I notice that our educational system promotes critical thinking and critical inquiry, but that this can have negative side-effects among intellectuals, professionals and the like.

People focus so much on eviscerating other people's ideas, proposals, and personalities, that they spend insufficient time praising others and their creations/contributions. 

There's always going to be drawbacks with any idea or proposal. And no policy will be perfect. And if you spend your time waiting for all the drawbacks and shortcomings to be addressed, then the time for action has often passed-by. It's good to have constructive criticism. And its good to know about the drawbacks and problems. And as much as possible, these should be addressed. But you can never get perfection.

There were countless problems with the US Space Program. We tried to address as much of them as possible. But there came a time when you simply had to take a leap of faith. That cost lives, sometimes. But the alternative was perpetual second-guessing and stagnation. Yes, we shouldn't send astronauts into space if a shuttle fails an inspection. Obviously. But we can't always address every single possibility, either.

I'm also reminded of Eisenhower's analysis of the Normandy Invasions. Montgomery wanted to wait another year, by some accounts. He thought the invasion was too risky. Too much was being left to chance. We had no assurances that Hitler wouldn't throw his tanks at the invaders, immediately. And we knew that if this happened, the invasion's chances for success would be dramatically lowered. Eisenhower did everything he could to make Overlord a success. But there came a time when he simply had to throw the dice and take a leap of faith. I can't begin to imagine Eisenhower's stress levels on the night before the landings.

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Comment by Ben Sen on February 13, 2018 at 1:06pm

You see what you're talking about right here with bloggers.  Some have no other way of communicating than by criticism.  And with many more it's pure bullying.  I ask them:  what is it you have to Add, rather than Subtract, for this or that assertion, and I find in many cases they don't know what I mean.  They also mistake intellectual knowledge and self-knowledge, not knowing the later.  Schools don't teach self-knowledge, it only comes by experience and an open mind.

Comment by Tom Cordle on February 13, 2018 at 3:26pm

"I can't begin to imagine Eisenhower's stress levels on the night before the landings." On the night before, Ike composed a letter taking full responsibility/blame for the failure of the Normandy invasion. Contrast that with General Kelley and the current commander-in-chief, both of whom blame everyone but himself.

Thankfully, Ike didn't need to issue that letter, and the Normandy invasion was a tremendous success. But though it was carefully planned and executed, it's success depended to some extent on good fortune. Paratroopers from the 82nd and 101st were dropped behind enemy lines with the expectation that 80% of them would be causalities. Fortunately, losses were much less and those paratroopers managed to scuttle attempts by the Germans to get reinforcements to Normandy.

And it wasn't just paratroopers who were extraordinarily brave. I've stood on the shore at Normandy and wondered how any man found the courage to wade into that water and onto that shore in the face of what seemed like certain death. Certainly, the sea of crosses at the American Cemetery at Normandy attests that many of them did meet death there.

Comment by koshersalaami on February 13, 2018 at 3:52pm

I used to have this fight a lot more on Open Salon than on Our Salon. There I dealt with people who loved to play offense but would never defend an alternative. Without a better choice, their criticism was useless, because decisions about acting are by nature comparative. If all the alternatives are lousy, including inaction, you choose the least bad, and so just criticizing the least bad without bringing anything else into the conversation is worse than useless. 

Comment by Maui Surfer on February 13, 2018 at 4:16pm

I keep an old image of the little kid me wearing my I Like Ike button on the bureau. Just reminds me of a different era, one before the Southern Strategy when you knew who was in the KKK and who was a pretender, when you believed a REAL HERO when he warned us of the Military Industrial Complex. How again did anyone not think a five star General who won the biggest war in herstory didn't know what he what talking about? Man, those lobbyists really spread some money around turning the Rethug party into a complete joke, albeit a very, very dangerous one.

That said, the best leaders always lead with praise and complements, then begin to politely dissect and improve. I feel sorry for anyone who has never worked for anyone with these qualities, as I have been very fortunate to do so more than once. I've also spent time in Jail for punching out insulting dickhead "bosses" on two different occasions ---- draw your own conclusions on which strategy is more effective.

Comment by koshersalaami on February 13, 2018 at 7:32pm

“Those lobbyists really spread some money around turning the Rethug party into a complete joke, albeit a very, very dangerous one.” If Amy reads this, she’s going to say that the same is true of the Democrats. There’s an extent to which I agree. The Dems are way, way better on social justice but not better enough on financial dependence on lobbyists. There are two possibilities, and the truth is probably a mix of them: the Dems concentrate on social justice because it’s the good they can actually accomplish or they concentrate on social justice because it gives them maneuvering room to give their major donors what they want. 

I realize that some of this dependence on lobbyist money is just necessity because of the cost of campaigning, but Bernie proved they could do a lot better. 

Comment by Ron Powell on February 13, 2018 at 7:58pm

"Some have no other way of communicating than by criticism."

The sad thing is that those who engage in communication by criticism actually believe that they are adding or making a contribution to the discourse...

Comment by Maui Surfer on February 14, 2018 at 11:43am

Kosh- Amy's right. If the Clinton's didn't prove it who did or ever will? I'm still stuck firmly in between the LESSER of two evils, and man is one lesser and one a HORRIBLE MONSTROSITY.

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