Monday, June 26, 2017
Week three essay June 26, 2017
In On Liberty, Mill stated, “He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that.” He elaborates by explaining that it is not enough to receive approval from individuals who agree with you, it is more important to search out those who disagree to “be able to hear them (arguments) from persons who actually believe them; who defend them in earnest, and do their very utmost for them. He must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form; he must feel the whole force of the difficulty which the true view of the subject has to encounter and dispose of, else he will never really possess himself of the portion of truth which meets and removes that difficulty.” This wisdom should be shared with our elected officials.
Currently a select group of thirteen Republican Senators met in secret to draft a health care bill. I seriously doubt that they sought any input from Democratic members of the Senate who might have raised questions that needed to be addressed before the bill was presented to the full Senate. Sadly, if the roles were reversed and the Democrats controlled the Senate, they may have followed similar procedures; neither would be good for the country.
Mill’s reasoning is perfectly logical. Abraham Lincoln was said to prepare for his legal cases by spending more time preparing for the case as if he were the opposing lawyer. Once he had determined what his opponent’s strategy would be, he would prepare his case by attacking each of the opponent’s points. If the Republican Senators really wanted to craft a successful healthcare bill, they would have invited every Democratic Senator into the room and understood what their reasons were for wanting to keep and modify the Affordable Care Act. Then they could have made reasoned arguments, point by point, on why it should be repealed. They didn’t do that because they didn’t want to learn the truth. As Mill says, “they have never thrown themselves into the mental position of those who think differently from them, and considered what such persons may have to say; and consequently, they do not, in any sense of the word, know the doctrine which they themselves profess.”
P.S. I emailed my essay to Senator Corker and encouraged him to read On Liberty over the 4th of July break.