Saturday, July 21, 2007

dangerous ideas

I'm reading about "dangerous ideas" and the question as to whether such a thing actually exists.

An idea that is dangerous is one that supposedly would cause dramatic shifts in thinking and behaviour. Specifically those ideas who are not _false_ or deliberately manipulative, which would conceivably and predictably lead to harm. I am thinking specifically about whether a true idea, one who leaves itself open to questions of merit, should be shut down automatically in fear.

This response is predictable of course. Any question that challenges the status quo is inherently dangerous, to a point.

So the question is not about whether "dangerous ideas" exist, but whether some ideas labelled dangerous should be re-examined. Some of the most dangerous ideas in history have been effectively forgotten entirely, and ought to be retrieved.

These are radical ideas, ideas worthy of discussion, not merely to prove a point, but to flesh out the assumptions, motivations, and judgments that lie behind arguments on both sides.

What is your most dangerous idea?


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