There recently have been some comments made that public negative criticism about Port Orange City Government should cease. The arguments I have heard are, negative criticism is unsettling, gets little accomplished, and hurts the morale of city workers.
Negative criticism of our governmental agencies by citizens is a fundamental right and is a way of showing displeasure at negative findings. The freedom to condemn and criticize is fundamental to this democracy, and only under dictatorships are negative criticisms not allowed.
Some arguments are sometimes offered that the agenda of citizens offering negative criticism should be questioned. Questioning motives too is part of the democratic process, but does not adequately remove the impression of negative criticism which is founded on facts.
Many of the negative criticism directed towards the city of Port Orange governmental departments are based in negative findings of mistakes found. Such negative criticism was not imagined out of thin air.
Much of the negative speculation and negative suspicions have developed because city management has not adequately explained how and why negative revelations are appearing almost at a monthly rate, nor has city management assured the public that proper controls have been put in place to prevent the mistakes from happening again.
If the city council as a whole would ask for answers from the city manager about the questions that linger in citizen’s minds, perhaps depending on honest answers, speculation and suspicion will lessen.
If the city council does not ask the questions that need be answered, or not receive satisfactory answers to the issues, it is the right for citizens to appear before the city council and ask again for answers. This is what has been happening and it is part of democracy.
The alternative to citizens not asking the questions about negative findings, or not showing their displeasure at negative findings and non-transparency, is to return to the blissful days of ignorance, when all was not well in City Government, but everyone felt happy about themselves and their leaders. We have learned differently and if the reader of this editorial does not appreciate that fact, then more than ever it is necessary to defend the right of citizens to criticize, ask questions, and demand accountability. Others have the right to disagree with some of the criticism, and to offer arguments against such criticism, but certainly it is improper to expect that negative criticism cease. When the issues are resolved I would expect the criticism to stop. If ever there were more need for citizens to be discontented with its local government, it is now.
Posted www.popdradiolog.com at 408 pm, July 30 2014
AND OFFERED FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE, THE FOLLOWING:
In a factual (empirical) criticism, an objection is raised about an idea, argument, action or situation on the ground that there is something wrong with the evidence of the known experience relevant to it. Typically,
- Relevant purported facts are claimed to be false or implausible, i.e. not facts at all.
- Relevant facts are said not to have been definitely established as true, or the likelihood that they are true, has not been established.
- Relevant facts mentioned imply different stories which cannot be reconciled; accepting a fact would imply another fact which contradicts it in some way (there is overlap here with logical criticism).
- The presentation of facts is biased; important relevant facts are left out of the story, or the total factual context is ignored.
- Other relevant facts, which have not been mentioned, shed a different light on the issue.
- Facts focused upon are not relevant to the purpose of those concerned.
Logical and factual criticism is generally considered important to ensure the consistency, authenticity and predictability of behavior of any kind. Without the presence of the relevant consistency, authenticity and predictability, one cannot make appropriate sense of behavior, which becomes disorienting and creates confusion, and therefore cannot guide behavioral choices effectively.
Philosophers have often debated about “what makes a fact, a fact.” The basic problem with facts is that observations, made using the five senses, are never completely free from interpretation – to understand a fact as a fact, requires being able to place its meaning, which in turn requires basic cognitive categorizations not contained in the observed thing itself. A fact is concluded in the interaction between the observer and the observed.
Nevertheless, most people agree there are such things as “the stubborn facts”, i.e. evidence which nobody can deny, because everybody will experience the evidence in the same way, under the same conditions. That reality is essential for effective factual criticism. If people regard the factual evidence being offered as “simply a subjective interpretation of experience”, then factual criticism is not effective. Factual criticism assumes, that people agree there exists a reality beyond their personal experience; that it is possible to obtain reliable information about it; and that people will ordinarily experience the facts in the same way.
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posted www.popodradiolog.com at 416 pm, 7 30 14.