The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
 by Laramie Boyd
Seven Years
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        Well, it's been 7 years since I wrote my first article for The Spectator, a terrific on-line weekly "intelligent writing for intelligent readers" website paper. That period of time included 229 articles. The publisher and editor, Ron Cruger, allows his dozen or so writers to pick and choose their own topics, and when they write an article. The main conditions Ron sets for his writers is that they are totally responsible for the content of what they say. Articles on politics, religion, science, social commentary, and life experiences of the writers, or any other topic, are published with the expectation set by Ron that they be interesting, not dull. In reality, the writing covers a very broad spectrum of what's going on in the world, and often some unusual and fascinating experiences of the writers can be found in the weekly paper.
        In addition, and hopefully, readers from around the world, counted in the hundreds of countries, are encouraged to respond to the articles, The write-in responders either agree or disagree with the various viewpoints, naturally. However, sometimes these comments take on a bitter, hateful tone, and even personal attacks occur. I have received such a response. One write-in responder took the view that their values were right and my values in a particular article I wrote were stupid, rather than the intelligent approach that we simply have opposite viewpoints? Somehow the writer even felt an urge to sprinkle the "F" word throughout his diatribe. In any event, I was encouraged when I received even that "un-intelligent", insulting barb, as it proved to me that people are reading articles in The Spectator, and that's the main point of the site. And so I responded good naturedly, naturally, regardless how virulent the response was. The Spectator feels that intelligent writing deserves intelligent review, but as in all things there are no guarantees.
        I can't help noticing how often I read and hear liberal-leaning media bashing conservative views that are deemed un-intelligent, and vice versa of course, rather than that there is simply a disagreement in values and how they should be expressed. And often these "I'm right and you are stupid" views are voiced in a hateful, mean-spirited, even confrontational tone. Could there be anything more stupid than someone believing that their values are "right" and anyone who disagrees with them is "wrong", whether the topic be politics, religion, sexual orientation.
        Now, do I believe that these expressions of my beliefs are right and someone who disagrees is wrong? Certainly not. They are my opinions, my values. I simply believe that this point of view has tremendous merit. I would love to hear an opposing view, that a political or religious view, on its merits, is right and any other would be wrong. Some I suppose, though, would still not understand that concept. (I must admit however that there has been occasion when my article was primarily meant to encourage discussion, and not totally heartfelt).
        And for me nothing can be more interesting than to sit down with someone who disagrees with my personal views and to have a respectful exchange, a frank conversation, each participant holding that they are not "right", just different, outlining why they have such feelings, whether there are "facts" supporting the belief, or realizing that they are just the result of our upbringing. And then each participant walking away from the discussion respectfully and maybe even still friends. How could a person not agree to that arrangement? And of course that almost sounds like I think my view on disagreeing is right and others who disagree with that view of disagreeing are wrong. But maybe that's the nature of language, sometimes conundrums are unavoidable. Sadly, the world I'm dreaming of more than likely does not and will never exist.