Letter to the Editor: Contrasting ideologies cause conflict

Feb. 2, 2016

In response to Jeff Ehren’s Jan. 27 letter

First, sincere thanks for walking your talk. You recommend we “stop, think, ask, and have conversations,” in this “learning institution.” Then you capably do so.

But next, a red-faced apology to all. I did indeed say, close borders to “all” immigrants. But I never intended such a simplicity. I meant to say “all immigrants of questionable security risks” and the like. Lesson No. 1:  proofread what you write!

More important, what other “educational moments” arise here?

A second may be to realize that our views on issues are less determined by facts or reasoning, and more by our basic existing “world-views,” which we then rationalize. These “key value-systems” are too often left tacit (unspoken) or even unrealized, but they’re indeed influential, like puppet-masters. So let’s discover and admit our own central “standpoints,” often conflicting, and work from there.

This applies here. Our two “world-views” seem to differ, even conflict. I surmise Jeff’s to be a “Utopian-Progressive” stance. Therein, “treaties, alliances, and international law” are indeed to be employed. Opponents can be worked with for conflict-resolution. Oh, and misbehavior can result from poverty and oppression (which does seem true).

By contrast, my “angle-of-vision” seems a “Tragic Realism” view. Human nature insures that conflict—war—will always exist. Humans are Machiavellian—no, not all, I’d protest—but it’s evil people who acquire power. Some operate via nothing but brute uncivilized force, and actually disrespect mature negations etc. as weakness. In this case, to respond to force with force seems an unfortunate but necessary responsibility.

Thus, basic “philosophies” often remain unstated, but virtually determine stands on issues, and are not subject to reasoned argument, hence should at least be identified.

Oh, and another caution. To avoid egg-on-face embarrassment, first proofread carefully, statements which you then send out to others!

Brian Kevin Beck

Emeritus Assoc. Prof., UW-W