Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Agreeing to Disagree


I've heard this little nugget of supposed civility and "wisdom" many times in my life and I have used it myself before. I've heard with increasing frequency as the "discussion" on health care continues. Those in favor of government run health care for all are using this little gem to quiet their opponents. I think at the heart of this idea to agree to disagree is really a desire to have our own way without having to give any explanation or justification for what we believe. Sometimes that is acceptable. I may, for example, agree to disagree with a neighbor who does not put in a garden. We have one, but our neighbor does not. That's OK. But I don't think it wise to agree to disagree about such important things as health care. How can you agree to disagree with something that will directly affect you? This is a spineless excuse for not standing up for what you really believe in and I get quite uncomfortable when I hear public officials telling the public whom they serve that we must just agree to disagree.

2 comments:

Father Hollywood said...

The problem with this "health care" bill is that you cannot "agree to disagree." If they would make this optional, then maybe we could simply "agree to disagree," but those who object to the bill will not be able to "opt out."

That's the problem with government-run anything: it is a monopoly and operates ultimately by force and compulsion. You may not like it, but you cannot simply "agree to disagree."

Rev. Jim Roemke said...

And that is exactly why this empty platitude to "agree to disagree" is often to sinister. It's one thing to agree to disagree on silly stuff, like whether to have a garden or not, but more times than not when this mantra is chanted it is about stuff that people simply cannot agree to disagree on. Carnival theologians are also big fans of the "agree to disagree" gambit. There are some things that we cannot just put a pin in, so to speak because some things are far too important, like universal health care, to just say "you do your thing, and I'll do mine."