Malcontents and their uses – a journal


Reading the Google Books preview of Letters to a young contrarian today while in my sick bed, Hitchens renewed my interest in the Dreyfus affair and mostly the reaction of intelligent people like Emile Zola to it.

He also makes me consider how to effectively make my two girls grow up to question things without feeling distanced from the rest of society as so often happens to those who choose to ignore the flock and climb the walls to get a better view of the world.

Yesterday, following a brief exchange on the topic of violence and how to counter it, I observed certain people consider people like me needed to “put up or shut up” when we ask questions about things which others do. I disagree, some are there to ask the questions, others are there to see the opportunity and, as they say in rugby, pick and drive over the gain line in order to resolve the problem.

In the case our expertise extends to all possible knowledge there is of course the opportunity to do both for everything. I have yet to meet such a person, though perhaps they exist.

I don’t want my children to neither put up nor shut up, but I don’t want them to be ignored either. I don’t want them to put drunken photos on Facebook but I don’t want them to be considered the “malcontent” or the “misfit” either.

Striking a balance is important, we need to start that at home. And at home means right here with me. I start by contacting who I disagreed with yesterday, and say. “You are right.”

My “put up” will be to not “shut up”, but to write about what I think is right, question what I think is wrong and to encourage and support those who can “pick and drive” to do so.

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