(Los Alamitos, CA, posted 1/21/2017) Editor’s note: The following originally appeared as a Guest Post in the News Enterprise, and is reposted here with the gracious permission of the author. by John Underwood:
When I was very young and just beginning to form my view of the world one prominent media figure captured my imagination, tempted me to imitation, and struck me as heroic rising above all other intellects in clear thinking and execution of style in conversation.
No it was not JFK. It was notorious conservative and talk show host William F. Buckley Jr. On his 1960s and 70s confrontational television program Firing Line Bill Buckley would fearlessly invite some of the most articulate liberal thinkers and talkers of the time. He would first listen carefully with the discipline of a UN delegate, give them the courtesy of laying out their world view perhaps even agreeing on points of common ground, and then proceed to roll them over like bowling pins with his own eviscerating logic, cutting charm, and command of the English language.
As my own world view expanded with age and experience my empathy for the world took me to places and points of view Mr. Buckley would never have accepted. And this was a real source of inner conflict for me for some time, until I realized another lesson I was learning implicitly from this great debater’s example, that is, reasonable and nimble minds can tolerate, often accept, and sometimes even assimilate the opinions of others without necessarily threatening the foundations of one’s own worldview, if you first listen carefully to what they are actually saying. Continue reading