Right, Wrong and Consensus

This post started its life as a “readers’ mailbag,” but promptly shifted gears when I saw where it was heading.  The impetus was an email that was sent to me by another blawger, to effect that my posting, besides being prolific, tended to be particularly provocative.

Provocative?  I supposed they are, but that’s not my purpose.  Rather, my purpose is to say something.  I like to read other people’s blogs.  They give me ideas and make me think.  As opposed to the quote from my daughter that had graced my sidebar for a while (“I hate thinking. It hurts.”), I enjoy thinking.  Cogito ergo sum.  If I didn’t think, then I wouldn’t be.  And we can’t have that.

My style is to be straightforward, so that you know exactly where I stand after reading one of my posts.  I avoid wiggling my way through a point, or doing things to skirt responsibility for my thoughts.  Many of the posts I read ultimately offer no conclusion as to what the writer believes.  This may be the best means of serving as the citizen journalist, reporting the news without taking a position on it, but that’s not why I post. 

If it’s just reporting, then  Bashman already posted about it and there’s no reason to read anything I wrote.  If you think I’m prolific, see what Bashman produces every day.  I post about things that I find interesting, and evoke some degree of thought and feeling.  Some find the number of posts I produce disturbing.  I could probably do another half dozen every day if I had the time because of the variety of things throughout the day that peak my interest.  If they think 5 or 6 posts a day is too many, what would they think of me then?

When people read my posts, they tend to either agree or disagree with me, but with a fair degree of vehemence in either direction.  Thank God for that.  There is nothing that I would find more distressing than to have written my thoughts on a subject and evoke no reaction.  Love me or hate me, but feel something.

What I cannot do is try to form a consensus.  No, it’s not that I am anti-collegial or just can’t play well with others.  It’s that I never want to create a camel when I’m trying to design a horse.  Consensus involves compromising what you believe to be right and wrong, correct and incorrect, in order to find common ground.  Sometimes, this works exceptionally well, and the outcome of consensus is better than any individual idea.  More often, however, consensus produces an outcome that satisfies no one and produces nothing of value. 

Compromise has become a vaunted goal in itself lately.  It can be overrated.  If the result is not right, then it’s wrong.  To prefer a wrong result over a right one merely avoid conflict or be collegial is the realm of the coward.  There has to be something you believe in, or there’s just no reason to exist. 

This should be distinguished from people who take the position that they don’t care enough to make a fight out of something.  That’s different.  Then it merely becomes an “acceptance” decision, where there is no right or wrong involved as far as you are concerned, and hence no reason to care what the outcome is.  For example, if the choice is to go out for Chinese food or Italian, both of which you enjoy, then either one will do and you’re equally happy with either choice.  I don’t tend to post about acceptance decisions.  They don’t require thought.

But here’s the really big distinction.  For the many (most?) blawgers who post not for the pleasure (mental masturbation?) but for client consumption and marketing, how then to present something of substance that serves to bring clients in rather than drive them away?  After all, if you take a position, those who disagree with you (or just don’t understand you) may well say to themselves, “well, there’s a lawyer I wouldn’t hire.”  It’s risky business, and there is no lawyer who is in business to drive potential clients away.

So I could write upbeat, positive, inspirational posts or the sort that would warm the cockles of potential clients’ hearts, surrounding myself with an aura of warmth and safety that would have clients searching online for the criminal defense lawyer of their dreams swarming around me like flies to light, but it would kill me.  Playing to the crowd is the antithesis of why I write.  I write to think.  I write to evoke thought. 

So when I post, it’s what I believe to be right.  It doesn’t mean that I am right, and I have occasionally sometimes often frequently been told that I’m wrong.  And I learned a great deal from those who challenge me.  I’ve realized that I failed to fully consider an issue, or misunderstood something or just plain blew it.  If I make some readers think, they make me think too. 

It doesn’t get any better than that.  So if you think I’m provocative, well, thanks.

4 comments on “Right, Wrong and Consensus

  1. Susan Cartier Liebel

    DON’T YOU DARE CHANGE A THING!! Or I will personally come down there and break your keyboard.

    You are one of the most fun, refreshing, interesting blogs out there. And regardless of what anyone says anyway you and I both know you wouldn’t dream of changing a thing. It’s your world and if we are lucky enough you will let us in at your pleasure!

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