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Posted by Philip on 29 July 2015, 10:01 am in , , , , , , , ,

When too many rights make a wrong

'Right' is an interesting word. It can refer to the state of being correct, a (legal) entitlement, a conservative political stance, the opposite direction to left, among other things.

But the belief that one is right about, or has a right to, a certain thing, with no willingness to change stance, can lead to a varying number of undesirable outcomes. It also ignores the diversity and complexity involved in a lot of decision-making processes.

In the last few weeks I was part of a group making an important decision. When I stated the strategy behind my preferred outcome, it opened the opportunity for someone else to share an alternative strategy. Having considered this I changed my mind, allowing a consensus of agreement on a different outcome. Had I not stated my strategy and been open to other arguments, conflict may have rendered us unable to achieve a decision.

Similarly, as we have seen playing out in the case of End of Life Choice over the past few months, polarised positions (in this case over the right to life and to dignity in death) can lock us in political and moral stalemates. Reasoned public and political conversations require a shift towards the middle by both extremes to enable beneficial change.

Feeling right – or that you have a right – doesn't mean you're not wrong. It merely means you haven't yet realised you may be.

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