

For example, when we condemn politicians because their policies do not meet our expectations, is it possible that we are also discouraging future innovation and creativity? When we stereotype and demean low income single parents, is it possible that we are also alienating them and making them feel ashamed to seek guidance? When we stigmatize people who are struggling with addictions or depression, is it possible that we are also making it more difficult for them to come forward and admit their issues?

If we are unwilling to give people a reasonable amount of latitude to be wrong, make mistakes, and admit their struggles, then how can we ever hope to make any meaningful progress?

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Why Political Commentators are Dangerous

by The Augustan on 08/11/2014

Political commentary, also known as “advocacy journalism,” is a form of journalism that mixes opinion with news reporting. Common examples of political commentators are talk radio and talk show hosts.

I would argue that not only is political commentary unreliable, but it is also potentially harmful. Two specific aspects of this form of journalism led to this conclusion:

First, though it is biased, many consider it a trustworthy source of information. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with political commentators sharing their personal opinion while giving a news report. The problem arises when their opinions shape how the news is reported.

Second, political commentators are journalists, yet they are not held to the standards and ethics of journalism. They are not required to be objective, accurate, or accountable to the public. They are allowed to use loaded language, ask leading questions, omit portions of a story, and explore any perspective that they want.

To be fair, there are journalists that do great work. Even so, we should always maintain a healthy skepticism of the people that we give audience to.

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Let’s Talk about Hitting Women

by The Augustan on 08/4/2014

Adults should be able to resolve their disputes without resorting to violence. That said, if a woman ever physically assaults a man, then the man should exercise restraint and walk away because a single blow from him could potentially send her to the emergency room, or worse.

Women should not hit men for the same reason.

That statement has become quite controversial. Many wrongly interpret it as an effort to hold women responsible for some men’s lack of self-control. Regardless of gender, the average person would probably find it difficult not to react after being hit. We can either accept that, or risk finding ourselves in a precarious situation.

Everyone agrees that men ought not hit women. In the same way, everyone agrees that people ought not burglarize other people’s homes, yet there are such things as door locks and home security systems.

Why is that?

Put simply, because people do not always behave the way that they ought to. We do not live with the consequences of what people ought to do; we live with what they actually do.

Precautionary measures exist to protect the vulnerable from harm. Advising women not to hit men is a precautionary measure. Of course men should know better than to hit women. People should also know better than to burglarize other people’s homes.

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