“I’m right and you’re wrong so shut up!” Without denial, these thoughts have gone through the minds of average Americans at least once. Why do we feel the need to “win” or “be right”? First of all, our society today promotes entitlement. For example, turn on the TV and there are plenty of advertisements for cars, hair products, phones etc. that encourage the purchase of their products because you “deserve” it. Also, there is the cultural nudge to be yourself, please yourself, and live for yourself. Very rarely do people earn high social status by being considerate of others; in fact it is quite the opposite. Nowadays people headline in the news for specifically being rude, causing conflict, and claiming to be right. This fame is not meant to encourage wrong behavior; nevertheless, it remains an obvious way to gain the attention of others on a global scale. Although it has been several years, it is not difficult to recall the Tiger Woods scandal, Kanye West interruption, John and Kate Plus Eight catastrophe, or even the more recent Lance Armstrong ordeal. Sadly, these stories have been so well spread that most everyone knows about them while hardly anyone recalls the young boy who jumped in front of a car and saved his little brother’s life.
We do care about heartfelt stories, but we would much rather dive in to the latest debatable incident. If we are going to argue in the first place, then why insist upon frivolous disputes instead of logical arguments? According to Kirszner and Mandell, “even if you establish that an opponent’s position is wrong, you still have to establish that your own position has merit by presenting evidence to support it” in order to create a successful academic argument. This is where change needs to happen. We should replace traditional quarrels with academic arguments. If we as a culture discard the mindset that we deserve to have a say, we are entitled to input, and that our opinion is most important, maybe we could get out of our own way and reach productive solutions.