Sunday, June 28, 2009

heroes: contrarians and visionaries

our heroes change. 

but right now, here are my heroes, in no particular order.

well....maybe in some particular order:

thomas sowell:  for his boldness of thought and soundness of ideas, not for his tact
charles krauthammer:  for his contrarian nature, not for his unwillingness to compromise

paul graham:  for his clarity and ability to spot central arguments, not for his breadth of ideas

barack obama:  for his eloquence, not for his content

look anywhere 

the center for american progress:  for their vision, not for their ability to argue central ideas

~ ~ ~

basic idea: my heroes tend to be either contrarian thinkers or eloquent visionaries.  

why this matters:  i find that contrarian thinkers are usually not also eloquent visionaries.   contrarians limit and qualify ideas and carve them into soundness.  eloquent visionaries set us in broad, interesting directions, yet often lack the intellectual rigor to argue central ideas.  i could be persuaded that i'm incorrect in this observation.  it's just a hunch.

how this changes things:  there's something truly wonderful to be gained by balancing polar opposite ideas in your mind and letting the truth settle in.  sometimes truth is in the middle. sometimes not. 

my favorite thing to do is read thomas sowell and then read an article by the center for american progress.  

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