My name is Sam. I was born in 1977, in the South of England. I have a BA (Hons) degree in Humanities from the University of Glamorgan.
It’s difficult to identify a precise moment or event when it began, but at some point in the middle of the first decade of the new millennium it became apparent to me that there are a lot of people on this planet with terrible ideas. I mean to say, truly bad opinions regarding the nature of reality that fly in the face of facts. And I came to realise that awful views are not just limited to the man on the street – many of our political leaders hold them as well, and these distorted beliefs inform their decisions about important things such as our laws, how our tax money is spent and where we wage war.
I had no idea! In my naïve little bubble, I genuinely thought that facts had won the day in the educated western world. Now all of a sudden I felt ambushed and overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the task ahead – there are a lot of people I would have to argue with! Thus, once the domino effect was in place in my mind – that these bad opinions lead to bad decisions that wreak havoc upon our world and bring misery to so many of its inhabitants, I began working on this website.
There’s no question in my view that the most important thing we have to do is shake off the idea that opinions must be respected to the point of remaining unchallenged. So many people become so stressed and agitated by everyday activities such as talking and thinking when it is in relation to their political or philosophical beliefs, that it feels mean to confront them. But these people can also tick ballot boxes or influence others who do so. There is simply too much at stake now.
Thanks to modern technology (medicine, transport, cyberspace) the world has become such a small place, with so many people sharing the same ‘space’. We have to get ourselves straight on how best to all live together, and the only method we have to achieve this is conversation, because the alternative is violence. And nothing is off the table. It is actually more disrespectful to assume someone is too stupid or too sensitive to be able to have their mind changed – as Johann Hari said: “I respect you too much to respect your ridiculous opinions.” This should be the blueprint for a change in the rules of engagement.
The following two quotes are my guiding lights and inspire everything that I think and write:
“Facts are facts, and sooner or later we are compelled to deal with them. Theories may ignore them but the consequences follow just the same. It is not merely our duty to face the facts, it is to our own interest to do so. All healthy mental life is the expression of a harmony between our ideas of facts and the facts themselves. One may confidently assert that the man who ignores the facts will sooner or later come to grief.”
“Never be a spectator to unfairness or stupidity. The grave will provide plenty of time for silence.”