I am in the store a couple of days ago. Go to the register and begin to put my items on the ubiquitous conveyor. There is a woman, 35-40, kid in the cart , dress a little upscale(wouldn't fit in N.Y. or what one thinks of the mid west)typical for around here. She is talking to the girl behind the counter, 18-19 straight black hair, a little dark makeup around the eyes and a black tee under the apron, about buying something, i didn't hear. The counter girl with a soft enthusiasm tells the soccer mom type that it's black and goes well. I paraphrase poorly here. Soccer mom uncertain, comments back then counter girl says well i identify with Johnny Cash. I couldn't hold back a grin. Soccer mom, done paying any how, walked off, not that she had a problem with what was said she just didn't have anything to say to it.
Any who. yes any who. I wanted to say something to counter girl. I am not quick or articulate on my feet. So I said nothing. What was i going to say? Some platitude about being happy or the beauty of the world. There is some wisdom in it, not that she would hear, and it is way over the top. I wished i had a book or several that were on point, a philosophy , not modern pop psychology book that i could have suggested she read.
She will have to come to that on her own, like the rest of us on that and many other views. Some short term suggestive guidance that carries over is what was in order. You are not going to convince her that her view is short sighted, a fragment of what is the whole and if followed for to long and to far is self defeating. The thought is to point the way and let one find a path.
I tell you this why, bad ideas/speech and an overwhelming amount of partial or irrelevant ideas/speech. Olbermann and O'Reilly come to mind. It is draining us all, leading us down mostly irrelevant paths that go to nowhere or to places we don't recognize.
The answer to bad speech is good speech and we need mountains of it now. We can't get both from the same place. It has to come from people that we know or are completely unknown to us, everything else is tainted, so individuals. No one can stop for a three hour chat every time they hear half truths, falsities, illogical arguments or know were the path leads when they don't. They are not going to listen if you do have the time.
So we need to quickly point the way. As an example the 9/11 truthers. You will never change their mind with facts. You have to start by pointing them to books, articles, etc. on psychology of belief and our need for security. Then to group think and how it has lead to mistakes. Then let it go. Of course you can never mention 9/11 directly. They will have to come to the "never contribute to conspiracy what you can explain by incompetence or stupidity" Then to the fact that your never going to explain every little detail.
The answer i think is cards, like the decks with criminals on them. You hear something that is wrong, not just a difference of ideology, hand them a card. They would have the books or articles on them sectioned 1st, 2nd and so on and an e-mail of someone to fill in the gaps, preferably you. The more i think about it, it may not work with as many things as i think. Just a thought.