Yesterday’s Australian carried this:
Boyer’s address to the Radio in Education Conference, January 1946:
THERE seem to me to be two types of mind in any community. The first and the most numerous are those who are frankly indifferent to any knowledge which does not directly bear upon their income or their pleasure. For these the radio dial is twirled automatically and persistently to the lightest of light sessions, and the country’s interests are shrugged off as of no interest or concern. The second type of mind, however, is perhaps more difficult to serve and even more of a threat to our democratic health. I refer to the closed mind, the one-track thinker, the zealot who is impervious to fact, to argument, to anything and everything which does not accord with his pre-conceived point of view. Such minds are to be found in every profession and in every political party as well as on the lunatic fringe of outright obsession. It is their boast that nothing will ever induce them to change their minds. They draw enormous personal satisfaction from the illusion that all their opponents in political faith, religious belief and international attitude are evil and sinister. To such, life is not the gradual unfolding of new facets of truth and perception, it is a pitched battle between right thinkers and wrong thinkers, with themselves on the side of the angels.
There is little, I am afraid, that either radio or the written world can do for folk who have wilfully quenched the light of enquiry within them. But between these two extremes lie the great bulk of our people, instinct with a native and kindly tolerance and with a readiness to change their minds in the face of new evidence, new ideas and more complete information.
YourView of course aims to attract and engage what Boyer regards as “the great bulk of our people,” those at least somewhat open to thinking and rational persuasion on major public issues.
Of course we don’t know just what proportion of the population that is. ”The great bulk” is a very vague phrase, and may be somewhat optimistic.
However YourView also aims to engage the “zealots,” on the grounds that even if they’re unlikely to change their mind, there may still be something of value in what they say, and that where there is, those perspectives ought to be integrated into the collective wisdom.