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Listening To Those You Disagree With

If you follow Democrat political strategist James Carville, you might find it a little difficult to listen to Rush Limbaugh. And, if you’re a faithful watcher of Fox News, switching over to MSNBC might cause you to throw something at the TV. The truth is, however, that listening to and reading opinions you disagree with is almost always a positive thing. What’s dangerous is exposure to only those with whom you agree.

In listening to opposing views, it’s often pretty easy to pick up on the fallacies and misconceptions that the opposition labor under, but it also raises your awareness of the very same danger. I subscribe to some really left-leaning newsletters that actually tend to reinforce my right-leaning world views, but they broaden my perspective as well.

Certainly, there are those passionate individuals on the fringes who believe anyone who doesn’t agree with them is either immoral or intellectually dishonest; they don’t accept the facts and they attack those who oppose them. Without question, the fringes tend to operate with their own set of “facts” – facts that often have little basis in reality.

While you certainly shouldn’t accept everything at face value, it does provide insight into what the legitimate opposing views might be. Some things are black and white, right and wrong. But when it comes to politics, there are often only varying shades of gray.

We’ve all seen political groups or management teams that begin to associate only with themselves and reject all information that does not align with their own worldviews. That’s a prescription for disaster, especially when they begin to attack not only opposing messages but the messengers as well. Both our political views and management tactics should be strengthened by seeking out different perspectives.