Monday, June 22, 2009

Post No. 124: Hanging Out with the "Left" Crowd

© 2009, the Institute for Applied Common Sense

The purpose of our blog is to assist college students (and others) in appreciating the roles of Common Sense and Personal Responsibility in evaluating their choices and making decisions. One of the ways in which we pursue these goals is through stimulating thought, and suggesting that there are more than 2 or 3 ways to view any issue. We have always suggested that there are at least 27.

In our preceding Post No. 123, Hanging Out with the “Right" Crowd, we examined various groups of friends or acquaintances with whom teenagers might seek to associate, and the potential influences that those contacts might have on one’s future and view of the world.

The designation of “right” was not intended to suggest a moral choice, or a political or philosophical one. We’re not here to preach. As we said at the end of our piece, we’re more interested in engaging people about how they think, not dictate what to think.

The most rewarding aspect of operating this blog over the past 15 months has been the expansion of our way of looking at the world through the contributions of others. We’ve since modified our sense of the number of ways to view issues; we now believe that there are at least 54 ways.

Perhaps it is only fitting that our most recent expansion of our world view was due to someone steeped in the fantasy and science-fiction world. One of our regular readers operates Buzzy Media Publishing, which produces high-quality science fiction and fantasy audio and MP3 format books. (To make their works even more interesting, they are read aloud by recognizable professional actors from such popular genre shows as Stargate SG-1, Babylon 5, and Buffy and the Vampire Slayer.) She is also a blogger.

She suggested that we add 5 additional types of friends or acquaintances to include in every teenager’s circle of friends:

11. A person of unshakable faith. One of our Senior Fellows tells the story of meeting one of his first undergraduate roommates, who was a Bible Thumper to the max, and his Southern Baptist minister Father. (Desiring to experience all ranges of people he simply accepted whoever the Housing Office placed in his room. His next roommate was a hippie, who was the anti-establishment son of a very wealthy family. He thought something was odd when the hippie started installing a huge clasp and padlock on an upper cabinet, and inserted a giant black plastic bag containing some organic material with a pungent smell.)

12. An atheist. And you thought that only Bible Thumpers were constantly proselytizing.

13. An agnostic. You’ll learn rudimentary diplomacy from this contact.

14. Someone very young. Check out the genius of a 12 or 13 year old college student. It’s a wonder to behold, and you’ll appreciate the concept of the inexplicable. The experience will also potentially make you a better parent.

15. Someone very old. With age potentially comes the 4 Ps: Perspective, Proportionality, Patience, and Philosophy.

We considered asking our readers to provide additional ideas, based on their experiences. In the mean time, we came up with a few more.

16. Someone with a handicap of some sort. The Logistician used to teach in a setting where there were many students with severe developmental disabilities. He watched them day in and day out give their absolute best, on a consistent basis. Interestingly, very few of them thought about what others thought about them. It was a non-issue. Dealing with people without an agenda is a refreshing experience.

17. Someone who is not physically (in terms of beauty or attractiveness) gifted, but who has it all. You’ll learn to appreciate the importance of attitude and how to treat others.

18. A racist / bigot, or some other intolerant. You’ll better appreciate the thought process, and why maintaining their view of the world serves a pragmatic, functional purpose in their lives.

19. A parent. While you’re getting slammed and having your naked body painted during Spring Break in Acapulco, they’ll be home working to provide for the kids. Check out the difference in priorities.

20. A married student. While you’re getting slammed and having your naked body painted during Spring Break in Cancun, they’ll be home wishing they were with you. Check out the difference …, well, perhaps some things are better left unsaid.

We imagine that the only thing left is for us to do come out with another post, Hanging Out with the “Moderate” Crowd.

Actually, we’d appreciate any additions to our list that you may have. Let’s hear from you.

In fact, we just got this one in as we were about to publish our post.

21. An excellent student. It is important to have a good role model up close and personal.


  1. I wish to point out something. The above are very stereotyped choices. People do not fit in pigeonholes. None of these may turn out the way you surmise. I think it would be best to not turn away anyone because of what you think they may be like.

  2. C'mon folks. We are sure that you have some other types of people with whom contact might expand the worldview of a teenager in his or her formative years. Please provide some.

  3. OMG I fit 6 out of 10 (maye 7). Does that mean I'm a Lefty/Progressive/Whacko as my firend Bubba contends anyone on the Left is? BB

  4. C'mon folks. We are sure that you have some other types of people with whom contact might expand the worldview of a teenager in his or her formative years. Please provide some.


"There Are More Than 2 Or 3 Ways To View Any Issue; There Are At Least 27"™

"Experience Isn't Expensive; It's Priceless"™

"Common Sense Should be a Way of Life"™