Our Society's Greatest Threat

  1. I've been reading over a few threads, and some loose thoughts began to coalesce for me today. As these thoughts began to gel in my head, I realized that there was something I wanted to say, away from any other debate.

    The frequency that I post here tends to wax and wane, owing mostly to life, but also owing to laziness. Sometimes I just don't feel like typing. However, I continue to come here almost daily to at least read what people are thinking and saying about various issues. I don't must trust the media, and have found that I learn more here, on both sides of any given issue.

    To the point of this thread: If someone asked you what you thought was the single greatest threat to our society today, what would your answer be? Conservatives? Liberals? Al Qaeda? Brittney Spears? My answer would be none of the above. I believe that the greatest threat, at least to the US, and more broadly to any free society, is an uninformed, apathetic population. It disturbs me beyond my ability to describe when someone says they don't like to think about the issues. When we stop caring about world issues, when we become complacent about what our politicians are doing, our freedoms immediately begin to erode. Once the lost freedoms reach a certain critical mass, government becomes empowered enough to take more liberties, and to subjugate the population.

    However, when a populace is well informed, differences of opinion are inevitable. We will not always interpret the same data the same way. That's OK. The debate that ensues is vital to our future.

    What I am trying to say, in my own clumsy, wordy, way, is that there are those on this board with whom I disagree on almost every issue. Sometimes, those disagreements can become quite intense, even heated. But, it must be said that though I may disagree with you, even heatedly, I lose not one iota of respect for you because you disagree with me. I know when I debate issues, I am, well, pointed. Maybe even a little blunt. Please don't take that to mean I think any less of you. There are posters on this board who have made me sit back, and forced me to really think about a response, and who forced me to more closely examine what I was saying, and what I was thinking.

    I am pleased that we can disagree. It means we are all really thinking about the issues we face. As long as that continues to happen, we are able to ward off that which most threatens us.

    Kevin McHugh
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from kmchugh
    .......I believe that the greatest threat, at least to the US, and more broadly to any free society, is an uninformed, apathetic population.
    Kevin,

    Guess what?! I totally agree with you!
    (I'm picking my jaw up off of the floor now, lol).
  4. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from kmchugh
    I believe that the greatest threat, at least to the US, and more broadly to any free society, is an uninformed, apathetic population. It disturbs me beyond my ability to describe when someone says they don't like to think about the issues.



    I agree with these sentiments, although I am not sure that it is the single greatest threat. There is a certain religious mania which seems to have gripped this nation in the past few years that I find intensely disturbing and unsettling because unlike with apathy, the zealots aren't content to live and let live.




    What I am trying to say, in my own clumsy, wordy, way, is that there are those on this board with whom I disagree on almost every issue. Kevin McHugh

    Gee, I wonder if I'm one of those.......... :chuckle
  5. by   UK2USA
    Words well spoken Kevin, I agree with everything you have said on this post (but strangely not all of your other posts). :chuckle

    The free dialog platform that we have been provided with here is really a blessing, and I (like you) welcome forum members to make me sit up and examine my own limited viewpoint. Don't worry Kevin - you can be as blunt as you want with any of my views. I welcome the criticism and look forward to having plenty of heated 'deep and meaningfuls' with you. Hope all of you 'current affairs' addicts are well in mind and body.... bring on the next discussion, I can't wait.

    :angryfire :angryfire
  6. by   traumaRUs
    Wow - Kevin - I really like what you said. My sons are almost 19 and almost 24 and though they know there is "stuff" happening outside their own little worlds, they have very little real knowledge in order to form opinions. Thanks.
  7. by   pickledpepperRN
    I agree with you completely.
    Not just in North America, the entire world.

    First as Maslow wrote people must have the necessities.
    Then education both formal, from media, and each other.

    When enough people have their minimum needs met, are aware, and believe they can make a difference we then need to figure out what the next biggest problem is.

    Is it destruction of the enviornment?
    Our resorting to violence?

    I think people around the world are becoming interested in working for a better world. Look at the surprise election results in India. I think the fact that the % of people living below the poverty line has decreased by a third since becoming independent helped them to become involved as never before.

