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> Andrew et al,
> I think Eric's basic point, if I may be so bold as to interpret,
> was that it's possible to disagree without being disagreeable.
That is a subjective concept. As long as their are listmembers who consistently
and constantly fail to see the difference between lively debate and
unprofessionalism, there will always be yelps of "rudeness!"
Where is it written in the annals of American Professionalism that you are
never to disagree and debate ideas? Where is it written that dissenting ideas
must be 100000% respectful to the majority opinion?
I say it is unprofessional to be a wallflower. I say it is the people who avoid
conflict and debate who are doing themselves and their company a disservice.
There are innumerable business cases where companies failed or had failed
initiatives because nobody would engage the decision-makers in lively and
honest debate on a topic. Larry Ellison push the stupid notion of the NetPC on
his company and cost it millions, when his own management did not agree with
him. Oracle survives of course, but the damage to their firm was done. Had a
just a few managers made the bold effort to engage Mr. Ellison in a realistic
debate about the NetPC, Oracle may have never wasted its time with that
initiative. (Or Ellison would have just fired them.)
At some point, as Howard Beales reminds us, you have to lean out of your window
and say "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"
> I don't think it's necessary to get nasty, castigating, etc. to
> effectively illuminate a dissenting viewpoint, and I do see that
> sort of behavior from time to time on this list. (For that matter,
> I also occasionally see hypersensitivity when no disrespect was
Yes, but the line between nasty and forceful is very thin. I don't consider
using the word "moron" in the third person offensive. But there are some on
here who would like to wipe my DNA from the planet for such linguistic
atrocities. So who is right? How do we decide which form of expression is
"more appropriate" than another? Eric lays down basic guidelines and we all
try to live inside those guidelines.
Lastly, keep in mind that some of the most fantastic institutions of human
history, like democracy, have at their heart the discourse and debate of
learned men and women. Debate keeps our minds and our passions alive.
Now, get back to work, you!
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