Making sense of political arguments

By Edi Birsan on April 16, 2018

Listening to political arguments often leaves me with the feeling of cleaning out my ears with toilet paper.

We all hear intense arguments for or against a proposal, with a series of “facts”‘ presented with the hope that they will convince us to agree with the speaker’s view.

I often ask that if their presented facts were proven to be false, would they then change their minds? The reality is that the answer is no.

There was a study in England some years ago where they offered a made-up position, dividing people and giving them pro or con facts. The people were separated and measured regarding their support of their position. When they were told that their facts were a lie, their commitment to their side only increased.

That leads me to the recent arguments about cannabis, dealing with lab testing and manufacture relative to the medical and other uses of cannabis. There is a group that is emotionally anti-cannabis in all aspects and a group that feels they can get away with supporting medical uses. And there are those adamant that lab tests should only be done for medical cannabis.

However, the fact is that when you lab test a bag of greenery, you have no idea what the eventual end use will be. Likewise, when you manufacture an edible or a “flower/leaf.”

In fact, you do not know if the medical user may just take a few extra puff or drops for kicks and chuckles.

Yet these facts seem to make no difference to the position holders.

People have also made arguments about safety and the location of a facility. They believe there must be a relationship between the facility and the cannabis use, along with the infamous argument about proximity to children.

Well, let us look at something that we have records of here in Concord. Ygnacio High School has had a bar adjacent to its entrance for the entire 35 years I have lived nearby. It is also near a full-fledged liquor store and a market that has exposed shelves of wine and beer. My goodness, what a virtual den of vile moral contamination.

Except, the trend for the last 35 years is that it has not been a problem.

There are no doubt emotional and philosophical arguments for most things. I certainly have some. But when you honestly say that you are for or against something for ideological reasons, then be open about it. And ask yourself what it would take for you to change your view.

This way, our positions are far more respectful of each other.

Send questions and comments to EdiBirsan@gmail.com

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