    Thanks Kevin, I have learned a lot from your posts.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on May 20, '04 : Reason: typo
  8. by   gwenith
    Kevin mate - I am one of those with whom I know you have crossed swords but let me say that I do enjoy the debate. True conversational interaction is one of life's great pleasures.

    I enjoy most when we get down to actual issues and discuss what is happening in the world. My country is different to yours, my political culture is different, and of course my society is different but the issues are common around the globe.

    We all share the same environment, limited resources, societal issues and human failings. It saddens me beyond what you could believe when I see important issues such as deciding on who will be the most powerful leader in the world reduced to wrangling over "MY candidate is better than YOUR candidate Nyah! Nah! Nyah!" or even the "right is right left is evil" with the opposite "left is all altruism right is rapacious greed."

    There are so many, many important issues to discuss if we are truly to better this world we live in for our children. Why though? Will these discussion here, amongst a group of nurses on a mid sized (sorry Brian) bulletin board change the world?

    Yes I believe they will and furthermore the goverments of the world are starting to take serious notice of these discussions. Ever since Dean showed that grassroots support can be a force the spin doctors have sat up and taken notice. For a long time we have had only an indirect way to get opinions back to the powers that be. Now are voices are rising.

    Yes Kevin although I can happily disagree with you on many issues and some may even make me breifly mad that usually passes as I realise you have a point and an important point to make and my respect continues.:kiss
  9. by   Q.
    Kevin,
    How interesting that you posted those thoughts, today of all days.

    I have a very good friend named Dave. You remind me very much of him, both in your opinions, political persuasion and the way you express yourself. Sometimes your posts and his emails are nearly identical in language choice, syntax, everything. Kinda creepy, actually. :chuckle

    But just yesterday he emailed and stated that he can no longer listen to or read the news anymore. He didn't really elaborate on the reasons why other than being "fed up" in a sense.

    Now this comes from a man who is always in the know with regard to world events, history, politics, you name it. He is extremely well-informed. And here he is disassociating himself with what I believe is a major component of his personality. And you know what? That scared me.

    Chances are this is probably just a period of time for him that will not take hold, but nevertheless it scared me that he of all people would choose apathy.

    I guess what I'm saying is, I'm grateful for your lack of apathy, Kevin. :kiss

    Now I just gotta go kick Dave's butt and figure out what his problem is. :chuckle
  10. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from SharonMH31
    I agree with these sentiments, although I am not sure that it is the single greatest threat. There is a certain religious mania which seems to have gripped this nation in the past few years that I find intensely disturbing and unsettling because unlike with apathy, the zealots aren't content to live and let live.
    I totally agree w/ you as well, Sharon.

    The apathetic and uniformed permit the zealots to grow stonger.
  11. by   maureeno
    >>>>>I am pleased that we can disagree. It means we are all really thinking about the issues we face. As long as that continues to happen, we are able to ward off that which most threatens us.<<<<
    kmchugh

    I learned how to type
    and how to use my computer and the internet
    in order to participate in this nursing forum.

    I agree with Kevin's assessment of our greatest threat
    apathy and ignorance destroy
  12. by   Jaaaman
    Quote from Hellllllo Nurse
    I totally agree w/ you as well, Sharon.

    The apathetic and uniformed permit the zealots to grow stonger.
    Out of curiousity (and off topic) what do you define as a "religious zealot"?
  13. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    IMO, a zealot is someone who believes laws and personal freedoms, and restriction of personal freedoms should be based on religious doctrin, and they work to make this happen.

    Zealots, again IMO, work to restrict the rights and freedoms of others, because they believe that others should be required by law to live by what the zealots themselves believe.

    There is no "live and let live."

    It's all about "I am right. My beliefs are written in stone, and they are the one and only truth. Others' beliefs are different from mine, but they are wrong. I know what is best for others. Therefore, I make it my mission to decide for them."

    For example, the preacher in Kansas who carries a sign that says "God hates f#gs" and marches, shouting God's "opinion", protesting the funerals of people whom have died of AIDS.

    This is an example of an extreme zealot.
  14. by   gwenith
    You know zealots always come across as being essentially unsure of their own beleifs. If you are truly sure and comfortable with your opinions and beliefs then tolerance is almost always automatic.

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