It is extremely difficult to be unbiased when critically examining the opinions and ideas of someone who you dislike, or who holds at least one opinion or idea that is wholly opposed to what you believe.
Henry Ford, a vehement anti-Semite, and Nazi sympathizer, had many interesting and potentially valid ideas around the good treatment and payment of workers to increase industrial out-put and stimulate the economy, the interaction of industry and agriculture to keep both functioning economically, and promotion of up-standing morals and values to keep life well-ordered and smooth. It feels so odd to me to find an out-spoken internationalist, and pacifist, who is nonetheless a racist capitalist.
But it really makes me think, how often do I judge someone based on one or a few things they’ve said, and therefore discredit everything else? I suppose this just proves that being racist or sexist or something, doesn’t mean you don’t have awesome ideas worth talking about.
I walked out of class today to see a bunch of people clustered on a stairwell looking out a window. Outside there has been a lot of construction or something going on in the courtyard for a few months, and it now looks like a big dirt field. Not exactly something interesting to look at.
Turns out they had just dug up a tree. This tree was taller than the three-story building we were inside of, and was probably planted before it was built. The knowledge that they dug up this tree, likely because it was in the way of a planned path or other man-made construction is quite upsetting to me, but it makes me feel rather hypocritical.
I know full well that an entire portion of an ancient forest was decimated in order to build the university I’ve spent most of the past three years living and learning at. I suppose the loss of all those trees upsets me, but it definitely doesn’t hit as hard as seeing the one being dug up. Ultimately this proves to me that I don’t feel that a bad act (in this case uprooting a healthy tree for an unnecessary reason) is justified simply because it has been done in the past, even many times in the past.
I guess this is rather elementary, but it reminded me of a debate my History of the Peace Movement debate yesterday, arguing that Canadian involvement in WWII was ethically justified. The negative side made the point that the reasons we finally joined the war were economic, and that even if there were also ethical reasons, they can’t have been the main reasons because we then would have been involved in many more conflicts before that as well. But again, I feel that just because Canada did something bad (not getting involved in preventing or ending such conflicts as the war is Spain for example) does not mean that they should do another bad thing, even if it’s the same thing (not getting involved in fighting the injustices of the Nazi regime).