25 November 2008

Conversations with Law Students

I had lunch with a classmate of mine today, and we started talking about "the way the world should be" and we got talking (well, I got talking) about the problems inherent in our system; i.e. the fact that Bishop Henry in Calgary was brought before the Human Rights Tribunal for sharing his views- based on Catholic Teachings- on homosexuality. Eventually, I got to the point where I expressed my view that in a perfect world, we would have a Catholic monarchy as our political system. (Remember, I'm saying perfect world, where said monarch would recognize the pope and follow church teachings in everything- not the example of the late middle ages). I want a system based on the Judeo-Christian value system.

Unsurprisingly, my classmate thought this was a terrible idea, because to have a system based on Judeo-Christian values would be me forcing my views on everyone else in an impermissible fashion. I tried to get the point that my classmate's system (i.e. the current system) still forces it's values (though they are a different set) onto people, but I was unable to get my classmate to see my point. My classmate tried to point out to me that my real complaint isn't with the system, but with the enforcement of the system.

I don't mean for this to become a post about the merits of the system, or how to fix the system, my point is simply that dialogue becomes impossible many times at law school because people are not willing to see or change their viewpoints. I don't want to knock my classmate; several good points were made and raised, that I didn't defend all that well (my own lack of preparedness) but I worry about the lack of dialogue and discussion in general on university campuses across Canada.

If few people are prepared to have an open dialogue (and this classmate was) our fight is going to be harder than we thought. We need to change hearts and minds, but that can only be done if people are willing to listen. We also need to know our positions inside and out, so that we can adequately debate it- which I didn't do well today. The problem I have is that I spend so much time discussing how I want to change the world with likeminded people that I fail to see the obvious flaws in my own argument. I think that is something we all do. That's why it's important to have friends with different opinions and beliefs; so you can run your ideas by them. That's why I was happy to have this discussion today, even if it didn't go well.

Talking is what we need to do. Educate yourself, and then speak out- use the voice God gave you.

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