This is the first post of my new blog Plain Reason. Just as a quick introduction, my name is Sunhyun Miller. I’m a college student majoring in engineering physics and computer science at Case Western Reserve University. You might consider me a libertarian or a classical liberal (though I don’t really care much what label you use), and I enjoy writing about and discussing science, economics, philosophy, ethics, and politics/world affairs.
I think that many would agree that the majority of people do not try to understand the opinions of those who disagree with them. I would go even further than that and say that the majority do not even try to understand their own opinions. Most never truly question why they believe what they believe, or comprehend the actual meaning and implications of what they claim to believe. Generally their beliefs are determined by their society, things that were repeated to them over and over again (for example, by their parents, their friends, their government, or the news) until they believed it. In the words of Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, who used this idea to manipulate his own country of Germany, “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.”
If you don’t critically examine your own beliefs, you almost certainly believe things that are inconsistent, contradictory, and irrational. One of my goals with this website is to promote the idea of individual human beings taking responsibility not only for their own actions, but also for their own beliefs. Don’t believe something just because an authority figure said to (not even a scientific authority!). Don’t believe something just to fit in with a certain group. Don’t believe something just because you already believe it. Examine the facts and evidence for yourself, and always be open to the possibility that you are wrong.
As long as people simply live passively without examining their lives, their choices, and their beliefs, it is impossible to actually make lasting progress.