Bret Stephens's 'The Dying Art Of Disagreement'

814 Words4 Pages
“The Dying Art of Disagreement” by Bret Stephens is a speech given at the Lowry Institute Media Award dinner, and the text from the speech was printed in The New York Times. Bret Stephens appeals to the media to set an example for society by promoting honest and fair debate based on true facts leading to a healthy openness of opposing views. This piece addresses what has led to the proposed downfall of disagreement and how media can assist in reversing this trend. The first reason Stephens cites as a negative influence on the decline of healthy debate is the terrible education children receive by both parents and teachers. Children are not taught to stretch their thinking and to be receptive of opposing views. In the current society of “protected feelings”, children are being taught that negative opinions are bad, and this type of thinking does not allow them to flourish intellectually.(p. 7) Sadly, children are not learning about what the First Amendment means, and as a result, college students are protesting against speakers which have different viewpoints from their own. In addition, Stephens contends that college students are not capable of thinking for themselves because they tend to identify with a particular group and own that groups views. (p. 8) He strongly argues that “to disagree well you must first understand well.” (Stephens p.5) Secondly, Stephens acknowledges that the influential media is another contributor to the downfall of healthy debate.
Open Document