Skip to content

Maher’s questions plus a couple of my own

Bill Maher is a comedian I like very much because he says things I love and hate.

Sometimes, I agree with him entirely.

Other times, I think he’s wrongheaded and dumb.

But I like that. I enjoy being challenged. I think opposition to my ideas is healthy and productive.

Unlike so many people who seem to be living in the world today, I’m not so prickly and thin-skinned to require a fainting couch when someone says something that I think is incorrect or shortsighted or even offensive.

I like disagreement. I believe intellectual conflict is healthy. I would never seek to silence a person, shout them down, or prevent them from speaking at my institution because I find their views abhorrent.

I would either listen to possibly learn or simply not attend.

With all that said, Maher offered a list of questions recently he thought the protesters on college campuses should consider as they issued their demands, threatened fellow students, and chanted their slogans.

I liked the list a lot.

Maher said:

1. Is the most critical thing in my life something I hadn’t heard of six months ago?

2. Do I know what I’m talking about?

3. Am I here for the cause, or is the cause here to bring you me?

I especially like his first question. Truer words have never been spoken.

I want to add two additional questions to Maher’s list.

1. Why do I care so much about this particular cause while ignoring other similar or nearly identical causes?

2. Is this cause important enough to consistently occupy my time and energy, or will I be taking time off because it’s only important enough to occupy my time when it’s also convenient for me?

This isn’t meant to imply any position on any particular issue. I’m only suggesting that before anyone takes a position and decides to disrupt institutions, infrastructure, and the lives of individuals to affect change, they might want to ask themselves these questions first.

Rationale and reasoning are important.