Friday, August 9, 2013

Good Versus Good

NPR's Ombudsman investigates a story from 2011, and doesn't like what he finds.

For me, the point of interest of this story is the collision between two groups of people who both likely believe that they're doing the right thing, and being opposed by someone who knows that what they're doing is wrong. When one looks at the NPR investigative staff on the story, and the South Dakota Department of Social Services workers who were a part of the story, it's unlikely that, standing in their shoes, you'd be able to find anyone who set out to be a villain. Yet it's likely that each regards the other as having committed some level of intentional wrongdoing.

It's the great tragedy of many conflicts, large and small, the world we live in. Each side sees itself as the good guys, and has difficulty understanding why others don't see them that way. Often, they settle on intentional animus as a reason, and a cycle of accusation and recrimination begins. Instead of looking for the good ideas that underlie the bad actions, we start to look for bad motives. It has yet to lead to anything constructive. So one wonders why we haven't broken the habit yet.

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