This weekend was awesome. Having spent it with, among others, two illustrious Bloggers (and having discussed blogging-related issues far more often and at greater length than I ever have before), I felt it would be just plain wrong to neglect mention of it in this forum. As always, SerandEz were perfect hosts--the food was amazing, the company stimulating, and the baby absolutely adorable.
In addition to blog-related topics of conversation, we had quite a few other deep and fascinating (and lengthy) discussions. One of these related to whether it is necessary to acknowledge the validity of approaches that conflict with our own, and whether by doing so one is crushing youthful idealism.
I shall not even attempt to recap the majority of the conversation, but for me, the bottom line was that it is absolutely imperative to try to understand the point of view of those with whom we disagree, for two main reasons. One is that, though idealism is wonderful, it is impractical to refuse to see how the world functions (even if you disagree with the methods by which it does). Idealists are the only ones who will ever be able to affect change, and if they stay in lala land and never open their eyes to the real world and to points of view that differ from their own, how are they going to do anything? If you simply say “the other side is garbage” and dismiss it, no one will listen to anything you have to say. You need to understand the other side in order to argue against it.
Furthermore…and I think even more importantly...it is crucial to understand that there is another perspective. That even though you may disagree with that perspective, it is an approach. It is valid. People who hold that approach are valid, and it is not right to harbor dislike and animosity towards them. We have to understand them in order to love them, to promote ahavas Yisroel. For me, this is the bottom line. Love your fellow Jew. The End.