A thought occurred to me, as they do from time to time. In reading and participating in a lot of debates here, I've noticed a general tendency for people to make sweeping generalizations about those with whom they disagree and accuse them of a variety of motives or beliefs which are grossly inaccurate. This is not strictly a partisan issue, as it has appeared in the posts of a variety of people with a variety of ideological backgrounds. I've also seen many posts assuming positions based on little experience or practical knowledge. This made me curious. I do not intend for this to be a social thread; instead, I would like this to be a thread where people can explain why they believe what they believe. To wit, what I have in mind is explaining how one was raised, childhood experiences, academic experiences, real-world experiences, etc. I want to know where people come from and why they hold the opinions that they hold. What ideas inform your philosophy? What experience justifies your beliefs? How much of the world have you seen? How much have you explored other cultures and belief sets? I do not want this to be a challenge thread either - I expect everyone to be respectful of those with whom you disagree. Too many threads descend into partisan bickering as it is. If you see something with which you disagree, find another thread to debate the matter - as a rule, that will be expressly and explicitly off-topic and baiting. Questions asking for clarification are fine; questions debating issues are not. I will post my own background later - I have a class that starts in ten minutes.